Presidents Day is almost upon us. Legend has it that George Washington never told a lie. Alas, not all the Chicks can make the same claim. This week we share some of the whoppers we’ve told and the trouble we’ve gotten into when we were less than honest.
When I was around six, I grew bored one day while sitting on the toilet. I noticed a small rip in the wallpaper and began playing with it, eventually ripping off a small piece of it. My parents happened to be out. When they got home, my mother paid a visit to the bathroom and I heard a scream. “Who ripped the bathroom wallpaper?! Ellen, was it you?!” “No!” I quickly lied. Since I was the oldest, the only girl, and a bit spoiled, my parents believed me and turned their wrath on my younger brother, Tony. I was horrified when I heard him deny doing it and then cry as he got a spank on the bottom – but not horrified enough to tell the truth and risk my own spanking.
Years later, I confessed my lie to Tony and my parents. All said they had no memory of the incident. Being the veteran of years of therapy, I’m convinced Tony remembers somewhere deep in his subconscious. This incident will haunt me my for the rest of my life. I’m a terrible person!
When I was in college, I was dating two boys: one who is now my husband (and who will be very amused to hear me telling this story), and another whom I’ll call “Shawn” (because that’s his name and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read this blog). To be clear, I never lied about the fact that I was dating someone else, but Shawn wasn’t too happy about the situation, so I tried not to share a lot of details. So here’s Shawn: “What did you do last night?” And here’s me, crossing my fingers behind my back: “Oh, I just studied at the library.” Shawn: “Then why did I see you leaving Alamo Drafthouse with Tim?” Damn, it was a setup! He had used my desire to not make him feel bad (and not get in another fight) against me. I guess I could have taken the high road: “Oh, I was on a super-fun date with a guy who, let’s be honest, is totally winning this competition, and we’re probably going to end up married someday. How was your evening?”
I wouldn’t call it a lie per say but one of my favorite stories from my childhood involves my adorable little brother and our not-adorable big basement. Like most kids growing up, my basement felt like the equivalent of the Sunken Place in Get Out. A never-ending black hole known to trap innocent and unsuspecting black people. Once in, you never got out. Needless to say, I hated going down there by myself. I avoided it as much as possible. Sometimes that didn’t work out too well. That’s when I roped in my poor, unsuspecting brother, who probably was 4 or 5 at the time. I’d walk up to him and say, “Ernie, I need a big strong man to come down with me to the basement.” He jump up and say, “I’m a big strong man!!!!” Sometimes he even showed me his “muscles.” Then off the basement we’d go!
I was terrible at lying when I was a kid. (Not that I’m saying I’m a really good liar now). But my guilty expression always betrayed me. My mom could see right through me if I was being less than honest. Mama: “Vickie, did you dust and vacuum behind the dresser?” Mini Me: “Yes ma’am.” Mama, with a penetrating glare: “No, you didn’t, did you?” Mini Me (feeling three inches shorter now): “No ma’am.” My baby brother and I shared this sometimes inconvenient trait of wearing our consciences on our sleeves. So when we got into mutual mischief with our sister, she’d always say, “Let me do the talking.” She grew up to be a lawyer.
I may have been the only kid in the history of Roman Catholicism who lied to the priest during her First Confession (required before one can make one’s First Holy Communion). I was seven at the time, and I had to fabricate my sins. I made up for it later, big-time, but I really was a very good little girl. The Sunday school teachers gave us a helpful list of age-appropriate sins, none of which I’d committed, so when I went in to the dark confessional and the priest slid back the little screen, I recited the “Bless-me-Father-for I-have-sinned” and the full Act of Contrition before listing my transgressions: stealing two pencils (ho-hum), talking back to my mother (not a wise idea), and being unkind to a friend (never). After the priest absolved me of these grievous sins, I almost immediately fell and skinned my knees, chin, and palms chasing Timmy Mendola in the church parking lot. I made my heavily Band-Aided First Communion the next day with a very heavy conscience.
When I was four years old, I got so mad about something that I went into a closet and bit the long chain pull hanging down from the light. (To this day, I don’t know why I did it. Don’t even know what I was mad about. It was happening before I was even aware of what I was doing.) The metal cut my gums, which scared me, so I ran to my grandmother, who was babysitting, for help. When she asked me what had happened, I claimed that my mouth had just started bleeding by itself–yep, all by itself–because I thought I’d get in trouble for biting the chain. That worried everyone even more because eek, spontaneous mouth wound! Eventually, I confessed and we all moved on. Yeah, I don’t understand anything about this story, either: I was four.
Readers, what’s a lie you’ve told? If we can confess to ours, so can you!
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