Don’t lie about rapping. That’s the message from our resident liar SIMON NORMAN this week.
What would happen if Pinocchio said: “When I lie, my nose grows. I am lying now,” and his nose grew? If he’s telling the truth, his nose shouldn’t grow, but if he is lying it will grow. But if it does grow, he’s told the truth. And if he told the truth, then he didn’t lie. You get the idea.
Have I exposed a hole in the fabric of reality? Of course not – Pinocchio isn’t real. And thank goodness for that; I certainly wouldn’t want the careless utterances of a formerly wooden boy to destroy the world.
But I have recently started to observe similarities between our favourite long-nosed friend and me. It’s not that I go out of my way to lie to people, it takes a special type of person (a sociopath) to do that. It’s just that as I go about my day, I often find it easier to lie than tell the truth.
I don’t feel too bad about misrepresenting truth in supervisions – the odd ‘misplaced’ page of work never hurt anybody. White lies have been around a lot longer than Shakespearean comedies centred on a ‘hilarious’ misunderstanding. And that’s saying something.
But somewhere along the line, white lies become proper, full blown lies – ones that you find it difficult to come to terms with once they’ve been said. Little things said in the heat of the moment have a nasty habit of returning to bite you in the arse. I mentioned my love/hate relationship with karaoke last week, but it’s a perfect example of where lying can go horribly wrong. At some drunken point last year I made the dubious claim that I could do a perfect rendition of 99 Problems. That could have been the end of it, but for some reason I dove headfirst into the lie, and I told it to many people, and told it often.
If you’ve ever felt the sinking feeling of having a bluff called – either in a poker game, or just in day to day life – you can appreciate the various facial expressions I went through as I was informed that I was signed up to perform on a Saturday night (karaoke night) at Quinn’s. It’s not just that I’m a bad rapper, but also that I’m about as white as it gets. In the second verse, I much more resemble the racist cop than the superstar producer. There should have been some sort of mercy/kill switch on the karaoke DJ’s part. Some things are not meant to be seen.
But the stakes are never that high when I lie. No one is going to get hurt – the worst that could happen is a hit to my ego. But I worry that as time goes by the risks may get greater.
How much am I allowed to exaggerate my work experience before it becomes a proper lie? How much do I inflate my sexual experience before it becomes obvious? And so I undertake to spend the next month without lying once, as a sort of test run for the future. And with that, my hypothetical Pinocchio nose is extended to sub-orbit.