A crush of humanity is flowing onto Sunrise Boulevard -- a swarm of people slowly marching to the sea, like an exodus hoping to escape a war…. Oh, wait, these are people seeking rather than fleeing war machines. Hundreds of thousands (could it be a million?) are drawn to the latest Air, Sea, and War Mongering Show.

Hoping to avoid delays and be nice to the environment, we hop on a bicycle.

But discrimination rears its ugly head as we pedal up to Birch Avenue. Cops in uniform stop everyone on a bike and bark at him or her to read a sign that forbids bicyclists from advancing any farther. But why? It was OK in the past.

"There's too many of them, and it's dangerous," the cop says. As paid contrarians, we ask why Rollerbladers are allowed in and why inebriated people pulling huge liquor-filled coolers on wheels aren't also risks. No answer. The cop simply points down the street and says in a rather militaristic way to lock it up or leave.

But not expecting this, we have no lock. The conversationally challenged cop points to a nearby booth where, guess what, someone is selling locks. But he's fresh out of the cheap ones and offers to sell us a "better" lock for $27, which we don't have.

So, we approach the policeman and ask if he'll be watching over our unlocked bike, because "you're wearing a uniform and badge, and you're here to protect and serve." We decide to shut up, because how could we explain getting arrested for this?

Donato Dalrymple is not getting a fair shake in the media.

After reading this paper, you'd probably think we'd be the last to defend Dalrymple. (See "Fifteen Minutes of Infamy," Bob Norman, May 4.) But the media has been skewering the man over a nonissue: his occupation. Call it The Fisherman vs. The House Cleaner debate, and it has been raging ever since a Washington Post article on Dalrymple ran on April 27.

In the article The Post seemingly broke news: Dalrymple is no fisherman, a job that still holds some romantic and mythical allure, rather he's a simple house cleaner.

Soon the fact that Dalrymple is a dirt-stained maid was making headlines around the world, implying that Dalrymple had scammed us. Time and Newsweek -- which led with Dalrymple in cover stories three weeks ago -- both have stories mentioning The Post's revelation. Geraldo did a show on it. Even the Sun-Sentinel, which should have known better, reported that The Post "revealed to the world" that Dalrymple was no fisherman.

It's all a bunch of hooey. First off, it was the media that created the fisherman myth. (Dalrymple tells us it began with Rick Sanchez from Channel 7.) Reporters simply took to calling him "the Fisherman." When journalists asked Dalrymple what he did for a living, he answered them truthfully. The St. Petersburg Times wrote that Dalrymple was a house cleaner back in January. So did the Boston Herald and several other media outlets. Amazingly even The Post had, three weeks before the April 27 article, quietly explained that Dalrymple was a house cleaner. Only then it wasn't news, it was simply Dalrymple's day job.

But The Post didn't bother to explain all that. Instead the old news suddenly became new. It's not so much The Post's disingenuous approach, however, that is worrisome. It's that some of the world's most respected media outlets blindly followed it.

Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].

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Tom Walsh
Contact: Tom Walsh