pants on fire

"I can’t think of anything I’d ever lie about."  Silence.  "Okay, that was a lie.  I’m embarrassed to say."  More silence.  "Okay, I lied to Jeb about what I got on my SATs, and instead of saying ‘Barnard College,’ I say ‘Columbia University.’"

I have lied about my intelligence because it’s the one thing I’ve ever really been insecure about.  “Have you read this book?  No?  Okay, what about this… you had to have read this!”  Um, no.  “How can you not know who he is?  He’s so famous!”  I get tired of answering, “no.”  So eventually, I’ll throw in a “sure,” just to forgo the lecture.  A lie. Then I’ll write it down and try to read it, but chances are, I won’t.   

Deep down, I question my intelligence.  I can watch an entire row of Jeopardy questions and hear all their answers.  Ask me those same questions ten minutes later, and I will maybe know the answer to one of them.  My brain just doesn’t have room for trivia, unless it’s about food.  Ask me to birth a creative idea, and I’m brilliant.  To express a new idea, to find new in something old… I can do all of that.  But if you ask me to attend trivia night, you ought to assume all I do is watch chick flicks and live in my own little world.  Then you’d be really smart… because that’s pretty much dead on balls accurate.  See, here’s the thing… trivia goes in one ear and out the other.  I don’t care about it.  Excite me, and I become voracious, snacking on facts and ideas, new ways of thinking, of seeing things. If, however, you want to know what’s going on in the world, stick to CNN.  I have no clue.  Yes, I want to have a clue; and I do care.  I realize there’s a world of love and grief out there, that I can make a difference in it. It’s not that I  don’t care, but I’m busy consumed with other things.  I’m completely self-centered.  So there you have it, me with my defenses down.

Why do you lie?  And, do you think you could go an entire week without telling one lie?  Lying by omission counts.



  1. Lie…Bullshit. What's the difference? I am a master bullshitter. Maybe it is the salesman in me but mostly it is the fact that in elementary school and middle school I was a straight A student. I'm a chronic procrastinator and in high school it bit me in the ass but I still had the reputation. I could, did, and do bullshit my way into and out of corners all day long. Throw in the occasional flash of brilliance and most people never see past the massive pile I've built around me. Sure my grades suffered because I couldn't pass tests but I never failed anything. I've never lied about my GPA or crappy SAT scores and when people hear them they either don't believe me or begin to question why I never tried harder because I "have the potential for so much more." But I can usually bullshit my way out of that corner. Sometime I feel like Costanza.

  2. I don't omit… I didn't necessarily used to ADmit, either.

    My standard reply used to be, "I've heard of him/her," when asked if I know "so-and-so." Of course, in some cases, I'd only "heard of" that person's name at the moment the question was asked. (Technically correct, but risky.)

    Now, I just say "no." Life's just too damn short. And that way I don't get caught in the follow-up questions… More importantly, it puts the other person in the position of having to justify their position on why that person is so hip. Sometimes they just give up… but sometimes you walk away armed with just enough information to put someone ELSE on the spot.

    "What, you've NEVER heard of so-and-so???"

    So tell the truth… if only for the entertainment value!

  3. I lie to avoid confrontation. New boyfriend asks me what I did today, I don't mention that old boyfriend called because I just don't want to have that conversation. In a deep debate with someone who is clearly only able to see their own side, I say, "I see your point." even when I don't… because I don't want to explain why I feel differently.

  4. In my teens, I always had the tendency to paint a rosy glow around my home life, perfect family ABC after school special, et cetera ad naseum. I wanted to be the star soccer player, but ended up on the bench more often than not. I wanted to be the quintessentially unfettered, uncaring blithely content teenager, but had too keen a cognizance of my life to ever really buy into the myth. Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was, and wish I only had the problems now that I believed I had then. Now when I'm asked about it, I lie and pretend I was that unfettered youth, that everything was great. And I'm a little ashamed of it, but not enough to stop.

  5. Why say Columbia University and not Barnard College??? Barnard rocks!

  6. After reading this post, all I can think about is Jim Carey in Liar Liar. The part in the courtroom was hilarious.

  7. What's your real name? Michelle
    How old are you? Always 21.
    Do you really find me attractive or is it just the money? Go figure…
    I bet no guy has ever offered to give you a lapdance before… Oh no, never ever.
    Have you ever felt anything so fucking hard in your life?
    Still thinking of the best non-obvious put down for this last little gem.

  8. What's your real name? Michelle
    How old are you? Always 21.
    Do you really find me attractive or is it just the money? Go figure…
    I bet no guy has ever offered to give you a lapdance before… Oh no, never ever.
    Have you felt anything this fucking hard in your life?

    Still thinking of the best non-obvious put down for this last little gem.

  9. Can't go without lying, it's for social survival and success, I think.

    Oh, and I love your honesty, we lie all the time to get what we want and just gloss things over, it's not a virtue, but not a sin in moderation

  10. I lie by ommission, but I very rarely actively lie. It's part of my nature to be basically honest, but I've learnt a certain degree of diplomacy over the years – how to be truthful without being hurtful by picking your words very carefully – it's not really lying, but it definitely involves not telling the whole truth.

    I think that a certain degree of lying is necessary to function in society. Overly honest people are not pleasant to be around – they tell you that yes, your arse does look fat in that. They don't hold back from saying the bitchy comments that the rest of us just think. And so they don't make friends, or they lose them as quickly as they make them. People who will tell you the truth, but in a less confronting way than telling you the whole truth are those you want to keep as true friends.

    I lie to protect myself or others from hurt.

    I am truthful about my feelings or reactions on my blog, but I'm generally cagey about the facts they're based on to protect my identity. I sometimes change them slightly or combine events to actively cloud the identities of the people I'm talking about.

    – OLS

  11. I could definitely go for a week without lying… well, as long as I didn't have to answer anyone's questions.
    I very rarely tell true lies, as I am a terrible liar. But I am a liar by omission or partial omission, and almost always do so only to protect the feelings of others. The whole civility thing.

  12. I don't think that white lies count the same as big lies. That might be elementary thinking, but it's true. I go for months without telling big lies…but I couldn't go a day without telling a white lie. Hell, I am a lawyer after all.

  13. I lie to protect my privacy. Sometimes it's easier to say "fine," "great," or "I don't remember," than it is to say "none of your damn business".

  14. I don't comment on your blog often. Mainly because I feel I'm not intelligent enough and I'll be embarrassed.

    I would think that the majority are like you. I know I am. People who know oodles of trivia, quiz people on which books they've read and know all the details (names, dates, etc.) of "what's going on in the world" are obnoxious and boring.

    I'd much rather discuss a chick flick than current events.

  15. I think it depends on my audience and the amount of energy I have at any given moment for a possible confrontation. For exemple, if I disagree with someone or if I have an idea that may help someone, but which they may not like, and it's a person that I don't know very well or don't really care about too much, I'll probably let it go. Then again, even if the person is a friend, if I'm too tired to argue with the person or just not in the mood for it, I'll also probably not mention anything.

    Sometimes I'll lie just to keep the conversaton going. Like someone wants to explain something to you by reference to the movie, and they'll ask – you know that one, and I'll just say yes to keep the person talking because if I say no they will get a deer in the headlights look and not know how to explain it.

    I also forget people's names a lot, but don't tell them because I don't want them to think I don't care. I simply have a terrible memory when it comes to names.

    Eh, I'm sure there's more, but this is all I have the energy to talk about right now.

  16. Is lying alway a bad thing? I'm not sure that it is. Sometimes we lie to other people because they may not be able to handle the truth, or we don't want to hurt them with the true, and I don't think that is entirely wrong. Sometimes we lie to ourselves because we can't handle the truth. If we create our own realities then do we ever really lie to ourselves? I don't know.

    As far as intelligence goes, what good is a high IQ if you are unable to articulate your knowledge verbally or on paper? And intelligence is much more than trivia or facts, I think the best kind of intelligence to have or develop is what I would call life or emotional intelligence. You seemed to have keenly honed that skill.

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