Going Geico: It’s Not Over Yet

Today, I’m compelled to write more about Going Geico™ — because its roots run deep, and referring to it obsessively is the nature of the disease.


First of all, let me say, I’m no stranger to this affliction. I learned it well from my father, who pretends to know everything about everything. He’s the best bluffer this side of Mars, and by the end of one of his soliloquies, you’re convinced he’s Steve Wozniak, or maybe Stephen Hawking. But with more alcohol and less actual knowledge.


For any illness or impairment we kids had, he’d have a ready answer. He fancied himself a doctor, because he spent time in the Navy’s medical corps, so there were scary medical diagnoses for everything, like “rickets” or “gangrene gums.” Plus, you better not tell my dad that Vick’s VapoRub doesn’t cure everything, because it totally does. (In fact, I’m using it right now for writer’s block.)


Anyway, there’s a few tall tales circulating around my family that my dad told us as kids, all of them positioning him as a hero or spy in some way. Also, he was a “semi-pro” basketball player, which cracks The Rock up every time. As The Rock likes to say, “Semi-pro, would that be the BS league?”


Oh, my dad.


But I don’t know, I still don’t have independent verification of any of these stories, so they may be true. The only one who knows is my dad, and he’s not telling. Or rather, he’s telling and telling and telling.


There’s the Haunted House story, and the Hitchhiker story, and the CIA Spy story. This is how we remember them as they’ve been passed down in the San Diego Mommason family for years. I tell them to you now as a sort of homage to Going Geico™, and to my dad, God love him, as we do. So Dad? This is for you. Stetson hat, smoking cigar, giganto red ruby pinky ring and all. Thank you for saving the world that one time. And for your years of service in semi-pro basketball.


So I’ll start with the CIA Spy story, because it’s the most out there. The other stories I’ll let drip one at a time in the days to come. Believe me when I say they need to be relished and savored. Then crapped out.


So it seems that in college my dad had a roommate who talked in his sleep. He and his bunkmate were good friends, and Bill as I’ll call him, later served as best man in my dad’s wedding to my mom. The first few months of school, my dad found the sleep talking annoying, but hardly something to break up over. But then Bill began talking about illicit activities in his sleep, secret, clandestine things. As my dad put the puzzle pieces together, he discovered that Bill was a CIA agent, doubling as a college student.


Well, this put a kink in the relationship. My dad asked Bill about his CIA spying and next thing you know, top secret CIA aides were knocking on my dad’s door. He was asked to keep things quiet, ostensibly told, “or else.” Dad did as instructed, but remained roommates with Bill, and spent months being trailed by the CIA. Apparently, my dad found out all kinds of hush-hush U.S. government plans, and even “knew about the Bay of Pigs before it happened.”


He never tells us much more than that, “for our protection,” and for years we listened to this story, enthralled, over and over again. I pretty much dismissed it as I grew older. There just wasn’t enough detail. But what I can tell you is that my dad’s friend, Bill, committed suicide quite soon after my dad’s wedding, and my dad found him on the floor of his bathroom.


Wow, way to bring down Going Geico™, huh?


Next up: The Hitchhiker story.


23 Responses to “Going Geico: It’s Not Over Yet”

  1. Oooh. Verrrrrry interesting… My dad would have said Bill was an “undercover spook” for the CIA.

    I’m glad you weren’t told more “for your protection”…then, you might have to kill us all.

  2. Steph says:

    Great. I’m already on The List, and here you are just sharing away. My God, do you care NOTHING for me?

    Hee. Except the part about the suicide. Whoa. Didn’t see that coming.

  3. Wow. What an interesting story. I was going to dismiss it as a tall tail too but the suicide has me thinking.

  4. i have so many memories from my childhood of my dad knowing everything about everything. he’s still like that now, but not nearly as big an asshole about it. since i grew up with a father who was constantly “going Geico”, i think every kids deserves to have that in their lives. sometimes i get mad at my husband when the kids ask him a question he doesn’t know the answer to and he says, “hmm, i don’t know.” THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT ANSWER! you’re supposed to MAKE SOMETHING UP! that’s why MY dad would do.

    ugh, sorry for the rambling.

  5. pajama momma says:

    Ya know, I’m inclined to believe your dads stories. Again, it might be my conspiratorial nutcaseness, but ya just never know.

    I’ve done so many things, so many ways, I don’t even bother to talk about it because I doubt people will believe them.

  6. deborah says:

    I loved that story. Another book idea, Deb! They just keep coming! That Vicks VapoRub must really be working.

    I’m not sure if everything my Dad told me was 100% true, but he really, really did know a lot, and always asked questions in new situations to add to his store of knowledge.

    Okay, there was that one time – I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 – when I was watching a movie on TV and evidently it was getting too late and he couldn’t tear me away, so he said that the story, including the ending, would be in the newspaper the next day. If you don’t think that scarred me, consider how long I’ve remembered this….hint, I’m older than Deb.

  7. myra says:

    I totally want to believe your dad. I like the Geico types.

  8. mommypie says:

    Oh. My. GAH.

    I TOTALLY have one of the “for our own protection” people in my family. I SO want to blog about it, but can’t, because, you know … what if it really IS for our own protection?!?

    And Vicks Vapo Rub? I had a friend who was literally ADDICTED to it. She rubbed it under her nose all the time. And always before she went to sleep. It was her comfort thing.

  9. It would have been awesome if the CIA showed up with Vicks Vapo Rub to erase his memory.

  10. Maybe this is the root of your attraction to colorful characters?

  11. Da Goddess says:

    Deb, I want to meet your dad so I can hear all these stories for myself. I love characters like this. For me, true or not, the stories say a lot about the teller.

    As for the suicide, say, for instance, the CIA stuff was all made up on the part of the roommate. Well, you could understand the sort of inner torment such a man would carry with him for years and years. If true, however, hmmm…

  12. tinsenpup says:

    The Vick’s VacoRub might not be so great for conjunctivitis or a yeast infection, but should do the trick for pretty much anything else, I think.

    I really want to believe the CIA roommate story too.

  13. Noble pig says:

    I’m with your Dad on this one, as in I want to beleive. Wow.

  14. Mama Rose says:

    Hey there, wanted to let you know I’m passing on the Brillante Award to you! Stop by my site when you have a chance and pick it up. You’ll need to pass it on to seven more bloggers of your choice. XO Mama Rose

  15. Jennifer H says:

    Wow. Do you know that he really committed suicide? Meaning, is it possible it was made to look like that? I have a suspicious mind…

    Interesting story! I’m inclined to believe it. Or at least in the possibility that it’s true. Nothing surprises me anymore.

  16. Ferd says:

    I’m feeling kind today. I’ll say your dad is a patriot with a vivid imagination!
    Although I did get a kick out of the “BS League” comment. Funny!

  17. Baby,
    You make me so happy. You perk up my day. I love your stories. Every. Single. Post. You. Have. Ever. Written. makes me Happy.

  18. The Matron can’t even comment because she’s busy with her own meta-narrative. . . .

  19. Shelia says:

    (Oops! I meant to post this here.)

    You are so damn funny that I would follow you to the stairs and sit beside you just to see what you were gonna say next!

    You have such a way with words! I can see how the Vics Vapor Rub is working, so I went and dug mine out of the medicine cabinet! My question is: Where do I apply it? To my hands so that my fingers slide over the keys on my computer keyboard? The left side of my head in the hopes that it will penetrate “the narrative” telling part of my brain? Or do I swallow it on a heated spoon (my grandma used to feed it to us this way) but I don’t remember it resulting in prolific writing???

  20. San Diego Momma says:

    Well, I got a few details wrong…

    After a conversation with my dad today it turns out that “Bill” died before my dad’s wedding, so wasn’t best man.

    BUT to answer Jennifer’s question, he killed himself while my dad was outside the bathroom trying to get in and save him. :(

  21. […] by my post the other day and wanting to know the “real” story behind the stories my dad told us […]

  22. […] Still! I want some preschool friends! Aren’t I supposed to be a good role model for Toots? I don’t want her to someday attend parties hanging out in the corner, nibbling pineapple slices and imagining Predator screens behind everyone’s eyes. The world can’t handle two of us and I don’t want to be responsible for tipping it off its axis in a cyclone of too-much Going Geico™. […]

  23. […] dad is a master storyteller who always gets the punchline or dramatic pause just right. As kids, my siblings and I spent many […]

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