I’m a terrible liar. The worst, really. Every time I try to tell a seemingly harmless white lie, I start sweating uncontrollably, turn bright purplish red, and my left eyelid starts twitching really fast. I also forget to breathe.
The last time I tried to lie was back in February. It went something like this:
Husband comes home. He’s hungry. “Hey honey, where did that box of truffles from Trader Joe’s go? I could have sworn the whole box was sitting right here on the counter.”
Me, happily recalling the sheer joy I felt when I ate ALL 45 TRUFFLES in one sitting while watching How Stella Got Her Groove Back the week before: “Oh weird. I don’t know! Haven’t seen them. Maybe they, you know, went away.”
Incredulous husband, with an eyebrow raised so high he looked like Jim Carey in Me, Myself and Irene: “Oh really? They just went away?”
Me, speaking, turning dark purple from that whole forgetting to breathe/lack of air thing: “Yes. The truffles walked away. [Deep breath. Perkily changing the subject]: What’d you eat for lunch today?!”
Husband: “Gen. Did you eat the truffles?”
Me, bending down pretending to tie my shoe. I was barefoot: “No! I don’t even like truffles.”
Husband, in a whisper: “You ate all the truffles, didn’t you?”
Me, starting to hyperventilate: “No!”
[Tearful screaming]: “OK! I ATE ALL THE TRUFFLES!”
So there was that. Then there was the other time I tried to play Mafia.
If you’ve never played Mafia before, it’s a fun dinner party game that exposes all of your friends as the lying, cheating bastards and potential axe murderers that they really are. In Mafia, there are two roles: innocent townspeople and dastardly members of the mafia, obviously. Throughout the game, the townspeople are supposed to identify the mafia based on any suspicious behavior, and then eliminate them from the game before the mafia kills them first. It’s a sick game based on lies and deceit.
It’s super fun.
During a rousing game of Mafia a few years back, I was unlucky enough to get chosen as the mafia for that round. Most people like being the mafia – they start scheming – thinking of elaborate, convincing lies they can tell to convince the group that they’re innocent. They get to pretend they’re the criminal defense lawyer on Law and Order SVU.
On the contrary, I was horrified when I glanced down at my mafia card, and subsequently started to pretend that I was invisible by hiding in a corner. I didn’t say a word for 35 minutes while everyone around me accused each other of being the mafia, screaming and pointing way, WAY too aggressively.
Acting invisible paid off. I made it to the 2nd to last round, and it was just me and 2 other townspeople. They looked at me, and then at each other, and realized that I had been uncharacteristically quiet.
Townsperson: Holy crap. Gen, are you the mafia? Why haven’t you said anything this whole game?
This was my chance. My one chance to say ‘No, are you kidding me? There’s no way I’m the mafia because I had my chance to kill the cop off and I didn’t, and if I was the mafia, I would have already killed Bobby….and if I was the mafia, I wouldn’t have done xy and z…”
But instead, I covered my face with my hands and looked the other way. “I AM THE MAFIA!”
So that was the other time I tried to lie. It ended poorly.
In my 30 years, there has been only 1 time I’ve lied successfully. The year was 2000, and I was a sophomore at Lowell High School enrolled in Chemistry 1B. The stakes were high.
I was decent at chemistry up until week 6, when my brain decided that it no longer wanted to absorb information about chemicals and the periodic table and stuff. Every attempt to study ended up in an epic Pop Up Video or Dawson’s Creek marathon. And then, test day came around, and all of the questions looked like they were written in Russian. I wanted to cry and draw pictures of sheep on the Scantron.
I was screwed.
But then! With a very [very] rare stroke of genius, I decided to do something I had never done. With one minute left of class, I took the test, crumpled it up, and shoved it into my backpack.
I figured that it would take my teacher at least a day to realize my test was missing, and that I would obviously be able to learn 5 chapters of chemistry in 24 hours.
What happened next was very lucky. A fews days later, Mr. Kung, my beloved chemistry teacher, called me up to his desk. “Genevieve, I have bad news. I can’t find your test.”
Me, feigning shock, starting to feel the lying-induced pit stains forming: “Oh no! How could that be?”
Mr. Kung: “Yeah – I’m really sorry. I don’t know where it is.”
Me, realizing that it is hard to hyperventilate while pretending not to hyperventilate: “Oh.”
Mr. Kung: “Eh, I just won’t factor it in. See you tomorrow.”
And that’s how I got an A in Chemistry 1B. (I forgot to mention that Mr. Kung was in his late 20s, super nerdy, and didn’t give a flying fuck about what anyone learned in his class).
Mr. Kung – if you’re reading: I’m sorry for cheating. Thank you for giving me an A and not jeopardizing my chance at going to college. You will be happy to know that while I’m not a chemist, I ended up using my periodic table as a nice, highly educational place mat on the dining room table at my parent’s house. And I will never lie again because the experience was way too stressful.
And that was the last time I tried to lie. I don’t recommend it.