Monday, April 23, 2007

In Which I Wonder If I'm too Gullible
This is a press release that my editor forwarded to me this morning.

Poet, Former NPR Commentator Dana Cole-Levesque* to Give Reading at Green Mountain College

Poultney, Vermont -- The public is invited to an evening of "Poetry, Music, and Politics" with writer and school administrator Dana Cole-Levesque at Green Mountain College on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in The Gorge of Withey Hall. Cole-Levesque is author of seven books of poems, eight plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, a picture book for children, dozens of essays, introductions, speeches and book reviews, the libretto for an opera and is a performance poet on two CDs, plus the father of two children - one particularly intelligent. He was for a time a commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and his poems are frequently read by Garrison Keillor on the NPR feature, The Writer's Almanac.
Cole-Levesque tours occasionally with avant-garde bassist and composer, William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake. In 2003 the three released, Songs for a Suffering World: A Prayer for Peace, a Protest Against War. William Parker and Cole-Levesque also released in 1999, Zen Mountains-Zen Streets: A Duet for Poet and Improvised Bass, a two-CD set of a live performance which is available on the Boxholder Records label.
This event is free and open to the public.

My father has been a bureaucrat and a school principal, and has made a few appearances on the news in those two jobs, and he has worked in several other careers as well. And that's just in my memory: I've heard about jobs he did before I was born, so if it turned out that there were a couple more on his résumé that I didn't know about, I would not be surprised.

However, I'm pretty sure he has never ever been in an opera, I've never heard of William Parker and Hamid Drake in my life, and while one or two poems or a short book written in the late '70s could easily have slipped under my radar, eight plays and "dozens of essays" would have been pushing it. And, of course, a commentary on the intelligence of the guy's children would stick out like a sore thumb in a real press release. So why did I have to scrutinize the picture that came with the press release before definitively saying that this was a joke?

What really happened was, my editor got a press release about a public appearance by some David Budbill, and he thought Budbill looked a lot like my dad, so he forwarded it to me after substituting all instances of Budbill's name for my father's and adding one or two details specific to my dad. I was laughing before I finished reading the press release, and if I had paid more attention to detail I would have noticed that it couldn't be him — I'm pretty sure he won't be around that Thursday, and I barely read the second paragraph at all — but the only clincher was the fact that my dad's nose is crooked where he broke it playing basketball as a teen, but Budbill's nose isn't.

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