Last weekend, a bunch of fibbers took the stage at the Chieftains Museum (located just off Riverside Parkway in Rome) for the Annual Big Fibber’s Contest. With nine contestants competing, and they each took their turn telling the best tall tale, flat out lie, and silly story they could think up. In turn, the audience voted for who they thought was best fibber, and with a previous champion and several dark horses, the stakes were high.
Museum curator Debby Brown started the night with a whopper of her own to lighten the mood, but that just riled up the already nervy liars. In keeping with the liar’s creed, the event had no rules, only fun. This was apparent in the fact that absolutely none of the fibbers stuck to the 3 to 5 minute time limit.
For some reason, fedora hats were in fashion at this event, and for some other reason I found myself between what seemed to be a World War II fighter pilot and a math professor. Only one was fibbing with their costume, but at the time, I couldn’t figure out which; although none of this really mattered. I was there to be a spectator in a battle of half truths.
Even the reporter covering the event for the local newspaper had his turn telling a fib. This may have skewed his news report, but it only confused me. Why was he up there lying to us? Did he buy his fedora for the contest, or just for fun? After him it was the fighter pilot’s turn. In a strange twist of events he told a rather thoughtful story about his wife’s grandmother. This was out of place among the leprechaun and stubborn mule stories, but I believe his story got to the heart of this event. The important thing was that members of the community were willing to listen to what others had to say, and it didn’t matter whether the story being told was true or not. There was a certain dignity that came out of the process of telling and listening. A giving and receiving.
In the end the winner was a man who told a whopping 25 minute long story about a toothpick. It was interesting how the longest story was about the littlest thing, but this is how fun events like this go.