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February 11, 2010 / theoldsilly

Breathe! Here are the Answers!

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to hear which of the six outrageous things about The Old Silly I wrote in Tuesday’s Creative Liars Award acceptance post is a truthful tale.

Well calm down. Breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders – please … you still look tense. Okay. Much better.

It was fun, getting all the guesses and reasons for them. I’ve listed the preposterous claims below in the order of most voted for, along with my comments in reply and admission of truth or falsehood. Ready to do this? Won’t this be fun?

Well. You could at least act like it’ll be fun. Yeah, okay … whatever. Here we go. I’m doing this anyway. The most voted for outrageous possibility was number three-

3. I once “dated” Diana Ross before she became a Motown star in my hometown Detroit and was selling tail on Woodward Avenue.

I wish! But no, this one is false, I never “did” Diana. When Diana was a street walking teenager from the ghetto doing what many good looking girls in those dire straits feel they have to do to get by, I was still in junior high growing up in my (at the time) lilly white home town of Traverse City in northern Michigan, and had not yet ever met an African American in person. And she sure as heck didn’t look this glamorous yet. 

Second most voted for- 

6. I once had breakfast with Rod Steiger. He was driving a big rig, doing research for an upcoming movie in which he was to play a truck driver. He pulled into a truck stop where I was eating and the place was packed. The only available seat was at the counter next to me. He appreciated the fact that, although I recognized him, I did not shout it out to everyone and cause him to be swarmed for autographs.

Nope. Didn’t really happen. This one I also wish were true, I’d have gotten an autograph (discreetly of course) on a napkin that’d be worth some bucks probably today. And Steiger is one of my all time fave actors. His roles in “The Pawnbroker” and “In the Heat of the Night” are among the best acting jobs ever, hmm?

The next three received very few votes, guess I wasn’t on top of my liar’s game when I composed them-

1. I once was a heroin addict.

False. While I did have a serious bout with crack cocaine addiction, which nearly killed me and destroyed my very soul, that I write about in my first book, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), I’ve never tried heroin or used the needle. And ain’t got no plans to ever do so, neither. Drug addiction is a bummer, take it from one who knows.

4. I’m married to an Asian woman who taught me how to speak fluent Chinese.

Nah. I am in an interracial marriage of thirty four years, though. My wife is African American, and she’s taught me how to speak fluent “black people talk”. I can hang with the homies, get down wit da git down, ‘n’ roll wit da big dawgs, fo sho an’ fershizzle.

5. I appeared in a movie with Sigourney Weaver’s sister.

Close. I don’t know if Sig (I can call her that cuz we met once and exchanged a few pleasant words on the set) even has a sister, but I had a bit part in one of the scenes in “Prayers for Bobby” – a made for Lifetime TV movie in which she starred.



Aaaaaannd now – for the truth!


(whch, by the way nobody guessed was for real)

2. I’ve walked a city of mountaintop Mayan ruins and meditated there, on the peak of a spiritual temple pyramid, high above sea level, from high noon ’til midnight, with a Zen Master.

Yes, ’tis the absolute truth. It was back in 1983. I was three years into my four years of formal Zen training under the tutelage of Korean Zen Master, Venerable Samu Sunim. I was (and still technically am) an ordained Buddhist lay-minister and travelled with Sunim to Mexico for a month as his personal attendant, helping him to hold several Zen retreats for Mexican Buddhists during the travels. We had lots of time between retreats to experience the real Mexico. Sunim never wanted to stay in tourist attraction sites. He insisted we take back dirt roads, visit and stay in the little villages and interact with the common people. We were warned at one point, while refueling at a gas station, to not stop for the next 200 miles of desert stretch before reaching the next town, because the passengers of a car pulled over on the side of the road were at risk of being burglarized and flogged, even murdered, by the banditos. So we filled the tank full, checked the oil, radiator fluids, tire pressure, bought some snacks, carried empty bottles in the car in case we had to pee, and braved the drive.

My master was insistent upon our being immersed in the actual culture, the world these people live in – not some Americanized commercial version of Mexico, lounging about on luxurious beaches, and being served Americanized gourmet versions of their cuisine.

We ate their food, drank their coffee, grown and roasted on the local plantations and served fresh at the roadside cafés, had more than a few shots of locally distilled Mezcal (and ate the worm at the bottom of the bottle … psychedelic, lemme tellya), argued down the price for (this is the custom, you never pay the asking price, the locals will ream a Gringo for all you got if they can) and bought clothes in their peasant markets to wear so we didn’t look so obviously American. We were entertained on Saturday evenings by local musicians and hot salsa dancers, and went to morning mass on Sundays in the ever-present cathedral, always the largest building in the town and centered in each of the village’s ‘cuadrado de pueblo’. (the village central square, which is actually a circle in rural Mexico). It was the most memorable travel experience of the Old Silly’s life so far. Bar none. 

Now wasn’t that fun like I said? No? Oh well, please don’t give up on me, okay? Blog back in tomorrow, got a real mind-bender for y’all!

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Leave a Comment
  1. tashabud / Feb 11 2010 6:01 am

    Those are very interesting bits about you, Old Silly. I would have guessed it correctly if given the chance. Honestly, I don’t know which one I would have picked if I tried. I’m glad that you attached a picture of Rod Steiger because I don’t have a clue who he is until I saw his picture.

    Now I know where you got your “ghetto speaking voices” for your characters in Owen Fiddler. I’m sure your wife and her family don’t talk like that, you “fibbin” Old Silly! LOL.


    • theoldsilly / Feb 11 2010 9:26 am

      Well my wife could ghetto talk with the best of the sistahs when I first met her, and she still has the soul sister neck roll and can get all ghetto if I (or anyone) make her mad, lol. But no, she talks quite proper (most times) nowadays and our kids can speak BOTH languages. 😉

      • Kissie / Feb 11 2010 2:17 pm

        I love that….bilingual.

  2. Crystal Clear Proofing / Feb 11 2010 7:20 am

    What an awesome TRUTH! Oh how I envy you that experience!

  3. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Feb 11 2010 8:42 am

    Sounds amazing, Marvin! What an inspiring experience.

    You’re a good liar! I wasn’t sure which of your lies might be true. 🙂

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Thelma Banks / Feb 11 2010 9:18 am

    Fantastic experience. And I could’ve guessed ANY of them being true, the more I learn about the Old Silly! 😉

  5. quirkyloon / Feb 11 2010 9:21 am

    Excellent! How incredible! I thought for sure you had met Rod Steiger. But I was wrong. Funny, that RARELY happens. Ha!

    Question: Was your wife with you? How long were with your Master?

    • theoldsilly / Feb 11 2010 9:32 am

      My wife didn’t make the trip, no. We tried living together in the Temple for a few months but she, not being a Zen student, couldn’t put up with the rigid practice schedule so we moved out to a close by apartment and I would go to the Temple for meditation sitting times, Master interviews, and occasional week-long retreats. Even that was a strain on our marriage and eventually I had to choose between staying Zen training and being a family guy.

      Family guy won. 😉

  6. Cactus Annie / Feb 11 2010 9:21 am

    Steiger was an AWESOME actor, I agree. You write so well I could’ve believed the breakfast story, easy. But the Zen Master travels must have been a REAL trip!

  7. Stanley Berber / Feb 11 2010 10:12 am

    Darn – I wanted to be able to say I knew someone who Did Diana! LOL. Great pack of lies, and the Mexican trip sounds like an experience to remember, for sure!

  8. Helen Ginger / Feb 11 2010 10:59 am

    I’ve never meditated with a Zen master (although I am not surprised that you have – it seems to fit you), but I do have a bottle of Mezcal I brought back from Mexico.

    Straight From Hel

  9. Ron Berry / Feb 11 2010 11:23 am

    I knew you were Buddhist (as am I), but I wasn’t too sure about that one. I know you did a bit part in a movie so that one made a touch more sense to me. Ya got me.

    • theoldsilly / Feb 11 2010 11:49 am

      Actually, Ron, I’m a non-religious spiritualist Christian now – but the Zen training stay with you. Zen sitting and meditation are great tools for deepening ANY spiritual path.

  10. Marcus Franks / Feb 11 2010 11:35 am

    VERY interesting trip! Also it was interesting to me that your Zen master went to Catholic mass and drank Mezcal. I’ve heard Zen is a very open minded, be here now, experience everything type of religion, though, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, eh?

    • theoldsilly / Feb 11 2010 11:46 am

      Marcus – Zen is a religion for people who don’t like religion. More of a spiritual path than an organized religion, which drew me to it. And yes, anything goes in Zen training with a real Master. I could tell you some stories!

      • Marcus Franks / Feb 11 2010 11:47 am

        I’ll bet you could, and please do! That would make a great post, Old Silly. 😉

  11. L. Diane Wolfe / Feb 11 2010 11:35 am

    Never would’ve guessed!

  12. Elspeth Antonelli / Feb 11 2010 11:53 am

    What an experience that must have been. I’m green with envy. Seriously.

  13. ReformingGeek / Feb 11 2010 12:40 pm

    I was certainly fooled. I had no idea although your last comment on my post should have triggered the correct answer.

    What an experience!

  14. MadMadMargo / Feb 11 2010 12:49 pm

    What the…..? Okay, okay you had me going the Old Silly. Wow, what an amazing experience!

  15. Alex J. Cavanaugh / Feb 11 2010 1:15 pm

    I’d saying appearing in a movie with Ms. Weaver is better than one with her sister anyway!

  16. karen walker / Feb 11 2010 2:13 pm

    Well, I screwed up. Thought I knew the answer from having read your memoir, but got heroin and crack cocaine mixed up. I envy you your zen experience. It sounds magical.

  17. Kissie / Feb 11 2010 2:14 pm

    Weird, I’ve been black for as long as I can remember. I have yet learn to speak it!

    *wink* See one of my “For Real?!” posts.

    P.S. I finished one of the books.

    • theoldsilly / Feb 11 2010 2:34 pm

      Cool, Kissie! Which one? Oh – and I’ve talked with you live on the phone recently, and your “black” is pretty darn good. Keep working at it, you’ll get fluent as the Old Silly fore ya knows it. (wink)

      • Kevrel / Apr 16 2011 4:38 am

        I’m not easily ipremssed. . . but that’s impressing me! 🙂

    • theoldsilly / Feb 11 2010 2:36 pm

      Yes it was your “For Real” posts that got me attracted to your blog. Now here’s a real Sistah! I thought. 😉

  18. yvonne lewis / Feb 11 2010 4:35 pm

    A very ingenius excercise Marvin I wouldn’t have said the true one in a million years.
    Thanks for sharing all the bits and pieces you told us. Great fun.


  19. Patricia Stoltey / Feb 11 2010 5:58 pm

    That was great, Old Silly. Your truth was even more fascinating than your outrageous lies. 🙂

  20. Mason Canyon / Feb 11 2010 9:18 pm

    You are good. Very interesting post.

  21. Stephen Tremp / Feb 12 2010 12:44 am

    That’s so cool, Marv. I would like to do that some time. In fact, I’m now adding this to my “While I’m Alive” list (I don’t believe in Busket Lists).

    Stephen Tremp

  22.  / Mar 31 2011 8:51 am

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