This weekend I have learned two things about myself:
1. I am a ridiculous human being
2. There is a large possibility that I am a pathological liar
Before you judge and question why I would publicly admit such an unflattering flaw, please take note that I don’t lie about the things that “matter” and I that would never cheat on anything more important than monopoly. I generally consider myself to be a trustworthy person.
The trouble all began on Friday as I was waiting for my friend Molly to pick me up from the airport in NYC. It wasn’t terribly cold out, but there was a hasty wind. Although I have to admit that I mildly regretted not wearing a jacket that morning, I was at least wearing pants. Pants are always a good start in my book.
I was sitting on a bench, reading, and minding my own business when and older gentleman sat beside me.
“ Where is your jacket? You must be chilly, young lady.” The man judged.
Without even thinking about it, I instinctively answered
“ Oh I’m okay. I just flew in from Alaska”
If you held me at gunpoint, I couldn’t tell you why I said that. I have never even been to Alaska I wasn’t even trying to lie. I had no reason to. I could have just as easily replied with a polite “ yes, I am feeling quite chilled this afternoon” or I could have even explained that I grew up in northern Vermont . Instead though, this nonsense about Alaska just popped out of my mouth, like the gum that flew into my hair earlier this year. By the time I realized what I had said, I couldn’t come clean without making myself seem insane ( Which actually may be close to the truth). I just put my head back into my book and prayed to the Eskimo Gods that he would not ask any follow up questions.
Molly picked me up a few minutes later and I vowed to myself that I would save my fibs for times of crisis and emergency.
And then I had two margaritas.
As the tequila ran through my bloodstream, the lies ran out of my mouth. Except now they were significantly more extravagant and no longer shielded by a sober social sensor. Tequila always makes me more clever and awkward and it often inspires me to make up fun occupations and life experiences. My personal favorite was convincing a man in Vermont that I was a professional Polka instructor and offering him a free lesson in the middle of the bar. By the end of the night he had learned this fake polka dance so well that he was dancing solo and I was playing the air accordion next to him. Still makes me laugh.
I was in rare form in New York City. There are now people in Queens who were entertained by:
1. A recent graduate from the art program of University of Oklahoma- Now working as a tattoo artist in Manhattan.
2. A teacher for the blind in Wisconsin
3. A sales rep from Jersey. ( when asked what I sold, I froze and just said… “ um. Snakes.” And walked away)
This game kept me entertained all evening.
I could lie and tell you that my addiction to fibs is a recent development, but it would be exactly that. A lie. Although I cannot recall the first time I decided to dodge the truth, I do remember several fabrications I made up before the age of 10. Most of these lies were created solely for the purpose to get my little sister into trouble and to solidify my spot as the good daughter. I hardly think that those count as a lies, just good strong self-marketing.
As I grew older and Alicia grew smarter, I stopped trying to convince her that it was okay to stick her middle finger up at people of authority as long as she didn’t personally believe it was wrong. I stopped telling her that as a mature 4th grader, I was more than qualified to give her a haircut, and I moved on from conning her into writing the word “sex” in her diary and insisting that if she showed dad, he would be really proud of her 1st grade handwriting.
As I grew and matured, my lies and stories grew more extreme and elaborate. My senior year of college I started a rumor that our campus mascot statue of a fighting hornet was going to be removed because of some foreign exchange students from Lebanon were offended. I claimed that the hornet was sort of hate symbol in their country and that since LC is so great about respecting diversity and different cultures, they agreed to remove the statue until these make believe students graduated. Ultimately, the rumor got so big that our Dean of Students had to send out a campus wide email saying that it was false. I later admitted to making up the entire story at a talent competition later in the year and thanked the DOS for being such a good sport.
After reflecting on this topic, I think that the word “liar” may be a little harsh. I think that I am more of a storyteller. Libraries don’t have sections labeled “ Lies” and “ non-lies”. If I were to write these ridiculous stories, instead of speaking them to strangers; it would be labeled as fiction. Call me a drunken fiction teller.