From ‘The Weather in Town’ to ‘SuperNan’: Dave Paddon on the lies he loves to tell
A little something funny about each of Dave Paddon’s thirteen recitations in his new book Half the Lies You Tell Are Not True.
1. FOG. Is the east side of Placentia Bay really the foggiest place anywhere? Dave admits that “people dispute that and there’s a little bit of history there.” The fog in this recitation is so thick you can use if for cannonballs.
2. DOCTORING.Warning: contains references to some unusual surgical practices. “My father was a doctor. My grandfather was a doctor. My mother and my grandmother were nurses. So there’s a bit of inspiration there.” For Jim up in Boiler Cove, surgery is “more like a habit.”
3. DIRTY JOB “is about cleaning up septic tanks. Which I did as a teenager. A lot of it."
4. FLYING.“I flew for 40 years. In those days flying was way different than now. The more time goes by you have to do exactly this and exactly that and there’s no room for any of your own finesse or anything. But in those days there was.” At the end of this flight, the CFAs are “bawling and kissing the ground.”
5. VESSELS. “Now if you go anywhere in outport NL there’d be small wooden boats. One place they’ll call it a Rodney. Another place they call it a punt. Another place call it a dory. Something nobody agrees on. So the two old fellas, Jim and Bill, they get in a bit of a racket about the proper names—and then Jim says, ‘I’ll tell you what I did last year.’” There’s some submarine diving involved.
6. TUNNEL. Every few years there’s a big story in the newspapers about putting a tunnel under the straits. “Been going on for years,” he says. “I said: it’s time for Jim and Bill to build a tunnel.” Then the contest is on: who’ll be the first to cross?
7. BERRIES.“Uncle Jim and Dot are based on my in-laws who never passed a berry they didn’t pick. Ross and Bill are based on two brothers who live out in the outport where I have summer place, and they pick a lot of berries too. So it wasn’t hard to imagine a contest between them.” The moral is in the last line of this recitation: “Blood’s thicker than water, and even thicker than jam.”
8. SUPERNAN “is based on my wife’s grandmother, who’s 97 and who’s a going concern.” Once, Dave says, he went round to her house and found her up on her roof, fixing a leak “with a bucket of tar and a stick.” In this recitation, Dave follows her up onto the roof and Nan has to intervene.
9. BINGO BEAR VS SUPERNAN is based on a true story. “Back in the 90s, a polar bear came ashore at St. Bride’s and interrupted a bingo game,” Dave said. Dave thought the story had the makings of a good recitation. All it needed, he figured, was his wife’s nan. And that’s how Bingo Bear Vs. Supernan started.
10. MAN COLD.“It’s about the difference between how men and women react to having a cold. Easy target,” said Dave. This short one has a little more autobiography than some of the other recitations. "My wife, she can have a cold and she won’t even know it,” Dave said. “I’m terrible when I’m sick. I’m the worst kind of a wimp around.”
11.THE WEATHER IN TOWN. A response to DarkNL, said Dave. The recitation begins like this: “With a week to go to Christmas Day, the townies were all freaking, as word went out across the air: This is the mayor speaking. A winter storm watch is declared, stay home beside your heaters. We could be hit with 10, or even 15, centimetres.”
12. HOCKEY NIGHT IN LABRADOR.“Sort of a nostalgia piece about going to hockey games years ago. When you were froze to death in the arena and everything,” Dave said. He played hockey as a kid, he said, and his team probably had the longest name in hockey history: The Northwest River Happy Valley Goose Bay Airport Restaurant Jets.
13.MAN OF LA MANCHE. Driving home after a party, there’s some confusion when the car stops to let Dave’s buddy relieve “the pressure in his holding tank.” After he’s beamed up to the Enterprise,he learns that “Jim, Kirk, and Mr. Spock, are all actually from this province, and they were moose hunting.”