Growing up in my parents' home, lying was a pretty aggregious offense. But, as a kid, you had to lie about some stuff. It comes with the territory. So, we had to adapt. Sara stopped lying. Peter became the worst liar ever. And Noah and I should have been given medals for how good of liars we are, uh, were.
Sara always told the truth. She still always tells the truth. Sometimes it's a pretty painful truth and she sure doesn't sugarcoat it for you.
"Sara, do you want to go shopping at the outlet mall with me?"
She won't make up some lame excuse and I appreciate that about her. (She hates shopping.) It also makes me realize that when she is doing something with me, it's because she wants to. When we were little, Mom could always count on Sara to tell her what really happened out in the woods that led to Noah's bleeding ear and my shredded clothes. Noah or I would have told a great tale about how a pack of wild raccoons attacked us. The truth was, we found a machete in the mud pit and starting hacking away at everything in sight and Noah's ear and Ruth's clothes were collateral damage. Basically, Sara was Mayor of the Tattletales.
"Sara, dude!! You ratted us out!"
"Yeah, so. See ya."
I'm making Sara out to be a cold, heartless robot. She's not. She's actually a very loving, generous individual. Just because there is a dark pit where her withering heart once beat doesn't mean she doesn't care. We never would have made it the first few months with the twins if it wasn't for her. She was the first and only person brave enough to feed the girls bottles by herself in the middle of the night. No, she's a very caring person. She actually just never wanted to deal with the politics of lying and having to carry out a lie. You know the whole "you have to lie to cover up a lie" and it's just neverending. To Sara, it was easier to tell the truth.
Peter decided to be a little more colorful about it. The truth isn't always the best...that's Peter's motto. When Peter arrived, Noah was 5, I was 11, and Sara was 13. Prime lying ages. So, poor kid came into America with not a word of English and he had the three of us to teach him the ropes. When Sara began her radical truth ways, Noah and I took over. We taught him to pick his lies carefully and not give too many details. The more elaborate the lie, the harder it was to keep it going and the more likely Mom and Dad would catch on. We told him our secrets and ways to distract from the truth. We showed him how to look people in the eye and believe your own lie so they would too. He never listened. He chose his own path. We washed our hands of him. He was no longer our protegé. And so, Peter became the worst liar in the history of the world.
Peter is one of the sweetest people I know. He has the biggest heart and he loves to help others. He has such a giving nature. But golly, that kid cannot tell a lie. Oh, he tries. Whenever he was getting in trouble for something, we'd all grab a bucket of popcorn and sit and watch because we knew his story was gonna be good. Here are some of Pete's "better" lies.
Peter loved to play with Dad's power tools, which, of course, he wasn't allowed to do. One day, many years ago, I was walking out to the garage to feed the cats. I hear a motor whirring way off in the goat pen (yes, we had goats). I stop and listen for a second and squint to see if I can spot the source of the noise. I see a bright red blob bobbing up and down. The bright red blob suddenly stops moving and stands straight up...seemingly staring straight at me. The motor cuts off. The red blob blurs through the trees and disappears behind the garage. I hear the gate to the goat pen open. I hear steps through rustling leaves and then a pause and then steps on a wooden walkway. There comes Peter in a red shirt, walking around the side of the garage, whistling.
"Oh, hey, Ruth."
"Hey, Wep. Listen, did you hear something in the woods just now?"
"A noise. Something like a motor."
"A noise? Uh...OH! Yeah, yeah, that was me. I sometimes go out in the woods (gulp) and make noises with my mouth like...brrrrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbr. You know, like that (gulp)."
"Any particular reason?"
"Nah, it's just fun, I guess."
"So, you're telling me...if I go behind the garage, I'm not gonna see Dad's chainsaw stashed by the trash cans?"
"Oh, yeah...uhm...I think I was playing with the chainsaw."
"I'll go tell Mom I was playing with the chainsaw."
That is one thing I admire about him. At least when he knows he's been caught, he'll fess up to Mom and Dad willingly. Here's another great lie of Peter's.
Several years ago, someone bought Peter a really awesome leather whip. Why anyone would need one, I don't know, but it was very Indiana Jones-esque. Peter would be out in the field for hours perfecting the snap. One day, Mom noticed a huge red mark on the back of Peter's neck. Startled, Mom asked, "Peter! What happened to your neck?"
"What? Oh! That. Uhm...I guess it's just from looking up."
"You mean to tell me that looking up has caused this huge almost-cut on the back of your neck."
"Yeah, I mean, you know (gulp)...looking up can do that."
"Did you whip the back of your neck?"
Peter has a lying tell. He swallows and gulps a lot, so you always know he's lying. Bless him. He's a good kid. We tried, Noah...we really did.
Noah and I are, uh, were awesome liars. It's not something we should brag about, but it really is. We're pretty amazing. We have different methods. Noah is adamantly "telling the truth" and I'm nonchalantly "telling the truth." And we can carry it on for awhile if we need to. And we're really good on the spot. We can come up with a complete character back-story and secondary plot lines in an instant. And we're good with details. Not too much...not too little. Just enough to get a "well, they must be telling the truth" verdict.
Scenario: the flowers around the pool are dead because somebody forgot to water them after Mom asked them to days before.
Mom: "Noah/Ruth! Did you not water the flowers like I asked you to?"
Noah: "MOM! Seriously! It rained the other day, so I couldn't then, obviously! And then, I was doing homework ALL DAY LONG yesterday! And then the water pressure isn't strong enough today!"
Ruth: "Uh, I don't think you asked me to. Uh, nope. Nobody said a word to me about it. It's cool, it's cool. Don't worry about it. I'll do it now. No, it's fine. Just...ask me next time and I'll do it, okay?"
However, the greater and more beautiful the lie, the greater and more ugly the downfall and we've met some pretty heartwrenching ends whenever we were found out. Some lies are still going even after all the years. Actually, I'm not even sure if some of them aren't the truth...I've lost track. Despite our glorious lies, it never felt good to tell them and, I can't speak for Noah, but I always felt really bad. Bad enough to tell the truth? Nah. But, I did feel guilty. It was kind of a relief when I was caught, though.
Lying comes in handy even as an adult. I'm great with surprise parties, engagements, and gifts. David never has any idea about gifts I get him. What do you call it when magicians show you something over here, so they can draw your attention away from over there where the real trick is happening? I'm good at that. I cannot wait to give Hugs his birthday present. He has no clue what it is. Only one other person knows and he's good at the magician thing, too.
Mom says she doesn't trust me to tell her the truth about clothes she's trying on. If you ask me honestly what I think about something, I WILL tell you the truth...I just kind of skirt around it. Sara will throw up on you if she doesn't like it. I try a gentler approach and find something I do like about the outfit, especially if I can tell you really like it. But, if it's not doing you any favors at all, I will tell you. And I appreciate the same courtesy. Mom, I've told you the truth about tons of outfits. Remember the orange linen suit with white polka dots from Liz and Jane? I told you you may or may not have looked like a clown. See? I tell the truth.
The moral of this story is...if you need an alibi or help disposing of a body, call me or Noah. Sara and Peter will be of no help to you.