I feel a need to confess. And, still being a few days from Christmas, perhaps I'm not too late. It's been building up for a couple of weeks now, ever since I saw the movie, “Shattered Glass.”

For those of you who haven't seen this film, it's based on a true story, about a New Republic reporter who invented his stories, made them up out of his admittedly creative mind and presented them as fact. When called on to offer proof of his assertions he simply responded: “It's in my notes. I left my notes at home.”

Well, smart editors eventually exposed his fiction and he ended up allowing an attorney to make his excuses for him. Movie credits reported that Mr. Glass graduated from law school and became a novelist, so justice was served after all.

Anyway, I squirmed all during that movie, thinking of all the half-truths, exaggerations and downright falsehoods I may have inadvertently represented as truth to you folks who regularly read this column. So, I want to clear the air and perhaps recant any false impressions I may have made, unwittingly, of course.

First, regarding any column in which I mentioned fishing, please reduce both the number and size by at least 50 percent. Reports of me falling in the water, hooking myself in the backside or destroying property are, regrettably, factual.

If you recall the recent discourse about my brief experience in the cattle business, I must confess that the obstacle into which I ran while trying to escape yellow jackets may have been a muscadine vine instead of an oak tree. Memory fails me on the exact details. And I may have had only two cows at the peak of expansion, which is about two-thirds the number reported. I apologize for the error. The condition of the fence, however, is accurate. It's in my notes.

The story of my two uncles who traded a mule back and forth is completely false and I don't know how it made its way into my column.

You may recall a piece about the struggles my brother and I encountered as children forced to haul buckets of water from a distant well, even in the coldest days of winter. I believe I might have left the impression that the well was quite a ways from the house, perhaps as much as a mile. It was 37 feet from the back door. As I said, memory sometimes fails me.

I stand by the assertion that my older brother always carried the lighter side of the bucket.

And I think I wrote a story once about my uncle, (I don't really have all that many uncles either.) a small-town cobbler, who took in a pair of shoes to mend and when the customer returned some 20 years later reported that the shoes “would be ready next Tuesday.”

I did have an uncle who was a small town cobbler.

Oh, the list could go on and I am humbled with remorse at the falsehoods I've penned. A simple way to ferret out the truth, separate the wheat from the chaff, differentiate fact from fiction is:

Anything that puts me in a good light, discount as pure fantasy.

Anything that paints me as a downtrodden victim of circumstance, assume to be prevarication.

Anything that indicates I have any knowledge about fishing is bound to be a lie.

But I did once apprehend a vicious gang of cutthroat horse thieves, single-handedly, with only a Popsicle stick for a weapon.

It's true. It's in my notes. But I left my notes at home. And the cat ate them.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com