Saturday, 21 March 2015

Believe you me


Just imagine you're going about your daily business when suddenly a magically reincarnated Eamonn Andrews, or Michael Aspel if you prefer, appears from nowhere. There you are, trying to shake the last drops of sauce out of the bottle of HP before settling down to watch Judge Rinder with a cheese omelette, and you glance up and he's looking directly at you, brandishing that big red book. In a split second you see your life flash before you, like one of those TV flashbacks which you know is a flashback because the colour goes all muted. That's you: pictured there riding your bike for the first time without stabilisers, playing the donkey in the school Nativity, pinning that Jam badge to your blazer, coughing on your first Rothmans. Then there are all the others: people you once worked with who probably don't even remember your surname are now merrily recounting some anecdote you'd long forgotten about the time you turned up for work in odd socks.

“Oh god, I'm on 'This Is Your Life'” you think, as the images continue to roll by in your mind and you just hope and pray that it glosses over that part where... well, you know which bit...

Only, you're not... because as you take a closer look at that red book you realise that it doesn't say 'This Is Your Life'. Oh no, it says 'This Is Your Lie'. Is this some kind of sick joke?  This is your lie?  Then, with a degree of glee that is frankly quite distasteful, Eamonn/Michael starts flicking through the book which is of course a big fat ring-binder file, and it's so stuffed full of pages that those metal clips won't even close, and sheets of lined A4 paper are now falling out all over the place and on each one of them...scrawled in blue biro because they go back way before the advent of Microsoft Word... a lie. Every single lie you've ever told in your life.

The first fifty pages or so are quite unrefined. You're about four and you've just realised that there is an alternative option to admitting to something that might otherwise get you told off.  No, I didn't eat any sweets / hide Sam's lego / pull the cat's tail. Then you start to get a bit more adept: Yes, I did do my maths homework / No, I didn't drink any alcohol at the party / Yes, I am eighteen.  Finally it gets a lot more sophisticated: Don't worry, you didn't interrupt me / Yes, I'm fine (or No, nothing's wrong ) / I'm sorry, he's out at the moment, can I take a message? / They only cost a tenner / I would if I could...

There's a little lie here, a little lie there, a couple of right whoppers which you really do regret and, to be fair, a lot of white ones which you told so as not to hurt someone's feelings.  However, just imagine if you were to see every one of them spelt out in front of you in black and white (or blue biro). No! you might exclaim, I'm sure I never said that! Honest!  But nobody would believe you... after all, we've all done it.

17 comments:

  1. A brilliant post, C - hilarious (yet serious and spooky at the same time.) We must all trail an invisible chain (of lies) behind us throughout our lifetime (which brings to mind Marley and his chains in Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol.') I guess we'd prefer to think that most are told to avoid hurting someone else, but that would be naive (or another link on the chain?)

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    1. Ah thank you Marie. I like that: 'an invisible chain of lies'.. Hopefully in most cases they're pretty innocuous! I often wonder how compulsive liars manage to keep up with themselves without tripping up - as the saying goes, "oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive".

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  2. Brilliant. I was thinking about this subject recently, but you've articulated it so much more cleverly than I did.

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    1. Thanks mondoagogo - glad you enjoyed the post.. I can't remember what prompted the subject in my mind but I just had this vision of a file of lies... aarghhh!

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  3. A brilliant if scary concept C!

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    1. Oh thank you CC. Which is more scary, a file full of lies or the thought of being on This Is Your Life?!

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  4. Thought provoking, to say the least. For my part, it hardly bears thinking about. There are those who believe that, when our time comes, our entire lives are spread out before us like some kind of cinematic review and the effects of our actions are then spelled out to us in all fine detail. That should be pretty painful. Oh, the shame.

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    1. Hi SB - your comment too is very thought-provoking. I don't like the idea of every action being spread out before me - as you say, oh the shame! Mind you, perhaps the fact that we might feel any shame (about what were presumably fairly small aberrations) indicates some kind of redemption!

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  5. I wasn't moved by this one at all. It didn't really resonate with me...because of course, I've never told a lie.

    :)

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    1. Oh... I believe you, of course. But do you believe me when I say that? :-)

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    2. I couldn't believe you if you said you were lying.

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  6. Hee hee, great post... I can sort of relate but I gave up "Proper" lying before I even got started due to the fact that I suck big time and always got found out. My cousin Barbra and I were always together, whenever we had been doing something we shouldn't I would invent a believable cover story that we would agree on - but somewhere between that secret agreement and being confronted by an adult, Barbra's furtive (and frankly, ludicrous) imagination would come up with a much wilder story which she would blurt out before I got a chance to present my well crafted fiction.

    An example: She once fell from a neighbour's shed roof into a rain barrel and tore her skirt. We were both caught sneaking back through the hedge, she soaking wet with a tattered skirt. We had agreed on my story that she had fallen into my Mum's fish pond while trying to retrieve a ball BUT NO she loudly proclaimed that she had been dragged through the hedge and into the 'no-go" neighbour's garden by a SHARK which then dragged her into the rain barrel and stole all her pocket money (She also suggested the adults would reimburse the 'lost' pocket money). Cursed by the kind of brain that knew that shark's are not good on land, and especially unlikely in my neighbour's well kept garden 15 miles from the sea, I squirmed and went bright red. According to Barbra, that is what gave the game away!

    Anyway, a few too many of those situations and the resulting angry "Go to your room" scenarios led to a pathological fear of lying... but happily also led to me learning to draw and enjoy my own company... because half an hour of "playing out" with my cousin pretty much always led to enforced "solitary confinement" under house arrest for the remained of the day.

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    1. Oh brilliant, Yve! I'm picturing the scene with Barbra, hilarious. Please tell me she went on to write children's books or work with Tim Burton or something?! With an imagination like that...

      I know what you mean about lying though. I've never been very good at it and certainly don't like it. I even blush when I'm not lying, just in case someone thinks I am...

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  7. It's funny how some little untruth (OK, lie) can hang around in the memory. I can still remember some ridiculous whoppers I told in my childhood, not to mention a few less amusing lapses in judgement from later in life. I wonder why they refuse to fade? Guilty conscience no doubt.
    Lovely writing C, very thought provoking.

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    1. Thanks, TS. Yes I'm sure it's that guilty conscience and probably just as well. To not have that might render us as sociopaths....hmm!

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  8. Here OP is the girl you did wrong too...and here is a video of the goal you said you scored but it never crossed the line. Welcome to the little Black Book....this is your lies....guest presenter....Johnny Rotton

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    1. Brilliant, Old Pa. It'd make great viewing!

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