The month of April is the perfect time for self-denial, and as many decide to give up chocolate and beer and Googling themselves for Lent, I (should) have given up lying. In the same way that some hoard trinkets, I hoard small, tiny, almost gaseous lies that nearly evaporate upon release but that sometimes, I fear, have not evaporated and have instead accumulated over the years to form within me a person cluttered by confused truths. For instance, I have mentioned our new budgeting zeal. The other day, I bragged to Aaron that I was so dedicated to our cause that I forewent many tempting snacks and coffee treats. He did not ask, “Sherry, did you spend $.60 on dehydrated bread pieces at the vending machine today?”; no, this was the worst kind of lie—the unnecessary one.
Everything was going so well. But when we arrived home from our extended, we-no-longer-have-broadband dog walk, Aaron changes Clara’s diaper and calls from the other room, “Where did this bag of Gardetto’s come from?”
Almost, I said: “Um, Clara just wouldn’t stop crying. It’s so hard being a mom.” You see, how one can’t resist just one more trinket?
Instead, I go fetal, curled into a ball of remorse, laughing just a little but still very remorseful, even silent, which always raises suspicion.
Step 1: “Aaron, I am a liar!”
The good news for you, people who are not Aaron, is that I’ve combed my vast terrain of fabrication and can decisively say that these lies are a unique genus. They are mostly told to Aaron and almost exclusively, they involve purchases less than $30 that in some way compromise the reigning idea I hold about myself, which is that I am someone who knows it is much more wise and good to buy an immense cardboard box of dehydrated bread pieces from a place like Sam’s Club than it is to splurge impulsively on 1.5 ounces of snack.
And so I do what all people do when they would rather not just yet change their deviant ways; I ask why. Why do people lie?
First, I imagine we are all like M and M’s with a fragile candy coating that sometimes gets cracked when outside pressures, the metaphorical teeth of ravenous metaphorical people, crunch down. A lie is the Elmer’s glue that keeps the candy coating intact until one of two things happens—either there’s so much glue that all the other M and M’s start to think we look funny and stay away or we realize that our delicious sweet nature has been adulterated by the tangy slime of a sticky white lie.
The answer to why we lie is that Elmer’s glue is cheaper and easier to use than other repair kits, and, like playing outdoor team sports, it can make us feel young and preserved. But also like a rousing game of tag, lying can leave bruises, and we start to wonder if it’s not time to be a big girl and understand that honesty is the same as acceptance, and acceptance is the way we grow up.