Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pants on fire

Apparently Tim Roth is sick of being the bad guy or weirdo on the big screen and has now fully embraced American telly having a regular paycheque and his own show on the small screen.

In the voiceover promos for 'Lie to Me', Mr and Mrs Breathy Porno Exaggerators for Channel Ten tell us that the average person tells four lies a day.

"Four lies a day? No way!" Sapphire snorted.

"Maybe some white lies," I ventured, "You know, when a teacher might really over-praise a kid's work because they're actually just thrilled that the kid is sitting down and not hot-wiring the smart board to play Lady Gaga's 'Telephone' clip in full."

Her blue eyes revealed that she understood my point, but the determined pencil-sharpener pompous-puckering of her mouth showed that there was no way that she was going to admit to uttering four lies, regardless how well-intentioned.

It got me thinking, though, as I was sitting at my desk, waiting for an interstate phone call that promised work whilst trying NOT to think of the six blocks of German chocolate that had just been couriered over and instead focusing on the next interview I'd scribbled down on paper and had to type out in an engaging and informative article. Did I tell lies? Four of them a day? If so, to whom? When? And, more importantly, Why?

At school I was the child who blushed if the teacher even so much as indicated I should stop talking by putting a finger to her lips. I'd sit there in silent agony until the bell rang, feeling evil and awful and as though the entire world (or year five class) were witnessing and relishing my shame.

It was even worse if a teacher needed to find out who committed an awful deed but wanted to ferret out the demon by asking the entire class. "NOBODY IS GOING HOME UNTIL THE PERSON WHO THREW LEONIE'S HOMEWORK - VANDALISED INTO A HANDFUL OF WET PAPER MACHE - ONTO EACH BLADE OF THE OVERHEAD FAN."

My face would be ablaze in anxiety. What if the teacher thought it was me? Worrying about how red my face was would only make it go redder and increase my fear that the teacher would then assume that it was me, Katherine Anne Read, who did the deed.

Even today, I can't lie to Love Chunks. He'll say, "Hey, how about some chocolate," as we're watching Bear Grylls spend the night inside a dead camel and eat a breakfast of live spider with the guts splurting out of his mouth.

I'll say, "Hey, that's a great idea," and focus, really intently, on my knitting.

LC immediately picks up on the blush not yet fully blooming on my cheeks. "Have you already eaten some chocolate earlier today?"

My attention is on the tension of the wool. "Um......no."

He'll laugh and I'll blush. "Okay YES. I photographed six different varieties of chocolate for GoneChocco, sampled each and every one of them and then had a craving for a bit of that leftover Cadbury Creme Brulee that's been lurging in the fridge door for ages because it goes down well with a cup of green tea. Are you happy now?"

So, today. I realise, with a sinking heart, that I have indeed told a lie already.

It was 10am, and the front doorbell rang. Actually it never rings, that's just lazy writing. If I wrote, 'it electronically piped out the entire Big Ben repertoire' it might not sound as convincing as 'the front doorbell rang' and ----- oh poo bum bugger shit fart ---- that means I've told my second lie for the day!

Back to the first one. I had only just stepped out of the shower, and opened the door with dripping hair and a towelling bathrobe with more stretched threads hanging off it than Oklahoma's famed surrey with the fringe on top.

The courier bent down to pat Milly, who, with beaming eyes, wide smile and furiously wagging tail, was doing her best guard dog impression. He straightened up, tried to avoid looking me in the eye and handed me a package. "These are the new German chocolates that Oliver wants you to try."

As I reached over to sign his form, I decided to not admit that I'd been sitting at the computer since Sapph left for school, enjoying being in my warm PJs and not bothering to go for my scheduled morning power walk and said, "Oh I'm running a bit late this morning, I've been for a run because - heh heh - I need to with all the chocolate I eat, heh heh," hoping that he'd accept my wet state as the rightful recuperation after rigorous exercise.

Why didn't I just say nothing? Just mutter 'thanks' and shut my damn door? Well it doesn't take Dr Phil to tell me that I wanted to look better in the eye of the courier. Sad, isn't it?

And what did I learn from that experience? Nothing, as it turns out.

Shortly after lunch as I was hanging up a load of washing (again, not writing the paid-article I needed to finish, or doing the heritage walk research I'm supposed to do), Milly went berserk by the front gate. A huge truck had pulled up and the squeaks and screeches of the rusting tail gate had her convinced a fellow dog was being tortured.

My brave investigations - 'Hello....?' revealed two council workers had arrived to replace our dead street tree.

Milly had a sniff and received a few pats and I said, "Well, it's great that we're getting a new tree, thanks. I'd better go and finish up my work," and bustled inside, looking like I had places to go, things to do, people to meet.

...or as much as you can look like that when wearing baggy jeans and aqua-coloured crocs all shrouded in a man-sized grey polar fleece jacket.

Back inside, I resumed drinking my cup of coffee and started tasting some chocolate. Yep, my third lie for the day.

I walked back outside. "Hey guys, I've a confession to make. I just lied to you. I'm supposed to be working, but really I'm just in here having a coffee and taking enticing photos of some chocolate. Do you want some?"

They didn't want any, 'Oh we've just had lunch' and I'm sure it was one of their four lies for the day, but who could blame them. When a strange woman in Crocs and mouse-fur hairstyle comes at you with a camera, would you willingly enter her house without alerting the authorities beforehand?

A while later, reading emails whilst downloading the photos, there was a message sitting there from Steve, asking if someone could 'nip down' and take a snap of the train station as the 'before' picture prior to being gussied up with landscaping, native plants and some council funds.

I paused. Yes, I could 'nip' over and do it, but I hadn't finished my article, or submitted the spec pieces for a company who might use my services or even started the draft piece on an interview I'd done on a teaching friend yet. Let alone uploading heritage walk pictures for sharing on Flickr, finalising a short story entry for the VWC or writing the embarassingly overdue Litter Ninja newsletter.

So I didn't respond, hoping that he'd assume I was busy. Silence meant that Lie Number Four and already achieved by (glances at watch): 2:19pm.


franzy said...

What's the big deal with lying? The fear of it sounds suspiciously like religious control, or at least a remnant of it. ie. "Don't lie or god will know and send you to hell" = "Don't try to hide anything from authority who wants to control how you think".

Recent studies have shown that the smarter kids are, the earlier they work out how to lie (because it involves the recognition and processing of two potential realities and the action on behalf of the more advantageous option - blah etc, I'll fish out the paper on request).

Don't you ever lie to telemarketers? "This isn't my house. I'm house sitting for the occupants. When? Eight months. You want me to take a message?"

River said...

I lie all the time. Doesn't bother me at all. I think it makes my life sound more interesting to those who are asking, customers, and as they don't "really" know me, where's the harm?

Kath Lockett said...

Nah, there's no religious control behind it Franzy. Or not in my case. Just a sad instance of insecurity and wanting to look more productive (and, presumably, successful) than I really am.

And you're correct about the smart kids, which is what I was trying to explain to Sapphire. There are many times when a lie is the best option.

Too right, River. Sometimes I will lie just for fun. In my backpacking days when I had to fill out the immigration card, I'd reach the 'occupation' segment and write stuff like 'dancer' (I was two stone overweight then, after a couple of years of stodgy London food), 'lawyer', and 'architect'. I think Seinfeld's George Constanza would then have urged me to write 'marine biologist' on my next trip!

Rowe said...

Nothing wrong with not volunteering the information that nobody is asking for.

Elisabeth said...

I think it's time for confession, Kath. How about - Telling lies, not once, not twice, not thrice but four times?

You make the otherwise dull details of a day positively riveting. I imagine I can see it all.

Thanks, Kath.

Mr Lonely said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

drb said...

I am usually too lazy or care too little to lie.
Plus my mouth blurts out things before censorhip. So, don't tell me any secrets!

Also quoting Mark Twain -
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Unlike Franzy, I will not protect the feelings of the telemarketers. Will tell them I am too busy or simply not interested. If it is a survey or poll, I'll definitely take it though!

Benjamin Solah said...

I lie all the time.

What did you do on the weekend?

(Went to a protest)

Uh, just hung out with friends.

Nicole said...

Kath you gave yourself away! Steve would never have known! Or doesn't he read your blog?

Baino said...

I saw that same promo then read that apparently children as young as 2 have perfected the art of lying. Scary .. then I guess I said "I'm fine" a hundred times today when I was actually frazzled and wanted to go home . .yeh, four a day doesn't seem like such a stretch.

nuttynoton said...


The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Mrs PM knows when I'm lying so I simply cannot lie to her. The only time I lie with gusto is on my blog - because nobody can see my face or hear my voice when I do so.

My real name is Barack Obama and I run a big country just south of Canada.




Pandora Behr said...

Working in a telco, lying is a normal part of the day. Things like "Yes, I've done it." "Yes it will work, " and "Of course I was listening at that meeting" all are heard hourly. Pity - lots of it is saving face - as you point out - intelligent people lie more. Sometimes it's a pity it has to be that way.

cheap bus hire said...

Thanks for sharing this. Well, we are just human.

cheap bus hire said...

Well, thanks for sharing this. It is very interesting.

Ann ODyne said...

St. Maxwell Of Smart, Patron Saint of Liars Everywhere.
(would you believe Patron Of Cobblers?
umm ... Manager Of A Call Centre?)

2. Tim Roth was so mean in Rob Roy, that I cannot watch him in anything. That final photo you have, is where he met somebody else who feels the same way. I reckon that TV show probably causes divorces all the time.

(now I am going to read Franzy's comment again ... 'processing 2 potential realities '... as in "A bad boy did it and ran away"?