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Lie o' da week!




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Once, when we were very little (oh they all start out like that, don't they?) my sister and I were upstairs in our bedroom speculating about what my parents were thinking, sleeping in so late on a Sunday.  We were bored, we wanted them to get up, feed us, amuse us, something.  Or maybe we were just curious about the closed door and the instructions not to bother mommy and daddy for a while. 

    My sister sent me downstairs to find out what they were doing.  It was my role to play the "spy".  I went down but couldn't find a good way to sneak into their room.  Every time I even got near the door, they would hear me and say "Go away!"

I'm not sure why I did what I did next.  Maybe it was so that I wouldn't go back empty handed, then I would be a worthless spy.  Maybe I thought it would be funny, that she wouldn't believe me. 

    I noticed on one of my passes through the kitchen that there was a pair of shoes sitting right out in the middle of the floor.  Not kicked apart, like they had been idly discarded there.  They looked very neat and well placed, they had Presence. 

    I ran back upstairs, yelling and screaming, "Oh my god Amy!  Something awful happened to Mom and Dad!" 

You know that voice a six year old uses when they don't think they should believe you,  they are old enough to know better?  When they don't want to believe you, but they do anyhow?  "Noooooo" with that unsure edge?  I heard her say this, and I realized she actually might believe me.

    I let her calm me down a little and pry me for details for a few minutes before I told her in a shaking, hoarse whisper, "They've been turned into Shoes!"

    I offered to show her.   We went down, and I there were the shoes, still standing out in the middle of the kitchen.  I picked one up, and said, "Look!  The Proof!  They have eyes, but they can't see!  And tongues, but they can't talk! 

My sister finallly stopped screaming when my parents came out of the bedroom. 

I do feel bad about this, but I can't say that it stopped me from spinning elaborate lies for her in the future.  See "The Weight Loss Tapes Lie"






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I never have gone on a diet.  I'm not sure why, but I think it might be because I witnessed my mother and my sister acting very foolish about these unhealthy starvation rituals.  Once every few months, one of them would find some new diet and/or weight loss aid.  Then they would huddle together and create a list of the necessary special diet items, and someone would go fetch these items.  A menu would be placed on the refridgerator. 

Day One: 

Breakfast:    One half slice of toast, dry.  A wedge of grapefruit. 

Lunch:         Look at a paper bag and imagine you feel full.

Snack:        One tic tac.

Dinner:        One ounce cabbage soup and One Slim-n'-Skinny shake, Any Flavor!!!


    One time, they happened upon a weight loss tape.  When they played it for me, all I heard was the sound of waves.  And an occasional seagull.  They told me that there were subliminal messages in the recording, under the sound of the ocean, that would help you loose weight.  "Really?"  I asked.  "What do they say?" 

No one knew.  We looked at the cassette insert,  but it didn't give the text of the messages. 

"Ah, it's probably some guy saying 'I like me for who I am.  I am a wonderful person and with each wonderful thought I think, I can feel pounds melting away..." I said.  They agreed, but still listened to it nightly.  I dropped it for the time. 

    A little while later, maybe a week, my sister and I were making cookies.  We had stayed up late to finish the last of the double batch of chocolate chips.  "So much for the weight loss tapes"  said my sister, eating a fresh, warm cookie. 

    "Yeah, that didn't seem to help much, did it?  I wonder if they are saying something else on those.  I mean, for all we know, they could be telling you to eat more." I said.

    She agreed, and we began to speculate about what might be the content of these hidden messages.  "Maybe they are telling you to play with your food.."  I suggested.  She paused and laughing a little told me,  "Actually, I kind of had the urge to squish these chocolate chips, you know?"

    It happened again.  I just knew I could have her if I wanted.  "Oh god, I know what you mean!  But not with your hands, with your toes!"

She looked at me kind of funny for a second, and then said "Yeah, actually, now that you mention it, I can picture it would feel....Holy shit!" 

I knew I had her hooked now.  "And you know what?  Tonight at dinner, I had this wicked strong urge to take off my shoes and step in my peas..."  She nodded her head vigorously in agreement with me.  Now for some fun.  I told her, "Go ask Mom!"

"Go ask her what?" She said. 

"It might be the tape!"  I made myself sound concerned now.  "She's been listening to it more than we have.  In the car even!  Go ask Mom if she has had an urge to put her feet in her food!"

    My sister ran into the bedroom where my mother had been reading, relaxing to the soothing sounds of waves.  The tape stopped.  I heard my sister asking my mother "Mom!  Mom!  Have you been having urges to put your feet in your food?"  I was laughing so hard, I only heard half of her explanation, but I know it involved an elaborate description of how she imagined the warm chocolate chips would feel squishing between her toes. 

    She knows I messed with her.  She and my mother came out, and found me laughing so hard I was weeping.  Thank god she is a good sport. 


Lies o' da week!

Alice was six and didn't believe her mother would turn her into the police...


Mom Lied And So Did We



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My mother told me so many lies (she still does), that I learned early on not to believe anything unless I had seen it with my own eyes.  I am still astounded when I catch her in a lie (I am almost forty).  She was given a handbook sometime, somewhere that mothers must be able to answer everything.  Interestingly enough, even though my father was a fairly truthful person, he was branded by my mother and her family as a"pathological liar". 

I think the seminal moment for me regarding my mother's lies came at the tender age of six.  Though I was often aware of remembering things quite differently, I was always shushed with a "you're too young to remember, you just think you know that "or some other equally reality destroying phrase.  I wonder how many of us grew up questioining our own experiences and second guessing ourselves after being subjected to this kind of treatment. 

However, the lie that brought it all down was this: my mother had purchased from her Avon lady, a pair of minature hurricane lamps, about 3 or 4 inches high.  They were genuine imitation copper and they had real  string wicks that you could raise by turning a real knob.  They had yellow glass chimneys, and were as useless as any knick-knack in the 60's.  They were totally enchanting to my brother and I and we couldn't take our eyes off them.  My mother, gracious and progressive parent that she was, allowed us to each handle one for a split second after she took them from their tiny cardboard boxes. 

"Okay, now you've seen them" she said, as she polished our nasty little finger smears off their genuine imitation copper sides, "Now that you've seen them, I'm going to tell you something important, DON'T TOUCH THEM!  These are mine and god knows I never get anything nice.  You kids are not to touch these, ever.  Do you see this?"  She showed us the honest-to-god real cranks on each of the lamps.  The round knobs had scalloped edges.  I looked down at the picture on the box; a warm fire in a small cozy house, two small hurricane lamps lit on a mantle, a little golden halo of light surrounding each one.  

"Are you going to light them ?"  my younger brother asked.  He was looking down at the box in his hand.

"No, of course I'm not going to light them.  They're for show, only. but I am going to show you something-- see this? " Again,she pointed us to the tiny little knobs connected to a slender stem that disappeared inside the body of the lamp.  "You are never to turn this, NEVER.  Do you understand, NEV-VER.  If you do, the wicks will come out and they will be ruined because they are so small we will never be able to get them back in.  If the wicks come out of these, they are trash."

"What's a wick?" I asked 

"A wick is something that you light; like on a candle"

"You mean this string here?"

"Don't touch that!!!"

At some point, my mother put the lamps down and left the room.  My brother and I immediately each grabbed a lamp and twisted the cranks until the wicks were hanging out of the tops of the cute little yellow chimneys, like the tongues of a pair of overexerted puppies.  We tried to twist them back, but true to our mother's prophecy, the wicks would not go back into the lamp bases.  Without consulting one another we replaced the lamps carefully on their shelves and quietly went out ot play. 

That evening, after dinner, we heard my mother gasp, then roar as she gave each of us our full names, stretching the syllables out and ending on high"C".  The whole opera was followed by "you come in here this instant!". 

We entered the living room, puzzled, until we saw her standing over the two little exhausted lamps, in full rage, a a not unimpressive sight, as she weighed in at least 250 pounds.  I still don't remember anything about getting from  the doorway to her side, maybe her incredible anger sucked me to my place right in front of her.  As the oldest, I was first to be interogated:

"Did you do this?"

Nothing.  I wasn't about to take the rap for both of us. 

Turning on my brother, who was gaping at the lamps as if he had never seen them before she changed tactics:

"Do you know who did this? Answer me!  I want to know who did this and if you don't tell me it will be worse than if you do!" Uh-huh, mom, you bet.  Standing in front of my mother and her threats, I suddenly felt powerful.  I didn't have to say anything.  She must have caught this whiff of rebellion as she continued to ask us each in turn who had done the evil deed; it was so far away I couldn't even remember, anymore. 

Trying a different tack, she began to talk to us about honor and truth and how important it was to take responsibility for our actions.  Still nothing.  I fought the urge to confess, thinking about my Brownie promises.  I was on the verge of throwing myself on the mercy of my mother visions of forgiveness and halos dimly dancing around the little lambs frolicking in the sunlit fields when something she was saying slammed me into the drafty, ill-lit living room.

"If you kids, don't tell me RIGHT NOW, who did this I am going to call the police and have them take you down to the station and give you a lie-detector test!!!"  This delivered at full volume.  I congratulated myself for not breaking down as the thought of the LAPD breaking down the door and dragging me off to jail to live on crusts of bread and water. 

"You better tell me or the police will come and get you and they'll lock you up and once they get you I can't do anything about it! Did you hear me, I'm going to call the police right now!"  We watched as she searched through the phone book and then dialed the phone.  My brother nudged me-- she had her thumb casually draped over the hook. 

"You're not really calling the police!" My brother was brave, "You have your hand on the hangup thingy."

Without a word she turned, yanked us into the air, in turn, walloped us and put us in our beds. 

The next day, the lamps were in their usual place, wicks intact as if nothing had ever happened.  And of course, none of this ever happened, we were too young to remember: just ask my mother.


This week's lie reminds us that a lie detector for the home is a good investment.


An Innocent "Lie"

Rich Bergeron

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There is no shortage of stubborn fathers, and mine is definitely one of the classics. For my Dad, admitting a mistake or a false accusation is like swallowing a whole bottle of Cod Liver Oil.

Along with Dad's obstinate ways, I also had to deal with his constant frustration due to missing tools he cursed me for losing, even when I never touched them.   If something was gone, broken, or out of control, I was the one who had to face his wrath.  When he yelled, the whole house shook, and when he called my name in a fit of anger, I approached his domain with extreme caution.

His favorite chastising sayings were gems like, "You're USELESS," old standbys like "Jesus Christ," and the ever popular question, "Can't you do anything right?" However, it was not these signs of paternal rage that I feared most. No, it was that call I would get, that bellow from his giant lungs that pronounced my name in a way that could only mean I'd done something wrong, horribly wrong.

One dark night I was ripped from a deep slumber by such a mind-numbing yell.

He called me down from my room and forced me to stare at an apple that had been absolutely mauled by a writing instrument and replaced in the refrigerator for safekeeping by some young culprit. My two sisters stood in shocked fear as he asked me sternly if I had punctured the fruit so mercilessly.

"No, Dad, I didn't touch it," I stammered.

"Well, then who did!? Your sisters say they didn't do it, it must have been you!" He extended his arm and showed the cratered apple to me as if it would jog my memory and force me to recall my unforgivable act.

I was at a loss for words, for the apple he was thrusting my way had not been a victim of my senseless cruelty. It was one of my sisters for sure, and they were too scared to tell. I wasn't one to point fingers or make up stories to the tune of a burglar coming in and performing the intricate mutilation. I just stood there and pleaded, stupidly at that, "But, Dad, I didn't do it, I swear."

Then he spoke the words I would never forget: "Maryjane, go get the lie detector." The next thing I remember is crawling under the kitchen table to plug in the contraption my father had bought out of a police catalog somewhere, a simple hunk of machinery that he was convinced was supposed to be able to reach into your brain and prove that you were a no good, dishonest hooligan.

I was strapped to this pulsing set of wires and made to sit in a kitchen chair to await the flip of a switch that would seal my fate. My sister Maryjane stood by silently, right up to the moment my Dad was ready to turn the thing on. Then, just as I was about to deposit some solid waste in my pull-ups, Maryjane stepped forward.

"Dad, it was me," she confessed. I was saved, and he was... embarrassed? I couldn't believe it. My father stood before me in a state of total confusion.

He looked at her and then back at me, puzzled. I was absolved, and he apologized. I couldn't help smiling as I plodded off to bed. As I approached the steps to my room, I contemplated the thought of what might have been if that switch had been thrown. My smile disappeared as he berated my sister, and I felt sorry for her, even though she was one step away from letting me take the blame.

To this day, that is the only time my father's ever admitted he was wrong. I will always remember it as a defining moment in my life when my father shook off his stubborn tendencies and allowed himself to be humbled. It was a great day for my family, even for Maryjane who was the victim of his final tantrum.

We had seen our father admit a mistake, something many fathers never do,something sacred in the life of a boy who longs for one chance to vindicate himself from a supposed "lie." Although it is a day my Dad would love to forget, I remind him every now and then and smile, hoping one day I might get the chance to see something like that again. I know, fat chance, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.


This lie reminds us to be very careful about the "friends" we make on-line!


from: Tink

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This lie is from a friend of mine who told me she was dead. It was an online friendship. We used to get on the Internet Relay Chat and five or six of us would just talk. It was really fun. And "fiery_angel" and I became really good friends. Or at least I thought we did.

One night a new girl came into the IRC channel that "fiery_angel" and all the rest of us chat in. She called herself "angel" and she told us that she was "fiery_angel's" sister. Then she proceeded to tell us that "fiery_angel" was in the hospital in critical condition. There was a terrible infection, a botched lab test. "fiery_angel' wasn't expected to make it through the night.

All of her friends on the net became panicked! E-mails were flying frantically as we tried to learn more of what was happening with "fiery_angel." We wanted to know what hospital she was in. How we could help her family.

Later that evening I received a phone call from "angel." She said, "I just want to let you know that "fiery_angel" died this afternoon." More e-mail raced across the net as all of her friends suffered this loss.

I just broke down. "fiery_angel" and I had been friends for two years. I was grief stricken. I was going crazy. I couldn't cope. I left online and called another friend of "fiery_angel's." This friend told me that she had been trying to find out where the memorial services were going to be but she couldn't. She couldn't even find out what hospital "fiery_angel" had died in. She and fiery lived in the same area and had met in person. It was very strange that she couldn't find anything more about what had happened.

The next day I sent flowers and a sympathy card to fiery's family. That night her "sister" came on-line again and thanked me for them. But she wouldn't tell us any more about the memorial services.

Two days of making phone calls and searching through newspapers proved fruitless. We couldn't find out anymore about our friend who had died. Finally one of our friends figured it out: it was a hoax. A lie!

No one could get through on the phone to fiery's home. For days all we got was her answering machine. When one of us finally got though she just lied more to cover it up. Something about "our house sitter did it." Just more lies.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across a web page made by "fiery_angel" A really good page that proclaimed to be owned by "snow_angel" But I know fiery and I knew it was her page. I signed the guest book : "I am so glad to see you alive and well."

I told another friend and she too went and signed the guest book, adding, "Hope you enjoyed the flowers Tink sent."

The web page disappeared a day or two after that. We haven't heard from her since.


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Peeing In The Bathtub Lie
from: Alan Gould

when i was six i used to pee in the bathtub while taking a bath.   my mother noticed it and said, that if i continued to do that i would have kinky hair.  well, i kept doing it, and sure enough i grew up with kinky hair.  was this a lie? - i don't know.  anyway, now that i'm getting bald, i may try it again.

This week's featured lie is certainly the fiction that tells the truth:

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The Un-Lie
from: Barry

A man and his secretary decide to have an affair, so they rent a hotel and have wild sex all afternoon.  Exhausted, they fall asleep and don't wake up until 8:30 that night.

They have sex again and the man suddenly realizes the time.  He says to his secretary, "take my shoes outside while I get dressed and drag them through the grass and mud."  Puzzled, the secretary complies.

When the man gets home that night, his wife confronts him and demands to know where he has been.  The man says, "After all of our years together, I can't lie to you.   I spent the day making love to my secretary, fell asleep, just woke up and came straight home."  His wife looks down at his shoes and says, "you lying bastard, you've been playing golf again, haven't you!"


This week's featured lie comes from the highest levels of the federal government.

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I never rubbed a chub.  -- Raving Lunatic


This week's featured lie, surprisingly, comes from a CEO involved with the tobacco industry.  Fancy that.


Addictive Lie
From: Nick Brookes
Chairman and CEO, Brown And Williamson Tobacco Co.

"I wouldn't personally, in a serious debate about smoking, label tobacco as addictive."




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