Just once in my life, I’d love to see a liar’s pants catch on fire.
— Aunty Acid
Sadly, they may well be my own pants.
I am an awesome liar. Living in Japan taught me how to tell believable lies. Not big, horrible, malicious lies; little white lies to get myself out of doing something I didn’t particularly care to do.
♦ ‘Aah, you speak English. We practise speaking English together?’
Ok, the reason I was in Japan was to improve my Japanese and experience the culture. I didn’t mind occasional English conversation; it made my brain hurt less. But I cannot accurately convey the flood of people who wanted random English conversation — all the time. My ‘lies’ ranged from ‘Sorry, I don’t speak English, I am Australian,’ through to ‘I have another appointment so I am so sorry, but I just don’t have time.’
♦ ‘Come and stay at my place … you will do homestay.’
The offers were always well-intentioned and very kind. Some people love that sort of experience. I don’t. Staying in someone else’s house, particularly if I don’t know that person well (and Japanese people are known for their absolute hospitality to near strangers), makes me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I learnt to lie my way out of accepting these offers; ‘I’m so sorry, I am expecting a phone call from home that night … or maybe tomorrow night,’ through to ‘I have a lot of allergies … oh, you have cats? No, I’m so sorry.’
♦ ‘Let’s go to karaoke.’
Yeah, no … sorry. I have the worst singing voice in the world. Telling a lie to get out of this one is doing everyone else a favour … trust me. I have been told a good karaoke machine makes everyone’s voice sound great —I believe that to be a lie, in my case anyway. ‘I’m so sorry, I feel like I have a case of laryngitis coming on,’ through to ‘My doctor said I have damaged vocal chords and I am not allowed to sing.’ Whatever it took.
Upon my return from Japan I found I was quite adept at telling the occasional white lie; they just rolled off my tongue without any thought or consideration. I really don’t enjoy big parties — fib about why I can’t come. I don’t particularly care to work together on an assignment — tell a slight untruth about why I can’t. I don’t wish to go to the uni bar after class and get drunk — I have to get home because … (fill in any useful excuse here).
These days, I prefer to just say, ‘No thanks … that doesn’t really float my boat.’ But sometimes a bit of a porky is easier than having to justify why you are declining an offer. (Some people just can’t take no for an answer and never give up badgering you. They deserve to be lied to.)
I have previously waxed lyrical in one of my posts about my intense dislike of people who can’t be honest. Call me a hypocrite, but if you lie to avoid a run-around conversation with people who can’t accept your no, or if you lie to prevent hurting someone’s feelings … that’s ok.
All other lying deserves the indignity of said liar’s pants going up in flames:
♦ lying to get yourself out of trouble
♦ lying because you don’t know the answer and you can’t be bothered finding out
♦ lying as the act of creating malicious and hurtful gossip about someone.
Don’t bother calling the fire brigade on these ones.
How cool would it be to be able to pick a liar because their pants ignited?
How easy would that make a teacher’s life? (Kids lie all the time, most of them are easy to pick; not all though.)
Or a court case? (Pants on fire … guilty!)