The Human Propensity for Lying

I encountered my first big fat liar at the age of about 12.

I felt that the rest of my family was getting all the mail (apart from on my birthday) so I thought I’d do something about getting my share of the incoming mail increased. I wrote to one of those teenage magazines and advertised for a pen pal.  I got a few replies, one from a boy called Terry who lived up in Scotland. We exchanged some letters getting to know one another (as you do at that age). He was terribly exciting to me as he played the guitar and was in a band with some of his friends. One day – great excitement – a little package appeared in the mail containing a cassette tape (remember them?)
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The tape contained a recording of him and his band playing some tunes. It sounded wonderful. No singing – it was all guitar based but between the tracks there was a little bit of almost indecipherable banter amongst the guys and I’d heard my name mentioned.  I played those bits again and again.

One day I heard a snippet of a tune on the TV that sounded familiar. Now I may be getting on a bit and, right enough, this was a while ago, but the Shadows were a little bit before my time. I think that’s what Terry was counting on.

I found a “Greatest Hits” album at Woollies and brought it home, only to find that most of the tracks on this cassette tape were, in fact, played by good old Hank and his buddies and not (as advertised) dear Terry up in Forfar.

Being the innocent little thing that I was, I was initially puzzled as to how this could be?  Was my penfriend actually Hank Marvin?  Erm … no I don’t think so.  Hank was a little older than 15.  It took quite a while for the penny to drop that I had been had.

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Once the realisation hit, I was cross.  Very cross.  I wrote and told him so in no uncertain, 12 year old, terms.  He didn’t respond.

I wish I could say that was the last time I was that gullible in my life but it wasn’t.  Maybe it’s a psychological flaw in my makeup but I tend to believe what people tell me unless it’s glaringly obvious that it’s a porky pie.  Sarcasm was way over my head for years – I always assume people are telling the truth and just don’t understand outright lies.

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Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I’m an angel and never lie.  Everyone does, whether it be a white lie, a lie by omission or simply telling someone that they look nice when they clearly look as though they’ve just been dragged through a hedge backwards.  Even in this latter situation, I would do my best to tactfully suggest that something changes.  Pretending to be something I’m not or someone I’m not is an alien concept.

Good job I never had designs on the acting profession I guess!

Have you ever told a completely whopper?  If so, why?

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