At dinner with a friend last night, I came to a realization about our generation/people below the poverty line/recent grads/just people, in general, probably. I casually mentioned the harmless lie I was cooking in order to bail out on a job offer I decided sucked, and my friend Nik in turn regaled me with the foundations of a creeping sickness he was laying at work in order to call in sick today. And then it hit me: I tell an absolute truckload of harmless – and, really, pointless – lies.
To be clear, we’re not talking about big lies here, or lies that really affect anyone in any meaningful way. These aren’t even “my grandma died”-level lies, perhaps (at least in my case) because of a healthy respect for karma and “bad joojoo.” The lies I refer to are so insignificant, they hardly even warrant feeling bad about telling them.
For instance, the lie I responded to this job offer with. Frequent readers will remember that I was offered a summer gig as the Arts Counselor at Black Bear Lake Day Camp. The pay was scant ($8.25 an hour, be real) but the hours were regular and real-jobbish, which I thought made it worthwhile. Then, as I went further down that sunburnt rabbit-hole, I realized that this job was going to lay a LOT of responsibility and hard work on my shoulders. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But if I’m going to be planning a curriculum for 8 groups of kids a day, 5 days a week for 8 weeks, and I’m going to be the go-to for any youthful meltdowns (trust me, they will occur) and making sure all these kids complete their project with no tears, injuries, maimings, or delay week after week, and according to the bosses it will be expected of me to go in outside of camp hours to keep things clean, organized, and prepped… well, if I’m responsible for all that, I’m going to require a helluva lot more than $8.25 an hour (minus taxes) and A/C.
Well, I coalesced the realization of all this a few days ago, and then had only to break the news. An honest person might have just explained all this to the nice folks over at BBL, but it just seemed easier and more face-saving to lie. So I said they’d made me full-time at my job and it pays more, so, duh. They probably saw through it, and rightly think I’m a dick, but at least I went to the trouble to make up a lie! Similarly, Nik’s bosses probably suspected something fishy when he fell ill today, but at least he put on a good show about it, right?
It’s the same as when someone asks you to hang out, and you say you’re at work because you don’t want to. Or your job calls you in, and you claim you have to work at your other job (the ONE perk of multiple jobs.) Why do we do this? Are these simply lies of convenience or some minor form of consideration, or are we just not mature enough to own up to our true motivations? I have no answers, though if I did I’d probably lie to keep them from you.