Yes, it’s once again time to play “Did this conversation actually take place?” It’s the enthralling interactive column game in which you, the reader, are asked whether the following conversation occurred verbatim, is partially fabricated or is totally the product of an imagination desperately in need of an intervention.

Yes, it’s once again time to play “Did this conversation actually take place?”


It’s the enthralling interactive column game in which you, the reader, are asked whether the following conversation occurred verbatim, is partially fabricated or is totally the product of an imagination desperately in need of an intervention.


All it takes to play is your willingness to read the following dialogue, weigh its believability, and formulate an opinion before snorting derisively and pondering whom you can contact to demand the last 15 or so minutes of your life back.


There’s literally nothing to be gained or lost by your success or failure.


So let’s play:


The setting is a holiday party in a country where the native language is English and the No. 1 movie at the box office is “Avatar.” In a corner of a living room, seated on a couch within arm’s reach of the deli platter, is a man identified as Bad Back Guy. Seated in an armchair to his right, within arm’s reach of the chips and onion dip, is a man identified as Kidney Stone Guy.


These are not their real names.


Bad Back Guy winces as he reaches for a wedge of cheddar, which Kidney Stone Guy notices as he slathers a chip with onion dip. The subsequent conversation ensues.


Or does it?


Kidney Stone Guy: You all right?


Bad Back Guy: Oh, I’m fine. I just strained my back.


Kidney Stone Guy: That’s what I thought, turned out to be kidney stones. It was the most pain I’ve ever experienced.


Bad Back Guy: Kidney stones? … Pain?


Kidney Stone Guy: Oh, yeah. It’s been said that it’s more painful than having a baby.


Bad Back Guy: Yeah, but how could a guy know how painful it is to have a baby?


Kidney Stone Guy: No, women have said that.


Bad Back Guy: Oh, well. They would know.


Kidney Stone Guy: Do you eat a lot of meat?


Bad Back Guy: (puts down a salami-laden cracker) Not that much.


Kidney Stone Guy: Do you drink?


Bad Back Guy: (puts down his Rolling Rock) Not that much.


Kidney Stone Guy: Do you eat spinach?


Bad Back Guy: (smiles) I love spinach. Can’t get enough of it.


Kidney Stone Guy: Funny, you’d think that would be a good thing, but it turns out spinach is really bad for kidney stones.


Bad Back Guy: Damn.


Kidney Stone Guy: I had it blasted.


Bad Back Guy: Blasted?


Kidney Stone Guy: Yeah, really painful. Hey, I’m going to mingle. Nice talking to you.


Kidney Stone Guy leaves and the hostess then approaches Bad Back Guy.


Hostess: How’s it going?


Bad Back Guy: I think I’ve got kidney stones.


Hostess: Because of your back?


Bad Back Guy: Yeah.


Hostess: You said it started to bother you the day after you shoveled snow for three hours.


Bad Back Guy: Yeah, but I love spinach.


And there it is. Did this conversation actually take place?


Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media Service’s Raynham, Mass., office, and can be reached at fmulliga@cnc.com.


This column is the opinion of the writer and not of the newspaper.