One day last winter the beautiful blonde who inexplicably enjoys my company purchased a blue velvet jumpsuit. She’d ordered it online and right after the UPS man delivered it, ran into the bedroom to try it on. “What do you think?” she said, walking back into the living room a few minutes later. My first thought was that she looked like Grover from Sesame Street. My second thought was that perhaps I might be able to squeeze into this outfit on Halloween and do my best Prince impersonation. My third thought was the final one: “Darling, you look fantastic.”
I consider myself to be a very honest person, but that being said, I am also a prolific liar. I tell lies all day long. Not big ones mind you, not the kinds of lies that lead to divorce proceedings or jail time. I tell little lies. Lies like, “Of course, Roscoe is a beautiful name for a baby,” and “Yes, Mother, I will call you again tomorrow,” and “I Have Read and Agreed to the Above Terms and Conditions.”
So last week, as an experiment, I started counting my lies and was not surprised at how quickly they began to add up. Yesterday was Tuesday, and I told twenty-three lies, including “Sorry, I don’t have any change,” and “I’ll be there in five minutes.” The day before, I told eighteen lies including “I’ll have the story finished by tomorrow,” and one of my personal favorites, “Honey, this kale is delicious.” Last Sunday, I told upwards of fifty lies before I lost count. I was visiting my mother who had recently redecorated her house. No further explanation necessary.
But while some people lie in order to cheat and steal, my lying is merely a symptom of my laziness. I don’t lie to hurt anybody. I lie because I often lack the energy to explain the truth. Even with good friends, I generally take the easy route. When they ask, “Hey, how are you? I always say “Fine,” instead of, “I’m not at all well. There’s a mole on my neck that’s starting to change color. My son hasn’t cut his hair in eighteen months, and he’s beginning to look like Crystal Gale on steroids. The IRS continues to send me notices, and my mother keeps asking when I’m going to have something published in Reader’s Digest. And last week they rearranged everything at the Publix, and now I can’t find a damn thing. Oh, and my check engine light has been on for three months, and the tattoo I got on my hip when I was eighteen of a palm tree silhouetted against a sunset is unfortunately still there and crystal clear. My blood pressure is high, my cholesterol is through the roof, and my hair keeps disappearing from my head only to reappear on my back or out of my ears. How are you?”
Today is Wednesday, and so far I’ve told sixteen lies. But I’m sure I’ll hit thirty by the end of the day. It will probably happen at the checkout line in Publix, when the nice woman ringing up my groceries asks, “Did you find everything okay?”