Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Pants on fire
Most writers are good liars. Or exaggerators, if the word "liar" gets your undies in a bunch. It's just part of storytelling, that little extra fudging on the details, or the outright fish tale that hooks your audience from the first word (see what I did there? Perhaps I should blog about my love of bad puns). Truth truly is stranger, and more interesting, than fiction, but sometimes it just needs a bit of help.
I am not always a good writer, but I'm a pretty talented liar. I can make a random trip to the supermarket sound like I inadvertently joined the circus, just by changing up the details a bit. On occasion, I've told an "enhanced" story at a party, only to have my Dear Hubby sputter, "That so did not happen!" or "There were no ninjas at Publix!" I had to have a little talk with him about outing me in public, plus I explained that This is What Writers Do. Hell, I have no idea if all writers do this, but once you start lying you really can't stop.
I'm sure I told some whoppers as a kid, but for the most part I always knew I'd get in trouble. Not so my little brother Scott. Not only could he lie practically from the moment he opened his mouth, but his lies were so extravagantly detailed, we figured they had to be true. When he was about five, he told my father than he and Mom had broken down on the side of the road on the way to the store and this nice man named Johnny Monson had come along and fixed the car. Johnny Monson drove a blue pickup truck. My mother swore to Daddy this had never happened, and she couldn't figure out why in the world he would need to make up such a story. A few weeks later, the whole fam is in the car driving a few miles from home when Scott points out the window at a house and says, "That's where Johnny Monson lives." Sure enough, there was a blue pickup truck. My parents wre a little freaked at that point, because not only did he remember the lie he remembered the details. That is gold medal lying.
I'm not that good. Now, my lies are not of the "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" or "I was hiking the Appalachian Trail" variety. They are innocent, told to embellish a story or just to have a little fun with people. But as I get older, I find myself forgetting most of my little exaggerations and getting busted by my friends. I'm not ashamed of it, I just hope these friends continue to trust me.
But if I tell you something's a fact, I won't be offended if you need to Google it.