One night a couple of years ago, a high school friend of mine and I were driving from his parents' place to mine. At the time, I was attentding Cal State Long Beach and he was back from UC Santa Cruz for the summer. The CSULB campus was directly in between our places and a road going through was the shortest path.

While driving through the campus, I had the idea to stop by the construction site of what was to be the new CSULB sorts center, the Giant Blue Pyramid. Like many people my age, I had a bit of a road cone fetish, having in my backyard a small collection stolen of road cones, saw horses, caution tape, that sort of stuff. So of course I figured this would be the perfect chance to increase my collection- late night, relatively deserted, supply-rich construction site.

We pulled off the road into the remaining part of the parking lot that was being turned into the Giant Blue Pyramid, turned off the headlights, and slowly cruised by the construction site. Presently, I noticed in my rear view mirror another car driving in the parking lot behind us. My first guess from the shape of the headlights (what can I say- I have a lot of expereience here) was that it was a police car; a moment later I was proven right when the lights went on. I stopped, reached for my license and registration and waited.

After the usual minute or two of police radio talk, a campus police woman walked up to the car and asked us what we were up to. "We were driving through the campus and were talking about learning to drive, so I thought I'd show my friend the parking lot where I learned to drive." This was in fact partly true- that was indeed the place and I had just moments before made a comment to my friend to that effect.

"OK, it just kinda looks like you're checking out the construction site. We've had some problems with theft. So why were your headlights off?"

She had me there. My headlights were off because I didn't want to attract police attention. All I could manage was, "Um..."

My friend, one of the world's greatest bullshitters, broke in at that point: "We were looking for an exit out onto the city street but the glare from the headlights was making that difficult."

I was amazed. I would never have thought of such bald-faced lie and would never have expected it to work. But it did. I don't know if she actually believed us or not, but she merely took down our names and gave us a warning. I will never again doubt the power of bullshit.

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