Lies my Mother Tells

We may have touched on this a time or two, but my mom is a goddamned liar. I mean that in the nicest way possible, but that lady can tell a whopper before she even realizes she’s talking.

My husband knows this better than most.

I will accost him with some new and interesting piece of information like, “Hey, Did you know that pine nuts actually come from inside pine cones? That pine tree in our backyard is lousy with pine nuts. I can make pesto! From our TREE!”

To which my husband will reply, “Did your mother tell you that? Because you know she lies.”

Every. Single. Time. And he’s right, gallingly enough (though not about the tree. I got that shit from a book).

When mom was in school, she told a handful of people that her sister had a metal plate in her head. There had been a terrible accident involving an innocent enough argument that ended in tragedy when my aunt apparently fell prey to her own impressive height and tipped over the porch railing to land smack on her perfectly coiffed head. She was never the same after that, but fortunately had no recollection of the accident or the petty argument that preceded it. Still, mother would say with a knowing smile, best not to get too close her head with magnets.

Imagine the other teenagers’ disappointment when magnets didn’t stick to the peppy cheerleader’s bouffant.

Lest you think this habit was simply the stuff of childish fancy, she also told my husband (then fiancee) that she had been to Cuba. She told him many, many fascinating things about her trip to Cuba, based almost entirely on films from the 40’s. The beaches there are amazing, and the ladies with hats made entirely out of fruit are a sight to behold. He hasn’t believed a word out of her mouth since.

But mom’s lies are never premeditated. They are off the cuff remarks that gain too much immediate interest. They are typically so insane to begin with, that the belief of her listener catches her off guard and, faced with the fascinated stares of friends and strangers, she’s forced to continue. What else could she do? Admit that she was lying? That would make her seem like a crazy person. And so, a simple bluff snowballs into a massive, highly detailed work of fiction that really ought to be recorded. For posterity.

There was the goose, of course. The little brother who never existed but still met a terrible fate. The quicksand that was everywhere and would surely kill us all. The spaghetti trees. Having children gives any hobby liar an ideal captive audience and my brother and I spouted much insane nonsense as truth for years. It’s remarkable how few people will call you out on your bullshit.

Unless you have my kids. My kids don’t believe anything. It’s like their father already took them aside and whispered in their ears, “don’t believe anything your mother says. She lies, you know.”

And he’s right. Again. (If you tell him that, I’ll deny it)

The other day I was in Wicked participating in what passes for a date these days (wine tasting while the kids play on the iPad). There was some sort of bridal shower or bachelorette party or first moon celebration going on (a lot of women in too short skirts, too pink lips, and too floofy bags of gifts) so I had to squeeze my way to the counter through the sea of boobs. Yeah, I said sea of boobs; it’s SO fun to be a short flats-wearing girl in a high-heel world. The young pourer guy was showing the ladies a bottle of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, the pronunciation of which he sweetly butchered. The ladies were fascinated, he was momentarily flummoxed, and so I announced to no one in particular, “Interestingly enough, that literally translates to fruit of the severed hand.”

All attention swiveled to me. “REALLY?” someone said, “that’s so interesting.”

Oh dear God, I thought, I’m turning into my mother.

Then I remembered that time I convinced my classmates that I’d been born without a nose and I realized, really, I’d been my mother all along.

I’m a goddamn liar.

You’ve been warned.




97 thoughts on “Lies my Mother Tells

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