How To Tell Lies
They are the slivers that get under our skin and make our lives just that little bit more interesting. Lies. We have told them. Some have been told to us.
This book is about them and how to tell them. I think it is a somewhat superfluous book we all seem to born excellent tellers of lies.
Take me for instance. A damn liar. A born liar. And chances are, if you are holding this book, you also know that I am a geek with a website called www.liespeopletell.com I am obsessed with lies. I have been told them all my life and I have told them for a great deal of my life. Working with the hundreds of lies that have come through Lies People Tell has helped me try to tone down the lying a little bit.
But I have also learned a lot about lying and about how to tell lies. And what I have learned is this: practice makes perfect.
Lying is always about getting what you need. We never lie for no reason. Many people get caught in a lie because they DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY NEED. This is the primary question that you need to ask yourself: What do I need?
The mistake is to ask yourself: Why do I need to tell this lie? For this second question there are a thousand answers and none which will help you create a perfect lie.
Lets first look at the wrong question: Why do you need to tell this lie?
"Well, shoot, it feels good to get one over on some mean person that I hate!"
"They lied to me, first!"
"Who cares what they think?"
"They are a worthless little toad and I can say anything I want to them!"
Your own brain will classify the above answers as they strike you. I call them grudge answers.
Youd be surprised how many people tell lies out of resentments and grudges. This is a big mistake. If you are telling a lie in response to a grudge you have forgotten the END GAME. The end game in any lying situation is to be believed.
Do not squander the end game just to strike back.
The lie will fail.
If youve take the time to write out some of your "grudge responses" you may be saving yourself some trouble later on down the road when you actually want a lie to succeed.
Were going to have to slow down here. Knowing what you need is perhaps the most difficult thing to learn about lying. To actually get a sense for some element of this Im going to have to drive us into a new chapter, but just because the following chapter is called Lovers Lies does not mean that you can skip it if you have no trouble with lying to your lover. Looking at some of the very confused liars whose stories were going to read in the Lovers Lies chapter will help us come to a clearer understanding of what our own needs are in any given lying situation.
Knowing What You Need
So this is it. This is what weve all been waiting for: A lover. For some reason, and you'll have to figure this out for yourself, one never seems to be quite enough. Okay, dont slam the book. Maybe you have never lusted for another while you have been with the Perfect One, or maybe your morals have been impeccable since birth. Wait a second: you have actually paid money for a manual on how to lie, chances are very good that your morals have not been impeccable since birth. But were not here trying to understand what your morals are like. Were here to give you a better sense of what you need so that when the time comes to start formulating your foolproof lies you will be on sound footing.
Liars tend to stumble a lot and my job here is to give you some guidelines for how not to trip over your own two feet. Liars have to be nimble and quick thinkers. Im going to get into all of these specifics later in the book but right now we are just concentrating on knowing what you need. Okay, so what the heck do you need? Well, only you really know, right? Well, yes and no.
The need for emotional security, financial security, companionship and sex seem almost universal. Looking at the hundreds of lies sent into www.liespeopletell.com we can see that most of them seem somewhat motivated by a desire to satisfy one of these needs. I hate to get into this kind of preachy crap. It takes the fun out of the Lies People Tell. Thats why you dont see this manuscript cluttering up the pages of my beloved website. [ON-LINE note: That was true in the beginning but it occurred to me I may be able to sell more copies of the book if I share some of it here.] But if you are serious about becoming a better liar, you have to look very closely at what your real and actual needs are.
And think of this: when in our culture does someone sit you down and ask you, "So, what do you need?" I mean, it happens occasionally but by and large we arent really taught to ask this question: What do I need?
How many were asked as children: "So, what are you going to be when you grow up?" I am guilty of asking it, and I know I was asked it hundreds of times. I remember I used to get a picture in my head of a fireman, doctor, or lawyer. Nothing seemed real about these pictures. They were the stiff, almost florescent images from school books. There was no reality to them. Why? Because I was never asked to take into consideration my own needs with regards to this larger issue of what was I going to be.
Wait a second, you might be thinking, what is this career counseling digression doing in this manual on lying? Well, it has to do with the big picture. When I ask you to get a sense of what you need Im not just thinking in terms of immediate needs gratification. Remember, if you want a lie to succeed you must know what your needs are. Weve never been taught how to assess our own needs. Most of us have only ever been taught to feel an impulse, usually an instinctual impulse, and respond to it. This causes no end to problems. Take this poem that was sent in towww.liespeopletell.com as an example:LIKE A STROBE LIGHT
Theres a strange restlessness
that comes with being somewhere
you dont want to be,
with people you dont want to be with,
away from the one person you do want to be with.
The only one person you do want to be with.
Thats a problem.
We all want to fuck so much,
all the time.
Sex flashes across our consciences
like a stobe light,
slowing everything else down
so that all you can see is the sex.
But you cant fuck.
There is a strange thing about
you are not in love with
when there is someone
you are in love with.
Youve probably done it.
Its a sick feeling. You wake up,
maybe not even the next day,
but one day you find
youve got a sick feeling stuck
like you just held a fat rat in your hand
and squeezed its guts
right into your mouth,
swallowed and did it again.
So you dont fuck.
There are people to fuck but you dont.
Youre in love.
You stay away from that sickness,
you stay away from that fucking.
Or you fuck, and you force yourself
to fall in love
so that you dont get the old rat guts.
You tell your betrayed sweetheart,
"Im in love with another woman."
The end. Its never the end.
You arent in love with the second one.
It was only a game to keep you away
from the rat guts.
Youll have to eat them anyway.
Number two will fuck some Y variable
and you will eat those same rat guts
from the sickness of betrayal.
You made number one
eat those same rat guts.
Stay away from number two.
Talk to Mr. Hand, he knows
what youre going through,
Okay, sorry about the F words in there. If you are a kid reading this book, please go wash your mouth out with soap. Oh wait a second, a kid could not possibly be reading this book, they are the best liars on the planet and they do not need any help.
So, what does the poem "LIKE A STROBE LIGHT" teach us about understanding our needs? Well, the author seems to be very in touch with his needs for sex. It is an incredibly common need. Seems like most people with genitals have a need to use them for sex. I know I do.
So the poet/liar has followed the first step to creating a good lie: know what you need: "We all want to fuck so much, so often, all the time." (Oops theres that darn word again, sheesh awful poem.)
But his is a cautionary tale. He seems to be saying that if you have a girlfriend, partner, wife, whatever, and you have sex with another woman that you might regret it later:
"You wake up, maybe not even the next day, but
one day you find youve got a sick feeling
stuck down inside,"
So the question is: what in the hell is this sick feeling he is talking about? If youve ever participated in some extra curricular nookie, you know what the poet is talking about. If you havent, Ill tell you. It just feels gross to be doing it with people youre not in love with. This might be one of those lessons that youll have to learn on your own. And its even worse if you have a partner that you love. This gross feeling just comes over you I wouldnt have called it "old rat guts" myself but "the poets eye obscenely sees" and he has come very close to what this feeling actually feels like.
And while he may not have even known himself why that feeling came up for him, we can guess that it may have been that his desire to satisfy his immediate sex need overwhelmed his long term desire for companionship. There he was pumping and grunting away real horrorshow, satisfying his immediate need for sex and ignoring that a long term need of his was being thrown out of balance. In the push for ejaculatory release, our poet hero had placed his need for companionship into jeopardy.
Many do this and many of you have come to this book looking for a way to be able to have your cake and eat it, too. Or more directly, have sex with your partner and another semi-partner. Many of you are looking for the way to lie your way out of some of these sticky situations. My first advice for you here is to not get caught in the first place.
But let us look at our liar/teacher here. What advice does he give in the poem "LIKE A STROBE LIGHT?" He seems to come to the conclusion that if you are engaging in a dalliance with some other lover, you may end up being hurt. The poets advice is simple: "Talk to Mr. Hand, he knows what youre going through, really, he does."
Lies People Tell was graced with another example of learning to clarify needs so that a lie could succeed. His is example is somewhat lengthy and engrossing. (Its also a little gross lots of blood some of you may like that others may want to just think of it as fruit punch or something.) Now the thing is you did not read the following on the pages of the website. I had no way to verify if the following ever actually happened and refused to publish it on the site. But the story can be a very useful part of this manual because it is an excellent example of a liar who was not clear about his REAL NEEDS. One thing that I noticed as I read through this story was that it almost seemed too well written to be true. Do not let that put you off. Sometimes people who happen to write well can actually be telling the truth. Rarely, but it happens. And I tend to believe someone when they let me know that they are lying to begin with. I have just let slip one of the fine gems that you will learn about later in this book: the art of confessing to one lie so that a larger one will be believed. But let us not go there right now. Let us stay with the issue at hand as difficult as it might be:
As you read his story, try to notice where this poor liar goes wrong.
When Gena, my wife, threw the cat at me I was so shocked I just stood there. A hip James Bond type might have known to duck, tuck and roll, or a Bruce Lee, David Carradine might have given the cat a round-house kick into the next yard, but me, I just stood there, anxiously reconsidering old notions of spousal abuse and cruelty to animals.
I was clearly the animal in question. Gena had no intention of hurting the cat. Actually, in moments of intense feline admiration, Gena had often mentioned that cats, pound for pound, are among the most dangerous animals on the earth, next to badgers and wolverines. I had no idea that these musings were prefatory to such an act as this.
When Madrid, our cat, hit me she was in utter terror. With every needle claw extended she tried to adhere to all available surfaces.
Gena knew what happened before I did. The look on her face fell from rage to surprise. She screamed. I looked at the cat, fully expecting to see Madrid lying on the cement in a twisted wreckage. She was not. She was licking the tousled fur just above her shoulder.
My right hand instinctively shot up to my neck and was applying pressure. But I did not know what happened until I saw my favorite green striped T-shirt turn a deep iron-rich red at the shoulder.
I gagged. There was really too much blood. I looked up at her, "Gena, if I die I want you to know that I am very sorry for whatever I did that caused you to do this."
"Listen, you're not going to die! But what the hell is this?" She picked up a large, opened manila envelope. I knew immediately what it was. I could see the large red RETURN TO SENDER stamp. My handwriting, my return address and my ex-girlfriend's present address. I could feel a constant pulse of warmth sneaking out between my fingers. I had been caught. First things first.
"It's just a psychology paper I wrote. It was about dysfunctional relationships and I happen to take all my examples from my time with Rebecca." This was true. What I omitted was my well concealed, burning desire to prostrate myself at Rebecca's feet to plead for forgiveness. Somehow I didn't think Gena would understand. "I'm sorry I sent it to her. If I had have known that sending it to her was going to cause you to kill me, I probably would have told you about it," I said.
"God, stop being crazy, you're not going to die. You know, I suppose I wouldn't be mad at you if you told me you were still thinking about her. Its a good paper." She ran back inside the house and brought me a chair and a tightly rolled up towel.
I thought about a lot of things that I never mentioned. My mother had died recently and though I thought about her daily, I didn't mention it. It was safer that way.
"Here," she pulled my hand away from my neck and jammed the towel over the wound. "Keep pressure there. Sit down."
"Too bad we can't use a tourniquet, huh?"
"Shut up. I'm going to call 911." She ran back inside the house.
I was sitting on a chair just a few feet from the front porch. I heard her whispering frantically into the phone, "I think he's bleeding to death. His shirt is completely soaked with blood!"
I glanced down. She was right. I heard her hang up the phone.
"The fact is that I don't really think of her that much." Lie. "Damn, I just found the paper in one of those boxes and I when I read it, I thought she should see it, so she could know that I finally figured out how fucked-up we were." And take me in a mad embrace.
Gena was behind me applying more even pressure over the wound. Every so often she stroked my head with a trembling hand. "Oh what, so she would think, wow, maybe he's grown, why don't I give him a call and see if he wants to do it."
"I got an 'A' on the paper." I said.
"Do you really want to get back with her?"
Rebecca had been six years of burning misery that I was sorry ended. I couldn't explain it.
"Good lord, baby, you know I'd die for you."
"You're not going to die. I think I hear a siren." She nervously scanned the street.
My head was getting lighter and my eyelids heavier. I started repeating in my mind, 'I'm going to be fine. I'm going to be fine.'
Two paramedics were suddenly kneeling next to me. There were two more standing directly behind them. The older one of the two standing behind began to speak, "The first thing you want to do is to make sure you have enough space to work in."
The two paramedics kneeling near me, obviously trainees, began to assess if the entire square foottage of the front yard was enough room to work in. I had been repeating 'I'm going to be fine' over and over in my head so many times, that even I did not think to worry that the paramedics sent to save me would be sweaty teenage trainees out on their first call.
Minutes passed while the trainees tenderly withdrew various objects and tools from some kind of huge tackle box they had set between them. Arms crossed at his chest, the head paramedic stood back and proudly surveyed his student's progress on their first field call. They were doing fine. I was feeling weaker by the second. I said to him, "No one has looked at my wound."
"Don't worry," he said. "It looks fine from here. That towel on your wound is perfectly white. I'd see a lot more evidence of bleeding if you were in any trouble." He was at least five feet away.
The very moment that the head paramedic finished saying that I was in no trouble, the entire towel turned bright red. Gena gasped. The head paramedic's eyes widened with surprise. "I need a multifaric trauma press and rig a saline multifarb I.V." He stepped forward and jerked the two trainees out of the way by their shoulders. They rolled back like bear cubs. He yelled into my face, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want to interrupt the lesson."
Two police cars arrived. A crowd was gathering. Finally, I was a side-show attraction in the circus of life.
Neck heavily bandaged by the multifaric trauma press, I was reclined in a gurney and speeding toward the bright red and white Los Angeles County paramedic's ambulance.
A policeman stopped the paramedics, then looked at me, "Your wife said she did this to you by throwing a cat at you. Do you want to press charges?"
"On her or the cat?" I groaned.
The cop looked at the paramedics, "Is he lucid?"
"No I don't want to press charges. It was an accident. A mistake."
Inside the ambulance, siren blaring, I saw the lead paramedic bark into a radio, "Possible case of gram negative septicemia, ready a gentamicin-timentin simultaneous drip."
"What's septicemia mean?" I asked.
"To you it means that a barrage a bacteria from cat poop is at this moment ready to give you an infection in your lungs, heart and brain. The cat got your jugular which is real close to all three. You definitely won't die from the bleeding. It's a possible infection that might kill you or give you brain damage. Septicemia." He sighed desolately, "Gooks used to put shit all over hidden stakes in the jungle. A G.I. would step on one, puncture the boot, get that shit right into the blood stream. Be dead or go crazy in a week if we couldn't treat it right away."
He readied a needle and was about to inject it into the I.V. "Please don't give me a sedative, I would like to remain..."
When I woke up Gena was there. I was in my very own semi--private hospital room. My roommate was an old guy, his left leg hung from some kind of chrome crane attached at the end of his bed; pins pierced through his leg in at least five places. I was hooked up to two tangled I.V.s and had what felt like a huge marshmallow attached to my throat. The smell of disinfectant was overwhelming. My mother had died in a room just like this only a few months before. As I woke up more and more it seemed identical to her's.
"Are we in Valley hospital?" I asked.
"Yes," Gena's face was red from tears and worry.
"Yeah," she closed her eyes.
"So," I asked, my jaw encumbered by the huge, soft white bandage billowing from my neck, "any infection?"
"No. Youre not going to die." She looked into my face and continued, "What made you get in touch with her? I mean, how could you?"
"You know what!" I wanted to shout but I could feel stitches pulling on my throat. "I don't know. I think about her sometimes."
"You miss her?" She sniffled.
"Gena, I married you. I made a mistake by sending that paper to her. I just made a mistake."
"Do you miss her?" She gave it more gravity than any other sentence I ever heard her say.
My hand brushed up against the bandage around my neck. I was lucky to be alive.
"No." I answered simply.
So, like you, I have no idea how much of the above is actually a true recollection of a real lie or not. But it works here because it teaches us several things about needs and lying...
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