Ya know yourself whenever you’re tellin’ a story, especially if it’s a good one, ya sometimes stretch the truth a bit if it makes the story sound better. Nothin’ wrong with that, we all do it all the time. But every once in a while ya run into somebody who can’t open their mouth without comin’ out with the most ridiculous lies you ever heard in your life.
This past week, Tommy started bringin’ one of his buddies that he works with to Tim’s every morning when we have our coffee. This fella’s name is Gerard (in case you’re from away, that’s pronounced Jew-ard) and the first day he comes around was the first day of Roll Up the Rim to Win. So we’re all talkin’ about how we never win anything big.
Most I ever won was a coffee, Cyril says.
Me too, Murph says.
I won two coffees in the same day last year, Tommy says.
Did I ever tell yis about the time I won the car? Gerard says.
Now, first of all, most of us just met the fella, so askin’ “Did I ever tell yis about the time” shoulda tipped us off that he fancied himself a storyteller.
I was workin’ in Toronto, he says, this was a few years ago. And everybody knows that’s where they give out all the big winners. And I rolled up the rim and it said right there, plain as day, “You win the car” eh. So I didn’t say nothin’. I just ripped the lid off and stuffed it in my pocket, and when the other fellas asked me what I won, I just said a coffee. So after I get home, there’s a number to call if you’re a big winner, so I called ‘er up. Buddy says, Congratulations. But, he says, now get this, he says, there’s a skill-testin’ question. Bring ‘er on, I says. And he gives me this math problem. This plus that times this divided by that. But what he didn’t know was, I’m better at math than pretty much anybody I know. So before he even got the question out of his mouth, I said, “32.” And I knew I was right. But he says, Sorry, the answer is 45. And – click – he hangs up the phone.
Ya got it wrong? Cyril asks.
That’s what you think, Gerard says. I knew I had it right, so the next day I call back the same number, and I get the same fella. And I said, Listen, Brian – cuz I remembered Brian was his name – I said, I need to talk to your supervisor. So this older guy comes on the phone and I explain to him what happened and that the answer’s 32, not 45. And ya know what he said? He said, You’re right, he said. Last year, the answer woulda been 32. But this is the first year we’re usin’ the New Math. And under the New Math, the answer was 45.
G’way! Tommy said. Now, a few of us looked at each other, since we didn’t really know what New Math was, but figured they prolly do things different in Toronto anyway.
New Math, old math, metric, imperial, that ain’t right, Gerard said. But they said rules was rules, so there was nothin’ they could do about the car, but to make up for it, they gave me free coffee for a year, Gerard said.
I gotta admit, it was a helluva story.
The next day, we somehow to to talkin’ about huntin’ and Gerard said, “Did I ever tell yis about the time I hypnotized a moose?”
Then he tells us about this time him and his buddy were out huntin’ and when they left the cabin, they got the guns switched up somehow, and he ended up with his buddy’s gun with no bullets, standin’ right in front of a giant bull moose.
But, little known fact, Gerard said. Moose got no defence against whistlin’. You look a moose straight in the eye and start whistlin’ *SNAP* (he snapped his fingers), out like a light, buddy. And for some reason, ya know what song works best? The theme from MASH. So I started whistlin’ that, and I could see the moose’s eyes start to droop, eh. And in about ten seconds, he was kneelin’ down and goin’ to sleep. Of course, my buddy came to see what was goin’ on when he heard me whistlin’, so I took my gun back and BANG, moose meat for the next two months.
The third day he got three five-dollar bills back and sat there holdin’ each of them up to the light. “Did I ever tell yis about the time I found the five-dollar bill where the Queen’s cross-eyed? There’s only 12 of them out there, some kind of printin’ error, but they’re worth thousands eh.”
By the fourth day, we were all pretty sure Gerard was just full of you-know-what. All his biggest stories happened “years ago in Toronto” so we conveniently didn’t know any of the people involved. Like when he told us he once traded two empty cases of Schooner bottles for an ‘84 Camero because, “Buddy was a real serious bottle collector eh.”
Who in their right mind would do that?! Murph said. Of course, Murph got a temper, and the cost of tellin’ him a lie is usually a puck in the head.
Who would trade beer bottles worth a couple of bucks for a car worth thousands?! Murph said, raisin’ his voice, and we could all see a fight was comin’.
But that’s when Gerard talked his way right out of it with a single sentence.
Yeah, but ya gotta remember, he said, in Toronto they got the New Math.
And we all burst out laughin’, even Murph.