When I was young, unlike my children today, I was an aficionado in the art of bullshitting my parents–not that it always worked mind you…but at least I tried. There were different ways I went about telling my parents lies…
Using the direct approach: No I wasn’t smoking cigarettes at the park…I smell like smoke because Sue’s dad blew his pipe tobacco all over my shirt…
More subtle approach: No, that wasn’t me at the park smoking cigarettes….Sue and I were at her house all day long….
Extra effort to back up the subtle approach….if you don’t believe me, here, call Sue’s Dad and ask him…
When all else fails….write them a letter of apology and misdirection to see if it flies….
Of course my parents could see right through all my bluffs and I would find myself grounded nonetheless. I was lucky though, being at the tail end of the family, my mom would go to bed at night furious with me for whatever misdeed, but by morning, she seemingly forgot all about said act and well…I was in no hurry to remind her.
My children (though in the future may tell me otherwise), are not very good in the lying/bullshitting department. They do try-but not very well and as the result, I always seem to catch them in the act. The boy’s style of late has been to argue every single tiny point and then use excuses to back up the argument in hope that he will wear me down or I will eventually tune him out. He’s got a good idea there…but I can be patient too. “Mama, I don’t need to study for my final exams…I studied in school all last week…I cannot fit anymore into my brain….” “Bay you’re walking a slippery slope here…” “Well my feet are firmly planted so you don’t have to worry…” He replied. “Yes…you’re firmly planted on bullshit mountain” I said to myself. Last night his first final exam grade posted and he did horribly. “Well dude, I guess you proved yourself wrong…huh?” I asked him. “It’s not my fault that I find math difficult” He replied. “Difficult? Wouldn’t that give you an impetus to study harder then?” I asked. At which point he began offering one excuse after another as to why he failed-none of which had anything to do with his lack of preparation for the exam. “Those are nothing but excuses!” I said in return. “Excuses are the easiest way for me to tell you what you want to hear…” He replied; flustered and then tried to back pedal. “I mean…” “Save it bay…” I said raising my hand to stop him from speaking, “I already got the memo.”
The doll on the other hand has learned the hard way it’s better to be open with her parents than lie to us. Her preferred method in the past was the lie by omission…”Doll did you cut your hair?” “No…” “Then what’s this red hair doing in the garbage can?” “I cut my doll’s hair”. Okay…plausible…but not probable I believed. Later that night, following a shower I said “Here let me comb out your hair….hey looky there, you’re missing a large chunk of hair on the back of your head…” “No I’m not” “Um, yes…the gig is up…” “No, honestly there was no cutting done to my hair” “Even though I can see you cut your hair…you’re still lying to me why?” After several minutes of her trying to come up with a plausible solution she finally admitted the truth, amid a flurry of tears and sighs..”So, why did you lie to me about it?” “Because I thought you would be mad at meeeee…” “More mad than I am that you lied to me? Hardly”.
I totally understand the desire to get away with doing (or not doing; as the case may be) something-without consequence. Unfortunately, as we all know, consequences good or bad are a part of our daily lives. So my kids need to find better ways to explain themselves…honestly and I need to take after my mother and let it go come morning.
Both of which are difficult to do.