Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Legend of Dan Freedom

A friend of mine writes about what he calls recreational liars on his blog. Recreational liars are people who will tell a lie just to spread misinformation. There is nothing malicious in the lies they tell, just a desire to be mischievous and perhaps to see how far a lie can be pushed into the realm of blatant falsehoods before someone finally pulls your card on the story. I have to admit that I am one of these people. If someone asks a question and I am quick enough on my mental feet, I will make up an answer and then defend said answer for a few days. Every once in a while I have dropped one of these recreational lies that has endured and gains a life of its own. One of these cases concerns Dan Freedom, better known to the public as Dan French.

Since the late nineties (anyone else feel old?) I have worked with Dan French. He bounced around several different departments at my company as well as moving back and forth between Houston and College Station a couple of times. I don't know him real well, but he has become one of those constants in my work world. We say hello and occasionally chat back and forth about how much more time he has in school and what not. It is a very casual friendship.

One day during the build up to the current Iraq War I was sitting around with Philip, the office wit, discussing the rash of anti-France sentiment that was washing over parts of the nation. We were making fun of the name changes that accompanied this dislike of the French (whom I dislike on principle rather than for any one incident in their history of bad decisions and surrenders). In particular we were focusing on the change of french fries to freedom fries or, the best EVER, traitor tots. Dan went cruising through the area and I pointed out to him that we had to change his last name, otherwise he might be considered a traitor. We immediately agreed on the moniker of Dan Freedom. It allowed him to keep his first name and suited our purposes of making fun of what was going on in the real world.

A day or so later he went walking through the area again and I called him Dan Freedom. After he left, one of the girls turned to me and said that she thought his last name was French. Seeing an opportunity to have some fun, I immediately told her that Dan Freedom was his porn name. She looked at me like I was selling her a load of crap, which I was, but I turned away and said something to the effect of, "It's how he paid for his first few years of college." She bought it and that was all that was said at the time. When I saw Dan later, I told him what I had said. He laughed and we thought it was done. We were sadly mistaken.

A couple of days later one of the other girls in the department asked if I had heard that Dan used to be a porn star. I nodded, smiling on the inside, and told her that I had known about it and that I had seen one or two of his movies. She asked what I thought of his "acting." I told her it was okay, I mean it was porn acting. She asked if I thought it was weird working with a guy whom I had seen naked, and I told her no, I never really thought about it. She seemed to accept this and went on.

Now several months passed, we're talking some where between six and nine months, and the joke passed into whatever part of my brain these little lies go to die. I ran into Dan on the stairs (it didn't hurt, Matt) and he told me that he had been at a party this past weekend and a girl, who did not work at our office, asked what porn movies he had been in. He told me at first he was taken aback by the question and then he remembered the lie, so he threw a couple of movie titles out that he made up on the spot and then he rolled on with the party. When he was first telling me the story, I had forgotten about the lie, but by the end I had remembered and I was laughing so hard I was almost crying.

All I could think of was, "Mission Accomplished."

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