Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Challenge! - Day 15

So my challenge came to a successful conclusion yesterday with a letter being published by a Ms Nadia Emela, revealing that Condoleezza actually comes from the Italian Con Dolcezza (meaning "with sweetness") and that my letter was simply my "effort in trying to make the US secretary of state's name 'less silly and a tad more mysterious' by adding a very unlikely Aramaic background to it". A lot of people seem to have reacted negatively towards this. People have either said something to the effect of "Aww, well never mind. Still it was good while it lasted eh?" or "Ha! You've been busted - idiot" (see Andy's comment in my last blog).

What these people don't seem to realise is that the truth is an essential aspect of the lie. If you refer to my Ground-Rules of Lying points (4) and (6) (see The Challenge! Friday May 05), you will see that the lie is not complete until it has been revealed as such. I was therefore delighted to see my name in print yet again only this time unmasked as the imaginative young scally-wag whose comments on Condoleezza Rice's name was simply a fun little story that had people going about their everday lives trying to sound more intelligent by getting the word "condolisi" into their conversations (e.g. "The great thing about Geoffrey is that he seems to revel in trying out new things. He has a real sense of condolisi about him. Oh how silly of me, you don't speak Aramaic do you? It means love of the unknown darling")

And Nadia's letter wasn't the first comment I've had concerning my letter. On Monday a Mr Roland Finch from Newcastle wrote in. Now I'm going to have to write this out word for word as I have no idea what he was actually talking about:

"So Condoleezza Rice's first name means 'a love of the unknown' in Aramaic. Do you suppose that's a known unknown or an unknown unknown."

I have a feeling that it might be a political joke and as reluctant as I am to say it as it also comes off the back of my lie, I don't get it. If anyone could fill me in, I'd appreciate it.

So all in all, I've been quite successful. Or at least that's how I would be feeling were it not for the cold slap of realism that was delivered to me by Miss AJ Bayliss last Friday.

Last Friday was Matt W's birthday party. I say party - it was more a gathering of friends who came together to eat pizza, talk about Big Brother and laugh at internet videos of Dalmations riding bikes (you probably had to be there). A very enjoyable occasion that was to all intents and purposes a party but needs explaining as the word party by itself might be misleading (no jelly, no ice-cream, no throwing up in the street after a night of binge drinking etc). Friday, of course, was the day my lie had been published so I was in very high spirits and had in my back-pack several copies of that day's Metro to share with my friends. Matt W had said he wanted a copy and Matt L, who had shown support and encouragement throughout the course of my challenge would also want to see it I was sure. When I got to Matt and Christina's however, I was greeted by the smiling faces of Mike and AJ (a sight which - as always - truly warmed the cockles of my heart). As I walked in I greeted them and a host of other people who I knew less well, as well or not at all (what is a heart-cockle exactly?). One of the first questions Mike asked was, "so - how's the challenge going?" Ah. He clearly hadn't read my blog that day. This was good. This meant I got to announce it to a group of people, some of whom were strangers who knew me only as the quite clearly excitable young man in a denim jacket who had just come in.

"I did it mate. I flippin' did it"

"You did? That's great. When?"

"Today. I've brought some with me. They're in my bag" (which Christina had just kindly taken from me) "I'll go get it."

AJ, posing what must have seemed the obvious question, asked "what's he talking about?"

Mike filled her in.

"Oh!" exclaimed AJ after having been filled in "he must have got that idea from me and Christine. Glyn" she called out to me as I was rummaging through the small collection of Metros nestled at the bottom of my bag "do you remember when me and Christine did that?"

I stopped dead in my tracks. Could it be true? Had all this been done before? Had AJ and Christine really got there first?

"No!" I called out, determined not to allow my achievement be undermined by accusations of plagiarism.

"Sure you do. Remember that time when me and Christine wrote into the local paper and me and Christine reviewed a film that me and Christine hadn't even seen?"

I stopped dead in my tracks (I realise I'd already done this but this time I stopped even deader and my tracks were even trackier). I still had no idea what she was talking about but already this was sounding more impressive than my meagre effort. I mean sure the Billericay Gazzette was hardly the nationwide publication that would accurately describe the Metro but to have a review published about a film that you've never seen... That was pretty impressive.

"Yeah it was one of the Star Wars movies. Me and Christine wrote in saying something about the lame storyline spoiling some pretty decent special effects. Something like that. Me and Christine couldn't believe it when it got published. It was so funny. Still it wasn't a national paper or anything like that. So come on, let's see it. Which paper is it anyway?"

"The Metro" I said somewhat warily, feeling suddenly that AJ might not be the easiest person to impress, what with her history of printed lies and all.

"Well that's hardly a national paper is it?"

"It is too" I retorted wittily, suddenly hopping into defence. "It's distributed in London and Manchester. That's across the country (aka - national)."

I could tell she wasn't convinced. "Alright then" she said "let's see it".

I slowly (and not with the triumphant flair that I'd hoped to do it with) began to pull the paper out of my bag.

"Oh no!" AJ groaned as a thought suddenly hit her "you haven't just had a letter published in the letter section have you?"

And that was it. My triumph turned to defeat as I realised that it wasn't all that impressive after all. I suddenly felt less like Danny Wallace or Dave Gorman and felt more like Danny Gorman - I guy I used to live with in London who would set himself ridiculous challenges such as eating a marmite and lemon curd sandwich and then demand that we all go out to celebrate when he completed these amazing sense-defying stunts*. And then I realised that this wasn't a challenge at all. It was easy. I did nothing but write into a paper's letters column and get my letter printed. And all it took was one measly try. One attempt and that was it. I'd succeeded after my first shot. That's not a challenge. That's being the type of person who writes into the Metro's letters page. And I don't want to be that guy.

I was completely deflated and despite both Matts' insistence that what I had achieved was nothing short of brilliance (even AJ tried admitting that to have a picture with a caption was pretty impressive), the damage had been done. The victory had been sucked out of me and I realised that my challenge was not yet complete. This sense of failure was increased later on in the evening when I gave Matt W his birthday present. I got him an Electralyte CD - a joke that was somewhat ruined when he took one look at the carefully wrapped gift and asked "it's not an Electralyte CD is it?"

But I'm not giving up. I will have a lie published in a national paper. And I will not rest until I have impressed both AJ and Christine (well, I say I won't rest but that's probably not true - I'll probably rest).

So there you have it. My challenge remains. I'll let you all know of any future developments.

Oh and if you were waiting for those scanned images of the lie, I couldn't work out how to cut out and enlarge images on the computer once I'd scanned it all in. I spent a very frustrated couple of hours on Sunday trying however.

* This sentence was created for effect. Glyn Harries has never actually lived with, known, met or heard of anyone by the name of Danny Gorman.


Andy said...

Glyn, the 'known/unknown' thing is a political joke, relating to the US Defence Secretary. You had to be there...

Andy said...

Another thing, mate... am I to understand that you, as a Christian and youth leader who, not long ago joined me in attempting to teach about integrity to our guys (a fundamental part of which, to the best of my knowledge), is openly, publicly, both espousing and promoting lying?

I despair, the youth of today eh?

Andy said...

'You ... is' - get me being all street (or just not bothering to check my own post).

Anonymous said...

Be sure your sins will find you out!

Glyn said...

Alright, you know what? No more anonymous comments. Anonymity makes people turn against me.

Matt L said...

I think what you are doing, Glyn, is commendable and I remain a stalwart supporter of 'the challenge'.

The truth may well be 'out there' (nice 90s sci-fi reference there) but it's pretty over rated really.

Oh, and consider yourself the proud owner of the Leeder-Tristar award (displayed below) for LONGEST BLOG POST EVER!


AndyMac said...

Glyn, I'm sorry to be the bearer of even worse news, but a friend of mine managed to get a full blown 'Rumour', yes, you heard, a 'Rumour' (which technically is a lie) about a local sports celebrity type person, in his local rag.
Not only that, they quizzed said sports celebrity type about said rumour, and his reply was, wait for it, "I know nothing!".
No word of a lie.
Still, I respect the challenge, keep going, and you can reach your dreams!

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