Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Meet Tom the human polygraph

"Do your parents know what you're doing?" the man at the Toronto Greyhound Bus Terminal asked..

"They do," I said.

ANOTHER PAGE IN THE LIFE: Your blogger with the then
speaker of the Ontario Legislature and very fine gentleman, Fred M. Cass

That was good enough for him. The ticket guy took me at my word, accepted my money and handed me the bus ticket. From Toronto to Sudbury which was, at the time, a six-hour trip. I can't remember what the fare was, but I was alone, small for my age, and 11.

I bought the ticket at about suppertime, on a Friday. I had finished work for the week and--pay cheque in hand--headed home aboard a greyhound, for the weekend. 

Are you with me here? Done work for the week? Heading home? 

I was 11! 

I was also a page at the Ontario Legislature on Queen's Park. 

I didn't have to go to regular school; it was during May and June, we got paid, I commuted downtown with the grownups every day and lived with my older sister Charlene and two beautiful college-student roommates Cathy Welles and Barb Sinclair, who I have secret crushes on to this day. In a cool high-rise in the west end of Toronto. The months I spent as a page was one of the most interesting periods of my life, even up to this point. But that's stuff for another blog.  

The reason I'm telling you about the bus trip, was, after I arrived in Sudbury, I was talking to my dad and  told him about the bus man's question. 

I said "I told the man if I was running away from home, I wouldn't be going to Sudbury. Ha. Ha. Ha."

My father had six sisters and one brother. 

I'm the youngest of 10 kids. My dad and his brother Ed employed dozens of bus drivers, mechanics, sweepers and go-fers, frequently hiring guys just out of jail because nobody would else give them a chance.

On a daily basis, my Dad had run-ins with police (drivers got into situations) suppliers and neighbours.

I once commented to him that he was very lucky because he didn't have a boss at work and he said something along the lines of, "when you're in a business like this, everybody is your boss" 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Dad was also married to my mom.

At this point, you're wondering what the connection is between my busy father and the bus ticket? 

It's this. My father was not a cynical guy. He wasn't one to badmouth neighbours or malingering employees. My question is, why would Tom, after having so much contact with those thousands of other people, presumably working with the honesty-is-the-best policy philosophy, have the laser-like mental polygraph vision that made him ask, after my witty comment about "wouldn't be going to Sudbury?" was  

"Did that really happen?"

My parents' and oldest brother Pat's gravesite, with an angel statue, little
bluebirds, wind chimes, a plastic bear's head, a iron dragonfly, beautiful foliage and a
a bus engraved on the tombstone, is basically an outdoor Carter museum.

I said yes, it did.

But in fact, it didn't.

I had made that part of the story up. And he was on to me. Just like that. 

Never said another word about it until just now. 

And here's something even weirder.

When I was in Sudbury last week for a visit, I made it a point to stop at my mom's and dad's grave. It's not something I always do, but this time it just seemed right. 

I told him I was sorry about the fib. I bet he already knew that, too.


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