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Home » 9to5to9

9to5to9: Liar, liar, pants on fire

Submitted by on Thursday, 13 November 2008 No Comment
Take one pint-size prevaricator, mix with a dash of "need to be right" and marinate in an active imagination.

The result: Big Guy's current truth-challenged state.

In recent weeks, it's advanced past the "cute but not remotely believable" spur-of-the-moment fibs. You know, the ones in "The Family Circus" where "Not Me" or "Ida Know" always did it? At the rate he's going, we'll be in full-tilt Clintonesque "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" mode by Thanksgiving.

The best performance so far was Monday's candy caper. Coming as it did on the heels of Sunday's avoidance of responsibility for the kitchen flood, it was disquieting.

It was after the guys had munched Mamba fruit chews -- a dye-free peanut-safe Starburst-type candy -- in the living room. The wrappers wound up scattered all over on the just-vacuumed floor.

"Looks like someone forgot to take their trash to the garbage. Let's clean it up, guys," I said.

"Oh, those aren't mine. Those are all Little Guy's."

Too bad for him the garbage had just been emptied.

"Oh, they fell way down in the bottom."

Then why are there so many left on the floor?

"Really, they're not mine."

What Big Guy didn't realize is that Mamba packaging is stunningly consistent. One paper for each chew in the six pack, plus the outer wrapper.

"Really? Let's count."

Miraculously, in the mere minutes it took me to go into the kitchen and return, half the papers had made their way to the garbage.

"See?" he grinned. "Mine are in there."

Times like that, I fear my efforts to ferret out the truth are doing nothing more than training a more proficient perjurer.

Admittedly I ceded the higher moral ground Sunday when I blew up over the flood, blocking me from saying, "You won't get in trouble for doing something, but you will for lying about it." Clearly, he already was in trouble for making a mess and not cleaning it up. In his mind, a blame shift was the only option.

And truth still is a nebulous concept for him. He thinks it's a lie when people say they're going to do something but forget -- yes, he's caught me on that one and no amount of apologizing will convince him to let it go.

Maybe I need to invest in a copy of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." I don't want to revert to teaching honesty the way I was taught, via hellfire and brimstone lectures about how you'll go to hell for lying just the same as for stealing. I'd rather the guys learn to do right because it's the right thing to do, not out of fear of punishment.

We have a ways to go before I consider the problem serious. If it reaches that stage, though, I'm implementing a plan posted at Dad-O-Matic.

A blogger there wrote this week about a friend whose teen daughter insisted that it doesn't matter if people tell the truth. To demonstrate that it does, he told her he would pick her up from the mall then left her stranded. One additional demonstration was enough to teach her.

Knowing Big Guy, it will take more tutorials than that for him to get it. But I'm filing the idea away.

Maybe I won't need it. It's just a phase, right? It won't last, will it?

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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