Writers Write

Seniors ’74

I knew this guy in high school, who liked to embroider the truth. Once, he told a friend a story about performing in a parade.

“In front of the grandstand, the seniors spelled out a ’74 while the rest of the band circled and played Bennie and the Jets.”

My high school band didn’t know any Elton John, and the University of Oklahoma barely tolerated high school bands marching in their parade. Forget grandstanding. Did he think he’d get away with it, or did the story get away from him? Maybe, he so enjoyed the telling, he couldn’t stop.

Tonight, I watched 60 Minutes on Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. The book is extraordinary because it made us understand growing up in Central Asia. The author did so much right. Why exaggerate? Why say there are eleven schools, when three are good? Why did the story get away from him?

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