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

  1. All I can say is that I’m glad that ‘teacher’ – (or ‘daughter of teacher’, because she’s also a teacher) does not write a blog! Glad you came through in the end!!!!

  2. Remember that camping trip when we convinced the entire pool staff of the milpitas sports center that we were sisters? You did end up coming clean though, so points for that.

  3. Great stuff. LMAO. My dad told me that Bell Peppers were Mangoes. There was a rule in checkers that allowed him to win every game. Checkeroo, I win. I started out so fos that it’s a wonder I survived.

    • If I ever expressed distaste for a dish, the next time my dad served it he would say it was the “Lithuanian version.” Maybe lying is just a common parental trait.

  4. Ok I love this… I think you should encourage your mother to put her great adventurous tales to writing. She has all the makings of a good fiction writer:-)

  5. The good news, of course, is that liars make the best storytellers. Everyone knows that. I’m quite the liar too. I got out of detention countless times in elementary school by bending truths and looking adults in the eye while claiming my innocence. Is it our fault that our imaginations are so active and vivid?

  6. My Mother in Law claimed there was no calcium in milk. We believe her, because she’s a trained Aboriculturalist…..And Confectioner. So, clearly, authority on milk.
    Also, her advice on childrearing was to “put your life on hold for ten years or so…”

  7. So… what you’re saying is that this entire post could be a lie and your mother is not actually a liar 🙂
    Very entertaining! I loved it and laughed out loud at Muscadet Sèvre et Maine. I think is actually translates to something like Muscadet weans (or weaned) me, which whilst still amusing does not reach the hilarity level of “fruit of the severed hand” – I so have to steal that one and see if I can pull it off 🙂
    You have a new follower

  8. Congrats on being freshly pressed. It is well deserved. I believe that perhaps I too and a mother–lier. My daughter remembers quite a few, like when she asked if she could go swimming, and I said, “oh, so sorry honey. Aunt Jenny has to give the horses a bath.” She believed me, although Aunt Jenny’s horses were nearly 45 minutes away.

    • Oh, always listen – just be careful what you learn. I liked your line about the swing at the end of your post – “the fall is short” rings true in many lessons my dad taught me.

  9. I’m sorry but your Mother, to me, sounds wonderful! In a whimsical, gypsy story telling sort of way. If you turned out to have her knack for telling little stories (okay, lies) would that be so bad?

  10. Really funny! Disturbing… but funny, nonetheless! Reminded me if WHY as a child I believed a watermelon would grow in your stomach if you swallowed a watermelon seed! Great piece!

  11. It’s so hilarious I promised myself and all my childhood friends I would never be anything like my mother and I absolutely will not have any of her qualities that I hated…… I am 20 and I am already my mother.

  12. LOL Amazing and hilarious story, I am betting you are a blast at parties and have a lot of fun seeing how far along you can string the gullible ones. My eldest twin is great at “spinning yarns”, too and enjoys seeing how far he can take it before his brothers catch on! It is amusing to watch him keep a straight face as he tells the most outrageous stories. Usually he succeeds for a long time until it final ends up with his elder brother or his twin finally catching on and yelling “HEY! You are BS-ing me, aren’t you?!?”

    • I have so many stories even I don’t remember which of them are true 😛 (Your kid sounds like a lot of fun – try to keep him out of politics, though 😉

      • LOL And here I keep hoping I can get him INTO politics! Would be a successful fake out, get him to pretend to be an amoral SOB and get elected to office. Then once he is in office they find out that he is actually highly intelligent, ethical and such a sweet, loving person. Sadly, probably wouldn’t last long. 😉

  13. I absolutely love this! Laughed all the way through it, because I totally relate. I have always been like that with my kids, the funnest part of parenting. I have to tell you my favorite one. We lived in very southern AZ. and our family was down visiting during the winter. My sister says, “One thing we have not done is open and eat coconuts. We need to think of a good story to tell the kids. ” Then she pointed at me, “Not you though, your always telling your kids crazy stuff.” Got the coconuts and we are trying to open them and she asked our Dad if he would tell the story. “We were all in heaven and God said if your good you get to be human beings. ” The whole time he has a coconut behind his back. “But if your bad, you will be HAIRY BALLS”And he pulled that coconut out so fast, and said sadly “He was a bad kid” I laughed so hard
    ! I told my sister, well I come by it honest! May I reblog yiur post? You are an amazing writer also.

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