I’m writing this to offer my sincerest apologies for the big lie I’ve been spreading about my trip to Paris. I don’t mean to offer excuses, but the thing that I hope everyone understands is that the trip was so much fun that the only way for me to really, really let people know how much I enjoyed it was to exaggerate and, yes, to lie. Specifically, I’d like to apologize for telling everyone that my favorite part of the trip was seeing Jaleel White in his one man show, An Evening with Steve Urkel, at the Paris Opera House. As much as I may have liked to, I did not see this show — and not just because tickets were so hard to come by. The fact is that the show never happened. It didn’t exist. And I’m sorry for telling everybody that it did.
It started out innocently enough, as many things do, with a metaphor. What I said to my sister when she asked about my trip to Paris was that it was like a dream, “Like seeing Jaleel White in a one man show in which he recounts all seven seasons of Family Matters in ninety minutes, but he does it as Steve Urkel, complete with transformations into Stefan Urquelle and his eventual marriage to Laura Winslow.” But it turns out that my sister wasn’t really paying attention, because she said something like, “Really? You saw that in Paris?” From there, the metaphor could only snowball into a lie.
Am I saying that I blame my sister? Certainly not, though I must point out for the record that none of this would have happened if she’d been paying attention when I answered her question. If not for her, I wouldn’t have started adding so many details — like the fact that the show was sponsored, appropriately enough, by the popular Czech brewer Pilsner Urquell, that Jaleel White would snap his suspenders to punctuate jokes, that the French roared with laughter each time he repeated his trademark phrase, “Did I do that?” If not for her, I wouldn’t have grown so enamored of my story — my lie — that I started to build upon it as I related it to friends and family alike, embellishing the tale to the point where I actually went backstage to greet White, one American to another, fellow expatriates, and to congratulate him on the most sublime of performances.
Again, I don’t blame my sister for any of this. Full responsibility lies on my shoulders. I’m the one who rattled on at length about how it only makes sense that the French would love Steve Urkel — they loved Jerry Lewis, after all! And I’m the one who Photoshopped a picture of myself waiting for the Metro in front of an ad for the show to offer as proof when people doubted my story. I take full ownership of the lie that I spread, even if I never would have thought to tell it if not for my sister’s complete lack of an attention span.
No, there never was An Evening with Steve Urkel. The lie was mine and mine alone. I apologize to everyone who’s been hurt by this filthy, regrettable untruth. To my friends and family, to the good people of Paris, and, most of all, to Jaleel White, all I can say is that I’m sorry, and that it will never happen again. And, just to recap, that it wouldn’t have happened in the first place if my sister had been paying attention.
And, please… Don’t ask me which sister I’m talking about.
Maureen would never forgive me if I told.