Yesterday I bought a bar of Chocolate.
*Yes, this thrilling start is the envy of many a great novel.
This wasn’t just any bar of chocolate. This was a pure-dead-swanky, three pounds worth of chocolate. But who am I to deny myself such treats on what is otherwise a glum Wednesday?
The perfectly polite cashier asked me: “Is this a treat for you, or a present?”
Nothing outrageous there, I’m not opposed to some friendly conversation. However what happened next is something that has begun to trouble me.
I would consider myself an honest person, usually this is involuntary and I surrender to the truth that I am a poor liar and generally don’t bother trying. Recently, I have turned over a new leaf. From exaggerated truths, I have tripped and stumbled down the slippery slope of a serial fabricator. I am not alone in my actions, on average 60% of us will lie during a ten minute conversation.
If recent behaviours are any indication of what is to come, I will have such a Pinocchio style nose that I may begin to use it as a coat peg.
To halt my own tangent, I will resume my riveting tale of chocolate buying because, I know you are dying to hear more.
I found myself frozen, quickly replying: “Oh no, this is for a friend. She’s having a bad day!” before galloping out of the shop, chocolate in hand. I thought I had successfully evaded a self-inflicted awkward scenario, but I was sadly mistaken.
A few moments later with a mouth half full of chocolate, I glanced up from the bench I was seated on, only to slowly realise that I had selected the only bench directly outside the shop. As this realisation struck, I caught the eye of the now amused looking sales worker, who was very much enjoying the sight of me eating my ‘friends’ chocolate, alone on a bench.
For such a small and insignificant lie, the embarrassment was of course not worth it. Regardless of this, my deceit does not cease.
On Saturday I ordered myself to a taxi to work. (My hummer was getting repainted so I had to slum it.)
Once I had exhausted the usual forms of taxi driver chat (“got any holiday’s planned this year, mate?”) I found myself spinning yet another tangled web.
“I’m just off to work you know. I work in Marks and Spencer’s.” I cheerily babbled. To clarify: I do not work in Marks and Spencer’s, I work in a nice Italian restaurant and have done for the past 2 years.
The remainder of the twelve minute journey consisted of me knitting together more bizarre strings of conversation regarding my non existent career at the local M&S. Before I knew it, I was a dedicated member of staff in the foods department; working part time and until 6 pm that very evening. I found myself half alarmed, and half hysterical at my strange new life.
The situation drew to a close as the driver neared the store and pulled up short outside a small side door. With a slightly smug look he said: “This is the staff door, Isn’t it?”
The poor taxi man was obviously very pleased with himself, taking me all the way to the staff door believing truly to have done me a favour. I stepped out the car with a feeble smile, lingering momentarily outside the staff door to the building I did not work in, and considered my next move. I had no choice: I adopted my lie-gallop once again and clip clopped down the street and away from Marks and Spencer’s, as my unsuspecting taxi driver friend watched on.
Now both these scenario’s are hardly extreme as far as the lie chart measures, however they are without a doubt ridiculous and entirely self-inflicted.
We are most likely to lie about our achievements, finances and health according to surveys. Generally, humans tell lies to make themselves look better, or in situations where their self confidence feels threatened. As for myself, I’m not entirely sure about my motives, and it is entirely possible that I have been hit over the head with a tin of beans and suffered a strange personality change.
Regardless, I will offer some pearls of wisdom and advice, since I am now a professional liar extraordinaire:
1) Flee the scene immediately. Don’t sit on a bench mere metres away, it’s embarrassing.
2) Never lie with your mouth full, you may choke and die.
3) When telling a lie about your life, you may as well go all the way. Change your name, call yourself Betty and say you have a cat called Simon.
4) Adopt a warning cry to alert nearby friends of any mishaps, so that they can rescue you from a lie gone awry. For situations such as these, a bird cry works very well.
5) Have an interesting piece of trivia on standby for awkward silences. Eg. ‘Did you know that nobody has died in a lift-related accident since before 1950?’
6) Wear comfortable shoes, you may have to flee in a variety of weather conditions.
7) Perfect the gallop. If your galloping skills need work, find some horses in a nearby field and mimic their movements. It is best to bring some carrots and a sandwich to pacify unfriendly horses/ farmers that you may encounter.
Or, try not to lie. Honesty is the best policy after all. It also helps you avoid situations where you have to pretend to be a horse.