QUESTION: What’s wrong with this picture?
ANSWER: I’m packing heat. Check out. It’s fake heat, but the cap gun from Wal Mart proved to be an excellent prop.
I convinced an audience in a hotel in Columbia, South Carolina that I was the secret agent of the Randisi Family and that’s how I became the state’s champion liar.
It’s quite the story, and what I think is so great about this whole thing is that Toastmasters International retired the Tall Tales Contest the year after I won, therefore, I reign. The title is all mine.
The story in a nutshell: I got stuck in traffic one day going off island, found a piece of paper and began constructing a tale that answered the question, “What do you do?” (We were relatively new to Hilton Head and some of the neighbor kids were asking our three children, “What do your parents do?” To which they replied, “We don’t know. They walk us to the bus stop, greet us when we get home and then we watch Animanics cartoons.”)
And that, your honor, is how the rumor got started that the Randisi family, all five of us, were stuck on Hilton Head thanks to the witness protection program. The actual speech was the telling of how everyone thought it was my husband who did the secret agent stuff when in reality it was because of me the whole the family had to go into hiding.
NOW for the BEST PART: After I told this totally believable story to several classes at the middle school where I was substitute teaching, students went directly to our daughter Emily (also a student there) and quizzed her about the validity of my story. Only I had added some “Hollywood” to the tale. I told the kids that I, the screenwriter (that part is true), sold our story to USA Network and the show Cover Me (late 199o’s) was based on us. The show featured a mom and dad who were undercover agents and their three children also had to comply with the duties of spyhood.
Without any forewarning or prompting from me, Emily went along with it and said, “Yes, it’s true. I’m the one with the streak in her hair, ya know, the middle daughter. Hellow!” How proud was I? Amazingly, the whole school (including teachers) thought this stuff was true for a number of weeks. While I’m sure some doubted, I know for sure some believed.
Though telling lies is not something I want to promote as an educator or a parent, this was PURE FUN! Perhaps you and your family can have your own Tall Tales contest this summer. I recommend props.