I’m the world’s worst liar. Always have been. Always will be.
Whenever I try to tell a lie, the giveaway signs are obvious. I fidget. My hands go all over the place. And I can’t stifle the telltale smile that breaks upon my face. Anybody within a mile or so can tell right away that whatever I say is not to be believed.
Being a bad liar has had serious impacts on my life. I’ve never been able to get away with any bad behaviour. If anybody asked me if I was the one responsible, I had two choices. I could either fess up straight away, or fess up after trying to fib my way out of it without success. As I result, I’ve tended to err on the side of good behaviour. It’s not that I’m such a good person. It’s just that I know if I get caught, there’s no way I’m going to get out of it.
It also means I’m a terrible poker player. The possibility of putting on a poker face is well beyond my capabilities. If by some strange chance, I actually get a good hand, there’s no way I can cover up the grin. I tried going the other way, and working with a reverse poker face (i.e. putting on a smile no matter what hand I get) but I couldn’t pull it off. My opponents could tell right away when I was faking a smile vs when I had a real one. See, I can’t even lie about smiling. As a result, poker is not a pastime I indulge in very often.
Funny thing is though, while I’m a terrible liar, I’m great at making up stories. You’d thing that’s pretty obvious, because I am a writer, and isn’t that basically what all writers do? But it’s not just writing. I can be talking to people and I can just make stuff up on the spot. Someone can ask me a question and I can reel off a whole bunch of nonsense in response, while keeping a completely straight face. I can sometimes string people along for ages.
Seems like a pretty strange combination. I can’t lie to save myself, but I can invent all sorts of fantasies at the drop of a hat. I’m not sure I can explain it myself. But maybe it’s the difference in intent. The difference between deliberately trying to mislead people vs using my imagination to have a bit of fun. And I have to say that when I am spinning my stories, the smile usually emerges after a while, and people soon see through them.
So I guess I’ll stick to what I’m good at. I’ll keep having fun making up my wonderful, fanciful stories. And while I’m doing that, you can believe every word I say.
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