Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poachers Anonymous

Well now I have the truth. My name is Ron and I am a poacher! I have enrolled in Poachers not so Anonymous.

The disclosure comes from a visit to Snopes website and particularly a page entitled ‘Tranfusion Confusion.’ There my originality is debunked. In yesterday’s entry I told you about an anecdote within a children’s novel that I wrote twelve years ago. Someone recently questioned whether I had created that story or ‘borrowed’ it. He was gracious. Let’s call it what it is. I am man enough. It’s Poaching.

A brave little boy agrees to transfuse his ailing sister even though he believes that he will die in order to save his sister’s life. I wrote my book between 1996-1998 and it contains a scene that is a clone of this tribute to filial love. Apparently the tear jerking story began its online odyssey in 1998 but not because of me. Whoever wrote it, lifted it from the 1993 best seller, ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul.’ Further, in a book published in 1994 an author named Lamott attributed a similar sounding story to a spiritual teacher named Jack Kornfield. In a 1974 magazine produced by the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints, an identical story was contained and unattributed. The Snopes article writer also says that some Latter Day Saints high school students of the 1970’s remember watching a film that used the same storyline but swapped the genders of the characters. Another story comes out of a US military strike on a Vietnamese village when an American medic attended to children, one of whom performed this heroic if also confused donation of blood. One might appreciate the misunderstanding given the language barrier. Yet the oldest parallel comes from a 1925 Mary Pickford film in which 32 year old Pickford played a twelve year old Annie Rooney who rushed to the hospital to offer herself for a life giving transfusion to save the life of her brother shot in a gun battle. She thinks she will die in giving this aid.

So needless to say I am ruined. This heart rending story has been kicking around for over 80 years. It was not the product of my fertile fiction after all. What a disappointment. What’s disconcerting to me is that I could not, cannot, recall pinching it. I believe that I was convinced I was fashioning an emotionally compelling and original narrative. I promise, I will return to the chapter of my book that contains this and excise it. What in the world can I substitute for it?

How in the world did 32 year old Pickford pass for a twelve year old?
Watch this trailer (nothing wrong with your audio. It’s a silent movie.)

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