In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout sagely observes, "one must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can't do anything about them." That kind of lying is no fun, and is what I term "Survival Lying." It's the kind of prevaricating we invariably practice out of kindness to our mothers, in tolerance of our in-laws, and with sheer instinct for our children. Serious business, that kind of lying. How many times have you said outrageous untruths in emergency rooms, seriously minimizing the level of pain or the number of stitches? How many times have you told your mother that "it's no trouble at all?" And the in-laws...grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Then there's the fun kind of lying--what I call "Recreational Lying." This is really best done with children, of course, because they are most gullible. (Certainly, if you have some of your own, this is easier and safer.) Often, when the boys were little and we would go out to dinner I would lie to Jared and Sam about the status of their meals. They were usually hungry and a little impatient, so after several minutes, one of them would say, "Mom, how much longer?" I would say, "Oh, I forgot to tell you! A little bit ago, a big dog sneaked into the kitchen and ate up your dinner! They have to start all over." Or, if I heard a loud noise, I'd immediately turn to one of them and say, "Sounds like they dropped your dinner and now they have to start all over!" After a while, naturally, that would get old, so I'd have to be more inventive. I would excuse myself and go to the restroom or wander over to another area of the restaurant, then return and tell one of them that I'd overheard one of the waiters talking about how they'd run out of whatever one of the boys had ordered and that they'd had to send a member of the kitchen staff to the grocery store to get more. I know it sounds mean, but really, after they'd look very tragic, I'd assure them I was kidding, and then they were so grateful that they'd be thrilled when their dinner was out sooner.
And you'd be surprised how often and how long they fell for it.
Then, there's a whole other genre of lying that's kind of gender-based. You know, Chick Lying. Don't make me flash my Feminist Card! You know what I'm talking about, and you know I'm telling the truth! Women lie about Certain Things, and that's just The Way It Is.
1. Weight. I will always tell the truth about my pants size and my dress size and my shoe size, but there is no effin' way I will ever tell you my weight. When I was heavy, I lied. Now that I'm a size 2, I will still lie if anyone dares ask me. And when I was in trouble with Dr. Doogie for being way too thin, I lied the other way and told people I was heavier than I was. It's a thing.
2. Recipes. Oh, sure, I'll give you the recipe. But not The Real Recipe The Way I Actually Make It. Because I don't really follow it. Because I don't really measure. And because if I give you The Recipe, then you can make it too and mine won't be special and wonderful and in demand and then maybe I won't be, either.
Those are the two Chick Things I lie about. There are other Chick Things to lie about, I know. Some women lie about age; I don't. Hey, I'm in public education--every year is a victory. I am often accused of lying about coloring my hair. I don't. I'm fortunate enough to have inherited the Slow-Greying Gene from my dad. If you are close to me, you can see the grey hairs; they are definitely there. Will I ever dye my hair? I'm vain enough to know better than to say no. I'm hoping to grey in a very stylish way so that I won't have to because A) I'm cheap and B) I'm lazy. The upkeep would kill me. But my natural color is very, very dark. Grey hair is not. Sigh.
Do I have to even mention Guy Lying? They're just not good at it. They're all over the place, too. No specialization. Reminds me of the republicans.