The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Thought You Knew: Pointless Lies Bring Exciting, Guiltless Thrill

3 min read

What I’m about to share is either going to make me super relatable to many of you, or it’s going to establish that I’m probably a sociopathic, future serial killer. I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know. Maybe both?
Anyway, sometimes I lie for fun.

I lie about things that don’t matter, just because I can. It’s a victimless crime that leaves me with the unmistakable thrill we all experience when getting away with something we know is wrong.

Though I have to wonder if lying about things no one really cares about to begin with can be considered wrong, or if it’s just stupid and sort of pointless.

I rarely lie during the times it might be appropriate to lie. For instance, when I’m having a bad day and a casual acquaintance asks if everything is okay, I’ll almost always launch into a tirade about how poorly things are going even though all they wanted to hear was “Yeah, I’m just tired.”

On the other hand, when my mom asks me what I had for lunch, sometimes I’ll tell her I had a sandwich, when I actually had a salad. And she believes me!

The best is when she asks me what kind of sandwich I had and, knowing perfectly well that I really had the salad, I answer, “Grilled cheese,” and she believes me again!

When I’m feeling especially bold, I’ll even get more in-depth with my lie.

“It was pretty good, but I think I would have rather had a salad,” I’ll say, laughing at this personal inside joke that probably only Ted Bundy would find hilarious.

I know how dumb that sounds, okay. I get it.

Lying in general is a pretty bad habit, but lying about inconsequential things is downright psychotic.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to lie: lie to protect yourself, lie to protect your last cigarette, lie to protect your friend’s feelings. Those all make sense.

What doesn’t make sense is lying for the sake of lying, yet I find myself doing a lot of the latter and hardly any of the former.

I think this stems from the fact that I’m actually a terrible liar when there’s something at stake beyond being discovered telling lies during meaningless small talk.

Compared to other parents, mine have always been pretty cool, but I did, from time to time, have to resort to the occasional lie in high school. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t quite buy the fact that the “fancy vase” they found in my trunk junior year was in fact a fancy vase (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). Plus they were surprisingly nonchalant about my affinity for fancy vases and surprisingly angrier at me for lying about it.

Now that I’m more or less an adult, my parents really don’t care about any fancy vases that may or may not be in my possession, so there’s no need to lie to them, or anyone else, about anything.

At this point, the only people I can get in trouble with for anything that matters are the police and the thought of having a friendly conversation with the police, let alone lying to them, is putting me on the verge of a panic attack, so it’s safe to assume that if I am ever questioned by the police, I’ll probably confess to everything because I’m easily intimidated and horrible at lying.

I also feel soul-crushing guilt whenever I tell a lie that could have a negative impact on someone else’s life.

This doesn’t make any sense because, as a rule, I don’t really care that much about other people, but I also think, in general, it’s better to tell your friend she looks like shit so she can fix it, rather than protecting her feelings and letting her leave the house looking like a haggard, post-mortem JonBenet Ramsey.

Despite my obvious shortcomings with lying, living a life of honesty after years of cultivating my “skills” at being sneaky and secretive just seems wrong, which brings us to my current predicament. I’ll almost always give you an honest opinion when it matters, but I’m probably never telling the truth when you ask me my favorite flavor of ice cream.