It’s not that I mean to get one over on somebody when I lie.
Mostly I’m just antisocial, impatient, and eager to stay out of trouble (you know, CRAZY). And sometimes that means saying the first thing that pops into my mind as being the easy way out. By telling a lie. A small lie. But a lie nonetheless.
I’m not a bad person.
So when I told this particular lie, you should know I didn’t intend malice or cruelty toward anyone. Truly, I didn’t even think about my answer. Who knew that saying, “yeah”, instead of, “no”, could get you into so much trouble?
“When we practice to deceive, what a tangled web we weave.”
Well of course everyone knows trouble follows when you utter untruths that spin out of control. It’s just that I think we assume this moral applies less to normal, boring people like *ME* than to criminal-types. Or those meanie-pants kids who used to steal the cool pencils out of my desk. Or those people who lie about late fees at the brick and mortar Blockbusters of yore.
Here’s how my lie went down.
I was shopping at my local grocery store, and as I approached the register I realized that somehow during my last purse swap I must have misplaced my loyal-customer-reward-card-thing — you know, the one that gets you so many dollars off, or adds so many points you can trade in for calling cards and vacations and cruises and other services you’ll never use. THAT loyalty-card-thing. So when it was my turn to pay, and the cashier asked if I had my card with me, my answer was, “No.”
(Hint: That is not the bit where I told a lie.)
I thought it would end there.
Or no, that’s not true. See? I just told another lie just then. I can’t seem to help myself. Totally chronic.
Anyway, I thought the cashier would ask for my phone number so she could look up my profile. Sometimes retailers do that sort of thing, but usually I can’t remember what phone number I registered under since it’s changed so many times over the course of my life.
And I thought this:
When she asks me for my phone number, I’m just gonna skip all that cuz my ice cream Snickers are melting and I just don’t care enough to worry about it.
But oh my goodness.
She didn’t ask for my phone number. What she DID ask was, “Did you just move here?”
(Hint: This is where I begin to tell a lie.)
It was a tough moment.
I know NOW what I should have done. But hind sight wasn’t with me. Only present (I don’t want my ice cream Snickers to melt) sight was with me. And I’ll repeat here, I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody when the lie slowly ribboned out of my mouth,
“Yeah. Yeah I did just move here.”
My spur-of-the-moment thought process was this:
If I lie and say yes, she’ll offer me a new card, and that way I’ll still get the points or discounts or whatever. I can pay and leave.
But If I say no, then I have to explain myself.
I have to tell her that I left it at home or lost it, and that no I don’t remember my crapping phone number. Then I will have to tell her WHY I don’t remember my crapping number. And when I say I’ve moved around a lot, she’ll ask me where I’m from, which I can never answer correctly since I’m not really FROM anywhere, and that won’t be good enough because then she’ll ask me where I was born like THAT’S gonna clear up the matter, and then when I say Germany she’ll freak and ask if I SPEAK German or if I AM German or if VISIT the Germans.
(Yes, I’ve been through this multiple times.
No, I’m not answering those questions right now.
You’d only be disappointed. Trust. This is no lie.)
So all that flashed through my mind, how difficult it would be to “just say no”. And I did the easy thing instead. The wrong thing. The terribly horribly rotten thing.
I told a lie.
And here is an example, prime even, of why you should never, ever tell a lie, even if you think it won’t really matter in the long run. That girl fucking GRILLED me, hardcore!
Her: Where did you move here from?
Me: Where did I move here from? Oh, um, all over. Yeah, Pennsylvania. What’s my total then? ← LIE
Her: Oh really? How’d you like it?
[Then she turned to the bagger:
Can you price check these lemons? They aren’t coming up on my screen.
The bagger left and I, the big fat hog liar, was stuck with Miss Question USA.]
Me: Um, it was fine. ← LIE
[What was taking that bagger so long to find the fucking lemons?]
Her: So is your family military?
Me: Yep. My family is military. ← LIE
Her: Really? What branch? Is your husband stationed at Wright Patt?
She looked at me all hurt, and suspicious, and confused. She looked at me, fwends, as though I had just told her a Big, Fat LIE.
And I don’t even fucking blame her.
BUT THERE WAS ICE CREAM MELTING, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!
I thought about forgetting the groceries and making a run for it at that point. But I really, really wanted to eat one of those Snickers. Then I thought about dumping the lie and coming clean, but that seemed too difficult.
So then I told another lie.
I pretended my phone was ringing. And I had a pretend conversation with my military husband, who isn’t really military at all, and assured him I was bringing his ice cream Snickers as quickly as possible but there was a SNAFU with the lemons.
The cashier quickly totaled my order,
I paid, and I hightailed it out of there. I haven’t been back to the grocery store since. Not even for batteries.
I’d like to say this is the only time I’ve bamboozled myself by telling a lie over something stupid.
But sadly, it is not. I have done this many, many times and should be an expert by now. Just last month I told a lie to my mother about whether or not I had installed the shower cleaning device she’d purchased for me.
She just kept asking me about it OVER and OVER again,
every time we spoke, and my mouth finally just said “YES” without even consulting my brain. I think my lips take over the reigns sometimes because they know my thinking process is jammed up and needs help. And clearly a lie is the only thing my lips can come up with.
My sister totally called me on it later:
“You have not installed the cleaner thing yet, have you?”
No I haven’t. And why? Because it needs fucking batteries, and I just haven’t gotten around to buying them yet. But at least I have my ice cream!
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