When tasked with coming up with a “2 Truths, 1 Lie”, I always default to “I have been on MTV” or some form of that statement. The story is a lot too. The show was “High School Stories” and covered a friend wanting to go down in history for the exiting Senior class. You can find the video on Youtube here. This is from my memory of some 20-odd years ago.

The Prank:

It was getting close to the end of the school year and I was graduating. A friend of mine, Chris, was a Junior. One day he let his true feelings out that he was angry that a lot of his friends who were Seniors were going to be gone next year and that he would be shortly forgotten. I put it elegantly, but if you watch the video, you will see kind of how he was (more on this later). He was trying to think up something epic to do before the end of the school year.

Chris didn’t have to wait long. There was an announcement of one last pep rally before the end of the year as our gymnastics team made it to the state championship. He instantly wanted to throw an octopus as he was a big hockey (and I believe Red Wings) fan.

So started the search for an octopus. This was in 2000 and that was not something you could find easily. He had to settle on a full fish from Jewel-Osco. The item was obtained and the plan was hatched. I was the final carrier of the fish which ended a backpack’s career. I sat in front of him during the pep rally as 2 others surrounded him. Chris had picked out his Slipknot jumpsuit for maximum viewing. The plan involved him being hoisted on the shoulders of those who surrounded him, but one was picked up before the pep rally began. It had almost failed before it began.

The team was introduced, the cheers continued, and it was about time to go back to class. It was even a surprise to me as a fish was hurled over my head and landed on the gym floor with a loud smack. It got silent. That continued as people tried to process what happened.

“Is that a fish? Beilmann (spelling) threw a fucking fish!” The Seniors and Juniors were cheering something fierce. From my recollection, the Sophomore and Freshman classes were frozen still when I looked over at them.

The Show:

This is another long story, but I have spaces that I want to highlight. I still have no idea who gave my name to the MTV producers. I had a random call (before caller ID) and they wanted to set up a meeting at Denny’s. This was also where the first bit of filming happened.

I can’t remember the high school we filmed at, but it wasn’t at West Leyden. We were told to invite friends so I ended up taking a few of the group of friends I had at the time. I believe it was 1 day on-site there. There was a second day of filming that happened with just Chris and me for the shots of us picking up the fish. Again, it was not at the actual location and MTV secured a fish shop new Downtown Chicago.

The last thing and the weirdest was the personal interview process. It was less of me answering the questions and more of me being coached on what to say. I don’t think I sounded genuine after you have repeated back an answer, then given lines, and a few more lines to say. This was an interesting experience and sullied reality television for me as I always questioned the shows.

That was my experience! Now that I have elaborated on this experience, I will need to retire this truth and find a new one. Thank you for your time.