Lately I’ve had to do some real soul-searching. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and thought, I hardly know you. When did you become such a liar, liar pants on fire?
This introspection was inspired by a moment last week when I picked up the Little Man (aka, my son Finn) at pre-school. I had the obligatory snack-for-the-ride-home all ready and waiting for him. But as he peered down at the Cheerios and cheese stick in his cup, his face began to drop, as though he’d just seen all his favorite puzzles consumed in a fiery crash.
“Where’s the chocolate, Dada?”
You see, a couple of days prior, I sprinkled in a few peanut M&M’s as a treat. But now, the slow burn of a full face-melt was quickly approaching as the result of their mysterious disappearance. Finn already looked like the beginnings of a Salvador Dali painting.
I started to sweat. My mind was racing. And that’s when this came out of my mouth: “You can only eat chocolate on Fridays.”
Face-melt pauses, replaced with utter confusion. “But whyyyyyy?”
In my mind, I was like, Stop, Ben. Just drive home and deal.
But then, inexplicably, this gem floated through the car: “Well. They … um. They only make chocolate on Thursdays so …”
And then I drove home.
Don’t judge. Or judge. Whatever. I deserve it. Although, in my defense, it’s not like I told him that you can only eat chocolate once a year or you’ll die. (Which honestly crossed my mind.)
Mostly to make myself feel better, I reached out to other parents I know to get some of their best whoppers. It was pretty eye-opening, to say the least.
- “‘Sorry, honey. Toys-R-Us closes at 3 PM so we can’t go there after school.'” — Frank C.
- “‘Nemo isn’t on right now’ … as I stare at the Amazon Prime icon.” – Jessica M.
- “‘Well, yes, the Challenger exploded … but all the astronauts survived!'” – Laura F.
- “‘If you don’t eat the crust on your sandwich, your hair will turn into a frizzy ball.'” – Elbert D.
- “‘Davey Crockett was lying down at the end of the battle of the Alamo because he was tired.'” – Ian H.
- “I said ‘Oh, no!’ on the phone and my kid asked what happened. I told him that a friend’s aunt had fallen off her bike and had to get an orange cast. (Which was better than explaining that his friend’s dad is an alcoholic deadbeat.)” – Eric D.
- “‘Sorry, bud. They don’t make batteries for that toy anymore.'” – Todd K.
- “‘The Princess Elsa shirt you want to wear is in the wash.’ (It’s been in the wash for six months now.)” – Rebecca P.
- “‘If you keep being mean to, fight with, or complain about your younger brother, we are going to just give him away to another family.'” – Michael B.
- “‘Wine is a medicine for adults that makes you feel better. And that’s why I get happier.'” – Claudia B.
- “‘Lightbulbs are actually secret cameras that Santa uses to watch if you’re being naughty or nice.’ (We start this one in July.)” – Patty B.
- “‘For every grain of rice you leave in the bowl, you will marry someone with that many pimples.'” – Grace W.
- “I’m your father.” – My dad. (He literally sent an email that said just that.)
I also got an earful from friends and coworkers about the lies they were told when they were little, that haunted them for years.
- “My mom told me that if I ate watermelon seeds, I would grow a melon in my belly. Which worked until 7th grade.” – Amy D.
“My grandma told me I would go down the drain with the bathwater, just so I would get out of the tub.” — Shelby C.
“Growing up, there was a photo on the wall of our house from SeaWorld of me riding Shamu as a 2-year-old. For about 10 years, my parents let me believe that I actually rode a killer whale.” — Sadie H.
“My dad told me that your car runs out of gas immediately when the light goes on, so I would never actually run out of gas.” — Megan S.
- “When I was little, my dad told me that sometimes goldfish get lost at sea, and swim up through the pipes and into the bathtub. He didn’t really have a reason for telling me this, but I was petrified of bath drains for years.” — Amy S.
P.S. For those of you who have never fudged reality with your children, I applaud you.
P.P.S. You’re lying.More On