“Did Mamma tell you what happened yesterday?” Jellybean asked, unprovoked from the backseat as we rode to school. “She ran over a baby frog and a turtle that was out of its shell.”
It took a second to process this.
“Really?” I answered. “Did that actually happen or are you telling a story?
Prepared for the “Law & Order” line of relentless interrogation, Jellybean was unfazed.
“Yes. It really happened.”
“And so if I ask Mamma if she ran over a baby frog and a turtle out of its shell, she’ll say yes.”
“Well …” and with this there was a long pause as Jellybean weighed her options of coming clean or riding this outlandish story out until it came crashing down around her and she was forced to rely on her cuteness to keep her out of trouble.
The devil on her shoulder won
out … and it’s pretty good.
“Uh, she’ll probably lie and say it didn’t happen, but it did. I saw it.”
It turned out that there was no vehicular rampage in which tiny, innocent creatures — shelled or not — were harmed. In fact, Jellybean had told My Lovely Wife the same story about ME … also utterly untrue.
This wasn’t the first of Jellybean’s fits of fibbing. She’s told stories of seeing wolves in parking lots and that one of her best friends in school punched her repeatedly in the stomach until she threw up.
Oh, and she told me that her after-school teacher is a vampire and that she can’t sleep in her room because the zombies living under her bed will eat her.
Compound this on top of the little lies about brushing teeth, picking up toys, eating dinner and napping at school and it’s the makings of a real problem. I wouldn’t want to go so far as calling Jellybean a liar — that kind of character assassination is better suited for cynical sports writers attacking naïve, NFL-bound Mormon middle linebackers who
fall in love online — but suffice it to say she’s got an active imagination that runs from embellishment to full-on fiction.
But she comes by it honestly … or, well … dishonestly.
I had something of a penchant for tall tales, to the point My Dear Sweet Mother feared I was pathological.
I’d sit on the edge of the bathtub for an hour, come out dry and still smelly only to swear up and down that I’d taken a shower.
“Did you use soap?” My Dear Sweet Mother would ask.
“Then why is the soap dry?”
For as much as I lied, I generally got busted. Fortunately, I was a terrible liar.
I lied to teachers, telling them I was dyslexic in order to get out of reading “Beowulf” (this sparked epidemic dyslexia). I lied to friends about wild parties I’d been to when I was really out cruisin’ around Putt-Putt. I lied to girls, passing off Whitesnake and Night Ranger lyrics as original poems.
Ask me a straightforward question and I’d lie for no good reason. They just spilled out, not because I was devious. I lied because the truth isn’t nearly as interesting or entertaining.
Plus, I was gonna be a writer, so in my mind … it was practice.
We’re taking Jellybean’s stories with a grain of salt, punishing if necessary and washing it all down with the moral of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I have no doubt she’ll grow out of it. I did … mostly.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org