Columnist Glenn Mitchell looks to set the record straight 43 years later in this week’s Mitchell’s Musings. (Graham Hughes/CP photo)

Mitchell’s Musings: Setting the record straight, eventually

Do you remember arguments as a kid over stupid stuff like – “Who was the best hockey player who ever lived?”

A Bruins fan would say Bobby Orr, a Habs fan would say Rocket Richard, a Red Wings fan would say Gordie Howe, a Hawks fan Bobby Hull, a Leafs fan would say Dave Keon, which would be wrong, and the fight was on.

Sometimes it would escalate to yelling and maybe even fisticuffs, and nothing would be settled, even after someone would inevitably say: “Oh, yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad.”

Not that this assertion, whether it was true or not, made Orr better than Richard or vice versa, but sometimes it carried the day anyway. Although when the argument was with your own brother it didn’t carry as much weight, or even made any sense whatsoever. But I digress.

The reason I bring this up is we still have arguments today that don’t necessarily have correct answers, just opinions, and the debate continues. But there are other fact-finding arguments that do have correct answers as there’s one source today that wasn’t available to us back then that would have been so nice to employ when needed.

You see, I had a friend back then that was a bit of a know-it-all and it bothered me.

To be honest I was a bit of one of those annoying characters too, so that’s why it bugged me so much when he claimed something was true when I was pretty sure it might not be but there was no way of checking at the time.

This might be called transference or you can chalk it up to “hating most in others what you hate most in yourself.”

But as a young boy, this was all Greek to me. Still is, really.

Anyway, grasshopper, we didn’t have Siri and Google back then to fact-check know-it alls like Dave. I’m not giving anything away by giving him that name, even though it’s his real name, because half my class at Silver Star Elementary back then was named Dave, even a couple of the girls. It was pretty popular, kind of like Lucas today, which is one of my kids’ names by the way, but he was born in 1996, well before it became trendy so maybe we started it. Again, I digress.

You can ask Siri the hockey question and she refers you to two sources, one that says Wayne Gretzky and the other claims Gordie Howe – so much for ending that argument. Let the debate continue, that’s the beauty of sports

But there are other more fact-based statements that do have correct answers where Google etc. would’ve come in handy back in the day. Like for instance, how many times have the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Siri says 24 and there’s no debate.

Back in the day we might have fought over the answer cause the resource to answer it wasn’t within reach at any given time. Not to mention in the ‘70s they kept winning more and more Cups so it got confusing. Ahem. A real Habs fan would say they might win their 25th this year. Ahem.

The reason for all this consternation about nothing is I want to set the record straight about something Dave told me in 1973 that was incorrect.

I thought it was then but I didn’t have the knowledge, or the guts, to correct him. Today, some 47 years later, that all changes.

He told me that the movie American Graffiti was a true story. The reason he knew this, he said, was that at the end of the movie they provided an on-screen epilogue of what happened in the lives of all the main characters after the happenings of September 1962. And, apparently, they weren’t allowed to do that unless it was true.

Huh? Although I was a naive 13-year-old at the time, and it didn’t sound right – how would they enforce such a law after all? – I remained silent.

Until today.

Wikipedia says it may be George Lucas’ masterpiece story of vignettes from his adolescence but it’s definitely a fictional story – epilogue or no epilogue.

And now, as they say, we can all live happily ever after. Especially me. Amen.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.

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