Life Lessons in Lie Detection from the Schoolmate from Hell

WHOOPS! It's obvious you're lying!

WHOOPS! It’s obvious to everybody that you’re lying!

I guess it’s due to the current national climate that every so often these days I can’t help but think of “the schoolmate from Hell.”  She was a total piece of wealthy work from the very moment I met her during the seventh grade and she remained one until the last time I ever heard from her, which was right before I wrote her off.

This rich kid would lie about anything.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  That ten buck watch she should buy?  Aw, she has no money!  Those kids over there?  They’re plotting against her!  The married couple that worked at our school?  She overheard them discussing their sex life, and this is what they said!

I never for one moment felt that kid was telling me the truth about anything, but when she came up with the story about the married couple at school I knew she was full of it.  They were one despicable pair, nasty, irritable, snappish out of nowhere, and furtive to the point you had to wonder what was really going on with them.  Years later, I found out: they were into drugs, so of course they were behaving in a sneaky manner.  If they had been caught at what they were doing, they’d have been charged with a crime and discharged from their position, and rightly so, if you ask me, since the idea of such people working among children is horrific.  Still, the whole idea that those two idiots would have been stupid enough to be caught discussing their intimate relations, of all things, in front of that particular child was completely ridiculous.   I didn’t believe her, and even had the good sense, at that age, not to spread that story around, either.  I can only imagine what those two might have done to me if I had.  They were not nice people.  Besides, there had to be something empirically wrong with any child who would sit there making up lewd fantasies about what those two got up to in their private hours, not to mention broadcasting it.  My, what a revolting visual!

The lies didn’t stop there.  They were voluminous and constant.  Many times she’d tell her parents she was at my house when she wasn’t, they’d call my mother or father, I’d know nothing about whatever stunt the kid was pulling at that moment, and all of a sudden everybody would be in an operatic uproar, her parents, my parents, everyone expecting me to be “in on it,” whatever “it” was that day, and demanding to know where the kid went.  I love peace.  I love quiet.  I don’t love trying to go about my own business, and then, out of the blue, becoming embroiled in some other family’s screaming drama.

The whole reason the kid keeps coming to mind during this particular season, campaigns and all, is that she was absolutely convinced that she was “slick.”   What an ego!  What an idiot.  She thought she was so smart, so brilliant, so clever, and the rest of the world was so easily duped that she could say whatever she felt like and everybody both near and far would believe it, just because the words came out of her mouth.

Ha!  What she didn’t realize was that, every time she told a whopper, she’d over-innocently widen her eyes while looking up in the air, space-cadet style, as though she was reading, with her mind’s eye, the text of her latest creation.  She lied so often and looked up at the sky or the ceiling so much as she did so that among her acquaintances there would be jokes about it whenever we compared notes.

“She said what?”

“Was she looking up in the air?  Again?”

“Wow, does she think we were born last week?”

Note to the dishonest folks out there in cyberspace: those who know you will almost always make a habit of comparing notes!  They’ll probably confer regularly.

It should be no surprise that dishonest kid’s potential for friendships suffered greatly due to her lies.  Who could trust such a child?  Nobody, that’s who.  While she always considered me a “friend,” I was never quite able to fully consider her one.  It was sad, but that was the way it was. She was  an anomaly.  The rest of the kids I knew might not have been perfect, and may even have had off days, sure, but most of them are my friends even yet, and they could be trusted.  She couldn’t – ever.  She was in an untrustworthy category and put herself there – all the while deluding herself that she was “sooooooooo slick.”

I never had any desire to see real-time life lessons in lying play out in front of me, but as long as they did, I reached the conclusion that if anybody truly wanted to get away with telling tall tales, the very first thing they should do is not consider themselves to be “slick.”  That’s how that kid always slipped up.  She never learned how not to give herself away.  She couldn’t figure out that by underestimating her audience she was not conning us at all, just messing herself up.  I doubt she ever came to the realization that she wasn’t the brightest bulb of the bunch, either.  If she had been even a fraction as brilliant as she believed herself to be, she’d have behaved a lot differently, starting with assuming she’d get caught and working back from there…but don’t look for logic in a liar.  They don’t even have the good sense to know they’re insulting those who are onto their games, let alone inviting further scrutiny.  It would all be terribly sad if it wasn’t so potentially lethal.

All this only serves to bring to mind a slew of people, currently in the news,  who also seem to think they’re too brilliant, too slick, and too clever, to ever be caught in their web of lies.  A certain “entitled” and very smug female politician with an email server problem that she’d love to explain away, but ye gads, she just can’t, is the first one I think of.  The Olympic athletes who lied like rugs about a mugging that didn’t happen come in a close second.  A highfalutin’ school in New England that denies it allowed a whole tradition of abuse of underclassmen to exist on its premises – for decades – is third.  Then we have The Anthony Weiner Follies.  Bill Cosby.  On and on goes the list, and does the public consider any of these prevaricating people to be trustworthy or likable?  Of course not!   No wonder that crazy kid often comes to mind every time I try to watch the blasted news.  It’s a Liar’s Three-Ring Circus out there, folks, and I still remember when that kid was in the center ring!

My hero of the moment is Julian Assange, since he’s into lie-busting.  I can hardly wait for the next promised WikiLeaks dump.  Take care of that mess for us, Julian!  We’re counting on you!

Know one of the things that ultimately happened to that awful kid who lied repeatedly?  Are you ready for this?  Have you fastened your seatbelt?  She told such a huge collection of whoppers to her parents that, at one point, her own mother, in a classic moment of “gotcha,” went and hired a retired cop to give her a lie detector test!  I’m serious.  The “slick” one’s mother confirmed it to me way back when, which is how I can definitively say it.  Can you imagine?  That long-suffering but well-off mother with that impossible daughter actually paid to have her own child hooked up to a lie detector machine!  It turned out to be a far better true story than any wild saga that kid could’ve ever come up with, and she brought it all down upon her own lyin’ head.

The truth will always find some way of shining through!  But, good God, who ever thought a mother would have to pay lie detector operator in order to find it?



Too bad they can’t assign certain people a cricket for a conscience, even though it didn’t help Pinocchio!





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