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A man named Edward McNally wrote (a letter? An op-ed? I don’t know what this is) to the Washington Post about how he is not the real life Ferris Bueller. Uh? The Washington Post, like the newspaper for actual news? OK? I guess? So it begins:

Movie director John Hughes and I grew up on the same street in our home town of Northbrook, Ill. We both graduated from Glenbrook North, the high school where he filmed scenes from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club,” where his mom worked and two sets of our sisters were classmates. Because for years I was relentlessly pursued by a remarkably humorless Glenbrook dean about attendance, pranks and off-campus excursions — and because my best friend was in fact named Buehler — I’ve spent an inordinate amount of my life being unfairly accused of serving among the inspirations for Ferris Bueller.

Sure. That must have been tough. Always being unfairly accused of serving among the inspirations for a beloved and iconic movie character. Boo hoo, I’m sure. But OK, that ought to do it, you’re not one of the inspirations for Ferris Bueller. I’m glad that we cleared this up, nationally. Oh, wait, you want to spend another nine paragraphs talking about how you kind of are one of the inspirations for Ferris Bueller?

That said, I’ll admit that Ferris-ian high jinks were the everyday stuff of our boyhood lives. Ferris clocked in at nine absences his final high school semester. My own was a breathtaking 27. That might explain the dean’s pursuit. The key was, from the time I entered high school, all sick notes from our mom were actually penned by our sister Sheila. Even the real ones.

For one of those Chicago adventures, we secretly borrowed a car almost as ridiculously conspicuous as the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT in the movie: my dad’s purple Cadillac El Dorado (yes, purple). Put an extra 113 miles on the odometer. Hoping to erase that telltale mileage, we raised the back on a pair of jacks and ran the car in reverse. The Caddy did not fly backward into a ravine, as in the film. What it did do is quickly take off a clean 10,000 miles. Oops. (Yes, you bet he noticed.)

I just have one question: WHO ARE YOU? And I have a follow up question: WHAT IS THIS? Mr. McNally never really talks about the death of John Hughes, which I guess is kind of refreshing. This is not just another thoughtful but bland remembrance in a week of thoughtful but bland remembrances. No way, that would take time away from talking about how Edward McNally vaguely resembles Ferris Bueller although he would never be so bold as to actually suggest that he was one of the inspirations for the character, but he kind of is, but aren’t we all? (No we are all not.) He will just beat around that bush forever. Since that is what we all want. Since we all care about this. Whatever this is.

I am too confused to even be angry about this. Good luck, Mr. McNally? Or you don’t need it? I’m not sure. Just publish whether or not you need good luck in the Washington Post, where you put all your important missives.

Comments (35)
  1. True story – I used to work with the guy who was the basis for Squints (“Foooor-evvvv-errr) in The Sandlot. He sued the writer, a childhood friend of his, over character defamation. I mean, he DID end up with Wendy Pfeffercorn, how defaming could the portrayal have been?

  2. In other news, I am not the inspiration for George Clooney’s character in Ocean’s Eleven. So ladies, do me at your own risk.

  3. Weirdest way to have a mid-life crisis. “Risky Business? That was me! I did that! The first dollar is in this drawer!”

  4. I could barely finish reading that after having breath taken away by his 27 high school absences.

    • Mark  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 +3

      I definitely don’t want to brag here. That being said, I had 24 in one semester of my sophomore year and I do not own a Camaro or work at the food court.

      -Wrote in the style of a publishable Washington Post letter.

  5. I once unfairly accused Edward McNally of serving among the inspirations for Ferris Bueller. He kicked me and asked me where my brain was. Then he winked. Prick.

  6. tizzdogg  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 +21

    He may not be Ferris Bueller, but he IS a lawyer and former speechwriter for Barbara Bush.

    So I guess Ferris grew up to be a dick?

  7. I may or may not be the inspiration for the character of Sloth. On an unrelated note, man, Babe Ruth bars, right guys?

  8. Edward McNally seems like the inspiration for John Hughes because of how good he is at writing and expressing himself through personal stories that are also universal (yes, purple).

  9. For the last time! I am NOT the inspiration for Nash Bridges!

  10. I’M NOT THAT GUY. That being said, I’m totally that guy.

  11. It’s a little known fact that I am actually the inspiration for Edward McNally. Myself and the guy who eventually went on to become the character we know as Edward McNally went to grade school together. When I was 9, I claimed so vehemently in my limited 9-year-old vocabulary that it wasn’t in fact me that pushed Sara McMillen into that bees nest, but because of my over-zealous denial everyone kind of assumed that it was me. I think this rubbed off on Edward, who was then known by his given name, Ferris.

  12. “Ferris-ian.” Right there. That’s where I stopped reading.

  13. No, he’s not Ferris Bueller. He’s Abe Forman, the Sausage King of Chicago.

  14. He said that his best friend was named Buehler and that it was his dads car that they took. Sorry to burst your bubble but your Camron not Ferris.

  15. People often cite me as the inspiration for regular corn, but the truth is actually the other way around. Regular corn existed far before my time, and it was the Native Americans who discovered me. Mind you, they did believe the popping was a result of an angry god exploding from my kernels, so I guess you could say I was the inspiration for a powerful and feared supernatural being. (No big thing.)

  16. Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. And Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.

  17. Jess  |   Posted on Aug 13th, 2009 +2

    This guy is wearing a fanny pack…just like in the famous fanny pack scene from Ferris Bueller!! Oh, wait….

  18. Once when I was a young man, hanging out in the local mall food court (REMEMBER THOSE?!) with one of my buddies, this disheveled chubby guy came up to us and insisted that we knew who he was. When we said we didn’t (numerous times), he exclaimed “I’m Chunk from the Goonies! Wanna see me do the truffle shuffle?!” We said no, he kept insisting, finally we said yes, then he refused to do it, and walked away. Point of the story is…that man was Edward McNally.

  19. Bueller?

    ……………………..Bueller?

  20. I guess since they couldn’t fact check this because of John Hughes being dead, the WaPo thought they should just play it safe and run it? Seriously, that newspaper.

  21. Eric  |   Posted on Aug 14th, 2009 +1

    Go figure the guy that had 27 schools absences in his senior year of high school was also a speech writer for George H.W. Bush and an adviser to George W. Bush (check the Post article). Also, no modern car has ever been able to roll off miles in reverse (even if it was purple), just like there are no WMDs in Iraq…That’s Your Delusional Self-absorbed Douchebag!

  22. I was the guy Hughes based the pissy waiter on. :(

    Just kidding – I’m not sad about that. :)

  23. They didn’t mention in the article how he constantly drives around blasting the “Oh Yeah, chicka chick-a” song on his car stereo. And he hangs out with Jon Gosselin, who he refers to as “The new Cameron. What?”

  24. I actually am sort of the inspiration for a character in a movie… and didn’t find out about it until 2 years after the movie came out. One of my good friends in college who I’d been out of touch with for a while had written a short story with a character loosely based on me that got turned into a movie… Will Oldham’s speech and mannerisms in the movie are uncannily similar… not to mention, they didn’t change the name.

    • Liar. Will Oldham has never played a character named Lucid in a movie.

      But seriously, if you are the inspiration for Old Joy, then I am surprised you are able to access an internet machine.

      • I said ‘loosely’. It was an amalgam of me and the author’s sister’s ex-boyfriend. I grew out of the ‘traveller’ thing long before I even left college – didn’t mean that I wasn’t still a semi-awkward stoner with unresolved man issues… and one of our other best friends was indeed named Mark. And there was always an underlying sexual tension there – even though both of us identified as predominantly straight. And no – I was never nearly that far gone [though I did end up getting an MA in Philosophy].

        Funny thing though, a friend called me out of the blue last summer and said, ‘did you see the movie about you and Mark?’ And I was like, wtf? I was pretty amazed at the similarity in our gesticulations and speech patterns. For never having met me, Oldham did a bang up job impersonating me in that way.

  25. You should have a tag for douchebags.

    This guy is clearly a douchebag.

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