Lyin’ King

Senior Charlie Jones can’t help but fib. Whenever an awkward situation arises, he uses a “little white lie” as his escape route. Unfortunately, this route rarely turns out to be the fastest way off the highly uncomfortable highway.

Charlie Jones, Sports Editor

“Charlie, it’s your turn to present today.” I freeze. My face turns redder than the school banner, and my hands become the equivalent of two freshly caught walleye. I take a deep breath.

This is the moment every awkward kid dreads, and I am perhaps one of the most awkward kids you will ever meet. I’ve impersonated children of recognized officials, claimed to be a foreign exchange student, and found myself the owner of far too many untagged pets.

“Of course it is. What am I presenting on again?” I ask as I give a 10-minute explanation on nuclear physics. Much too frequently I find myself compulsively lying in awkward situations just to help conversation go more smoothly.

The other day a stranger was talking to me about their food allergies. Unfortunately, I accidentally confused the word, “food” with the word, “seasonal.” In a weak attempt to relate, I told her I had horrible allergies too. Success: I spoke a sentence coherently without stuttering or trailing off, but out of nowhere I was blindsided. “What food are you allergic to?” she asked. My blood turned to quick-dry cement; it had never crossed my mind that they were talking about food allergies. “Peanuts, I’m kind of allergic to peanuts,” I blurted out. “And shellfish, red meats, tree fruits, naan, dark sodas, goat’s milk.”

All of these are completely false. I am one of the lucky few that isn’t allergic to any food. Saying I was hypersensitive to all of those foods was like saying I am good at cross country; it’s simply not true. Only in this case, a stranger would believe me.

“That’s terrible, are your allergies very bad?” My thoughts were hovering around Mach-5. “They’re pretty awful,” I stuttered. “I can’t be within a couple miles of most of them, and if any get that close my entire body swells up like that girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” At that point, I found it most opportune to flee from the situation and walked away without another word.

This condition of mine can be triggered at anytime and will strike at the most disadvantageous moments. In fact, I’m convinced that’s the only time they attack. Never does it crop up when I’m casually chatting with my friends or family. Only when I’m speaking to a superior, or a stranger, or a crush does my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Lied complex rear its ugly head.

I think deep down, whatever causes this knows that getting me to lie only exacerbates the embarrassment, that it’s just some kind of socially sadistic reflex out to ruin my day-to-day life. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed–not in that way–that I can truthfully make it through all the graduation ceremonies, office parties, and trivia nights to come.