(As narrated by my dad at the airport this morning, marveling at the effects of customer service training on the security guards at Kochi International.)
They’ve clearly had some kind of new training because when I walkup and assume the position he says “Hello.” Which is unusual in itself.
So I say “Hello” back.
He eyes me suspiciously. After a significant pause he says carefully: “How are you.”
“Very well thank you.” I smile for good measure.
Clearly unsatisfied, he tries again. “Hello.”
I’m not entirely sure where this is going. “Hello.”
He gives me a long look, then grunts approval, and stamps my boarding pass. “OK”.
This story is TRUE. It just happened 5 mins ago.
The Banana-man Can
Charley “Charley-horse” McGovern wants to make sure I can see the Organic label on the banana he is eating.
“There’s not much point to being profiled if you can’t see the f**king banana, yeah?”
McGovern is an Organic Evangelist, a chemistry teacher and more than a little unhinged. When not moulding the minds of America’s youth at a high school in Tennessee, he travels from city to city, independently protesting the use of Organic labels that do not strictly adhere to the standards set out by the 1978 Walker Act.
“It’s as much about the semantics as it is about the principle - if it’s industrially ripened, then it should say so!”
When asked if he should maybe have been an English teacher instead, he laughs - spraying banana bits into the air.
“This banana could teach English better than me! Yeah?”
This story is FALSE. But not that far off. This guy was part of a large group protesting Monsanto and GMOs in Pershing Square. He had on an orange flak-jacket with “GREED KILLS END WARS” stenciled on the back, which did not seem exactly aligned with the general message of the crowd. He also had a loud and boisterous reunion with a man in ripped jeans and a USA top hat who was pushing around a tall wooden guillotine with the Monsanto logo painted on the blade.
We are barely half-way through the beef carpaccio when her henna finds its way into the conversation.
"Do you like it? I got it done in Sucotra. It was very expensive."
"Yes, its beautiful."
At least two people at the table were wondering if it was just them that thought it looked like she had dipped her fingertips in something unsavoury.
"The strangest things have been happening since I got it."
And here her voice dropped to a conspiratorial, excited stage whisper.
"This is going to sound weird, but - I think its given me certain … abilities!"
She laughed at the looks on our faces, confident she would dispel our doubts momentarily.
This story is FALSE. CKB is a close friend, and did get her henna done in Sucotra. And while she has never claimed superpowers, many of us that are familiar with her incredible range of talents believe she’s not really all that far off.
Erdem swerves wildly through traffic as he speaks.
“You wouldn’t believe some of the stories - you guys would think I was crazy.”
“Like what? What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened in your cab.”
“Well Newt Gingrich has sitted where you are sitting now howaboutthat?”
“That’s pretty cool. But it’s not crazy. I mean, we are in DC.”
“Hokay, you want crazy. I pick dis guy up outside a club. He has a girl with him and they obviously going to you know what. He says I need to get this girl to a hotel room quick but I don’t have the money for it - how much to use your cab? I say you mean use my cab for f**k? He say yeah man how much? I say how much the hotel? He say 200. I say OK let’s do 100. He says deal and gives me the cash. So I drive them quiet spot by the river near bridge - they not really waiting for me to get out of cab. I go up the hill, look out at river, have some smokes, take a nap and go back one hour after. Both of them gone, so I close up my shift early and go home.”
He must have seen us squirming uncomfortably on the back seat.
“But that was way back - when I had the other cab - the hatchback.”
This story is TRUE. Derya and I met this VERY loud Turkish cab driver in DC. He had other coarser, grosser stories to share that made us really wish we weren’t sitting in his cab.
The Elephant Whisperer
The neatly rolled denim cuffs and frequently polished wireframe spectacles betray a meticulous attention to detail. The furrowed brow is the only visible indication of a hereditary pugnaciousness that has seen him through the years of doubt and scores of doubters. Dr Albert Schfentzler is the worlds foremost expert on elephant vocal patterns and inflections, and a leading proponent of the theory that these gentle giant creatures can be taught to speak English.
This story is FALSE. Obviously. This Richard Attenborough-looking dude just happened to be sitting in the New Delhi airport bar when i stopped by for a beer and tikka. Based on his chirping when I went over to plug my phone into the wall socket bank he had commandeered, he’s Australian.
#sfamou is now open for submissions. If you have a story - true or false - that you would like us to post, use the ‘Submit’ option at the top of the page to send it to us. Only real requirement is that it should have an original photo of an actual person, place or thing relevant to the story. And it better be entertaining. And of course, you have to tell us if the story is true or false - we’ll take your word for it.