Day after day, it’s becoming clearer that President Donald J. Trump doesn’t really give two shits about telling the truth. Many have speculated that, outside of being an egomaniac so interested in self-aggrandizement that he’ll fabricate just about anything in order to further his own image, Trump might actually just be a pathological liar. He’s been known to lie about everything from the amount of stories in his buildings to crime statistics in American cities. During the campaign, Politifact found that a shocking 70 percent of his statements were untrue. That’s a fuck ton.
In his book “Trump: The Art Of The Deal” (which Donald Trump didn’t actually write), Trump coined the phrase “truthful hyperbole” to describe his penchant for bending the truth. The phrase is of course, in and of itself, a contradiction. Now that we’re in the throes of a Trump presidency, we’re learning what that really means: that when he inflates numbers, or exaggerates about–say–the size of his “hands,” or suggests the occurrence of a terrorist attack that never happened, he’s doing so to demonstrate something that he believes to be a larger truth. Whether that is simply his own worldview, or a more favorable portrait of himself (or if those two things are one in the same) is yet to be determined. No matter what, it’s ethically dubious at best, and earth-shatteringly dangerous at worst.
One thing is for sure: We’re in for a few years of being constantly barraged by outright false or highly contested statements. For some levity in the time of anxiety, staffers here at BTRtoday delved into their memories and shared times in their lives when they decided to opt for telling a lie. Spoiler: it’s something most of the writers seemed to have grown out of after their childhood. Not exactly a great omen, but here goes.
At an awards ceremony for my middle school’s athletic league, two girls a year above me were rude to me. I don’t know what they said or what they did that made me feel harassed, but I remember turning around and walking away from them, pretending to scratch my neck but actually flipping them off. Perhaps a half hour later, the athletic director pulled me aside just before announcing winners. He accurately accused me of giving these two girls the middle finger and threatened to tell my parents. I stood my ground and denied it emphatically. He let the subject drop and my parents never found out. A couple months ago, my mother and I were talking about lies my sister and I told as children. I told her about the mean girls and their deserved middle finger. She said she would’ve had my back: “Whatever they did, they must’ve been assholes to deserve the finger from an 11-year-old.”
I can’t think of any big lie I’ve told; I’m quite shameless, so there’s no need for lying… However, there was this one time when I was little. I enjoyed sitting on the back of the couch, rather than on the seat part. The back was up against a window, and one time when I was sitting on it I cracked the window. I was so scared that I was going to get in trouble that I just put some duct tape over the cracks and hoped no one would see it. Of course, my mom saw it immediately and asked who did it, and apparently it was a mystery. Finally I felt so remorseful that I confessed to breaking the window, but I denied putting the duct tape on it, even though my mom said whoever did that was being very smart. Well, hi mom, it was me… IT WAS ALL ME!
So when I was a kid (like maybe 14) I would bring friends over and we would always drink my dad’s bottle of rum and then refill it with water. The problem was that this was dark rum… so my father realized very quickly that his dark rum was becoming slowly but surely a very very light tan, and he finally confronted me about it and I lied and blamed it on a friend of mine. He decided he would be angry at both of us but he still hasn’t forgiven the friend.
Pressed when I was about 6 or 7-years-old, I told the counselors who ran the after-school program I attended as a child that I had no problem unbuttoning my jeans to use the bathroom. In fact, I had every problem associated with unbuttoning my jeans to use the bathroom, or at least the only one that really meant anything: No matter how hard I strained or contorted my fingers, I couldn’t do it. I would hold in my wee wee for hours on end, straining my tiny bladder until finally my mom picked me up, brought me home, and undid my pants for me. Eventually things came to a head, and I peed myself at school, afterward avoiding all human interaction until I had a chance to change my urinous jeans. No one noticed or said anything, not even my parents, so I pushed the limits and peed my pants a few more times before my cover was blown by an innocent lap sit. Simpler times.