Little White Lies
Luscious the cat is on her deathbed. My mom insists
on keeping her alive (merely postponing the inevitable and at great expense - to
her). Her little kidneys have failed and there's just nothing to be done. Add to
this the anxiety I'm suffering from the impending (2 weeks) interment of my
father (finally!) I've not been a very happy camper lately.
The bad thing about this is that I use these major stressors to justify
wreaking havoc on my health by over-eating and imbibing in prohibited beverages.
Then I lie about it.
I get into trouble every time my ego overtakes common sense in my
mind, and I believe that I can get away with something that involves telling
Not too long ago, my cardiologist and primary care physician
double-teamed me. They made it very clear to me that they've had about enough of
the lying and it's gonna get me absolutely nowhere with 'em. They'd determined
that if I vehemently deny that I've been smoking, it merely means I've cut back
and do it out of the sight of my wife (who calls them whenever she smells smoke
on me anyhow). If I act like I'm being candid with them, and say, 'oh, I have
about 5 a day,' they immediately assume that I'm back on non-filter Lucky Strikes or the like with a vengeance.
Similarly, although I'm allowed a moderate amount of wine, they know I'm a
sucker for a very dry martini dripping with condensate; a
single olive languishing at the bottom of the glass. For awhile, I'd tell my
wife it was just white wine in my martini glass. My wife caught me on this one
by asking a customer one day "why do wine glasses look different?" The customer
answered that the big, round ones are for reds and the more elongated ones are
for whites. When she held up the unique, inverted-cone-shaped container that I'd
been drinking from the day before, he told her in no uncertain terms that wine
is never served in such a glass but good strong 80-proof (or above) alcohol is,
typically with a drop of either dry or sweet vermouth. She shortly thereafter
cornered me in my office and threw a martini glass at me, missing my ear by
inches. It crashed to bits against my bookshelf.
When I whined about one of my Riedel martini glasses (thin as paper they are,
delightful things) being destroyed, she told me quite clearly that a) I was a
motherfucker and b) that booze is booze whether you drink it out
of a $75 glass or a disposable styrofoam cup.
Now, having had financially-challenged parents, I never had to conjure up a
compelling reason why they should put more money in my account whilst I attended
college. Although I came up with some doozies during high school regarding
missing/late homework assignments. As I now am in a "management" position, I no
longer really need to come up with lies for why I was late or why I need a day
off. So my opportunities for telling white lies are on the wane. And that's good
because I don't lie very well at all.
There's merit in following the warning in the old adage, "Oh what a tangled
web we weave when first we practice to deceive." It's driven home by the
following story, not my own, but sent to me by one of the sweetest women I know,
whose mother visits our area twice a year and is the archetypal Irish mom:
Mrs. O'Brien came to visit her son Seamus for three days in Dublin where
he is studying. She found out that her son lives with Vikki, a girl
roommate. Mrs O'Brien couldn't help but notice how pretty Seamus's roommate
was. She suspected of a relationship between the two, and this had only made
her more curious. Reading his mum's thoughts, Seamus volunteered, "I know
what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Vikki and I are just
About a week later, Vikki came to Seamus saying, "Ever since your mother
left, I've been unable to find the silver sugar bowl. You don't suppose she
took it do you?" "Well, I doubt it, but I'll write her, just to be sure."
So he sat down and wrote:
I'm not saying that you did take the sugar bowl from my house, and
I'm not saying that you didn't. But the fact remains that it has been
missing ever since you left.
Several days later, Seamus received a letter from his Mam which read:
I'm not saying that you sleep with Vikki, and I'm not saying that you
don't. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her own
bed, she would have found the sugar bowl by now.
Lesson of the day: Don't lie to your mother... especially if
she is Irish.