1. When I was 47, I was in the Miami City Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" directed by the acclaimed Edward Villella.
True. This was one of the greatest thrills of my life. I was only in Act I but when it was over, I wanted to do it all over again. The experience gave me a taste of the narcotic all performers feel.
2. I once stood on my head at Les Invalides, the place in Paris where Napoleon is entombed.
C'est vrai. I have no shame. Here's the picture to prove it.
3. I interviewed Michael Jordan in the Bulls lockerroom for a story about "hang time."
Also true. This was on the occasion of Jordan's comeback (first or second one, I can't recall). Most the Bulls were nekkid or almost so. Mike was resplendent in a white suit. He was holding court surrounded by sycophantic sportswriters who all tried to elbow me aside. Jordan could not have been sweeter to me but maybe he was just tired of talking to jock-sniffers.
4. I was invited to a party on the royal yacht Britannia where Queen Elizabeth asked me what I did for a living.
True. I was sent by my newspaper to cover the opening of the Bahamian parliament in 1977 and got to meet Her Majesty on the yacht. (Here's the official invite). Liz did, indeed, ask me what I did for a living. I don't remember what I said because I was absolutely impaled by her icy blue eyes. For the record, Queen Liz is even shorter than I am. But her husband Phil was very tall, very gregarious and had a little too much to drink.
5. Telly Savalas let me lick his lollipop.
Well, I did get to interview him once and he was a sweetie. Gave me a big hug but did not let me lick his lolly.
So, Jude Hardin, you're our winner. Next summer, I will send you one of the first copies of our new book A THOUSAND BONES.