Nothing has happened recently that made me think about this other than going through old photos and laughing at how notorious of a liar I was as a child and teenager.
I used to lie about anything for any reason. I once lied about having a summer job. My friends were making money while I was too lazy to do anything other than play video games and watch porn. One friend hit me on AIM asking if I had a job. I said I was working at the local Blockbuster.
There was no reason for me to say this. I gained nothing from lying. I have always been highly insecure, especially around other men. At that time, I’m sure I felt generating income was a sign of manliness and being a more mature person. Not having a job made me feel inferior compared to them.
Regardless, so far so good. I told him I worked at Blockbuster, and that was that. Here is where I fucked up. He asked me how much I was making. “What do you mean?” That response was the first sign I was in over my head. I didn’t grasp how pay worked. He clarified that he wanted to know how much money I made per hour.
“$30 per hour.”
Fucking idiot, I was. My mom didn’t work and my dad was an independent worker who didn’t have an hourly wage. I had no barometer for what’s a sensible wage for a 17-year-old with no degree or work experience.
My friend didn’t say anything for about three minutes before noting that only managers make that kind of money. Rather than pass off my answer as a joke or admit I was lying all along, I doubled down and claimed I was indeed a manager. He dropped the subject. Like Steve Wilkos, he didn’t see the need to argue with a child.
My lie was quickly broken down. The entire exchange was embarrassing because of how pointless the lie was. From that day, I made a hard rule about lying. And no, it wasn’t to stop lying entirely. It was to stop lying about stupid shit that could easily be disproved.
Don’t say you have your own place when you’re still living with family. Don’t claim you’re making $50K a year when you’re trying to stay afloat on $30K. Don’t boast about having an Audi when you drive a Chevy Aveo and drive rentals on weekends. Don’t assert it’s 8” when it’s 5.75”. Don’t lie about things when figuring out the truth isn’t difficult. In the end, you’ll only look stupid as all hell.
There are a risk and reward to lying. I was lying about things that offered no tangible reward worth pursuing and could easily be unraveled. Essentially, my lies presented nothing but risk. That’s a terrible gamble. That’s betting the house on the Phoenix Suns. Limiting my lies to statements that can’t be proven and are worth the risk has actually limited how much I lie. In the end, I figured out that not too many lies fit both parameters.
The best advice is not to lie at all. It’s the easiest way to get through life. But who am I fucking kidding, right? So instead, if you are going to lie, don’t lie about dumb shit. And don’t lie to people you care about or have been nothing but good to you. They always deserve the truth. And don’t lie to yourself. Always know your own truth.