David Carr of the New York Times, harking back to his days of working as a political reporter in the Twin Cities. Fatigued from a marathon nomination fight during the 1982 State GOP convention, he heads for the cheap seats in the Old St. Paul Civic Center to rest and reflect. Where upon he just happens, by some miraculous coincidence, to situate himself next to Howard Hughes. Or at least our local version of it, as Carr tells it:
Their various causes righteous, their faces flushed with excitement, they went into extra innings, deep into the night. My head spinning, I climbed into the bleachers and sat near a shaggy-looking guy in a shiny hockey jacket from Anoka. We watched the full pageantry of electoral politics silently and then I finally looked down the row and spoke: "Is it always like this?"
"Yes," the man said, turning toward me. I recognized him as someone who should know: Garrison Keillor.
Curiosities we're just supposed to take The New York Times' word on:
1) Garrison Keillor was on-site for a state GOP convention, one with all the momentous import of nominating Wheelock Whitney.
2) He stayed until "deep into the night" to watch exhausting procedural fights.
3) A man who changed his name from Gary to Garrison when he was in junior high was sporting a "shiny hockey jacket" in public.
4) The reporter went to an obscure location, sat down randomly, blindly shot a question toward a shaggy-looking random guy and it happened to be the bard of Lake Woebegone, providing an anecdote that just happens to be note perfect decades later for a piece he's writing on how endearingly quirky Minnesota politics, and the election of Al Franken is.
Sure, sure, it might be true. Then again, I used to say that about Jayson Blair's work. Make a monkey out of me again, will ya!