It’s strange, but failures are always much more interesting than success
Which is nice, because the failures seem to come much more often than the successes.
(I feel like I’ve written this exact thing before, but maybe I’ve just thought it.)
I hate people who tell stories with the intention of bragging on the sly. It irks me in an irrational way. Tell me you were involved in a hit-and-run with an elderly woman and I’ll think better of you than slipping in a story about how smart such-and-such person thought you were.
And that’s when a person tells the truth. Better to pour salt in an infant’s eye than exaggerate or invent a story for your own benefit.
But I’m not a stickler for honesty. In fact, a good lie is sometimes appropriate. The whole issue is motivation. Some things a person is justified in lying about. Some times it’s proper.
I’ll try one example.
“In college, I did so well in history classes, the social sciences department gave me an award.”
Dick move. Douchebag fag.
But wait! There’s more.
“Anyway, there was this ceremony we all had to go to and we sat in the crowd and went up to the stage whenever our names were called to get the award. There were tons of awards. Students and staff from every department, most of their friends, some parents. Auditorium was packed.
“So after half an hour, an hour, I get my name called, I get up, and I trot up toward the stage. People are clapping, my professor is standing at the top of the steps with the plaque, and I smile at him and reach my hand out then all of a sudden the step disappears below my right root and jumps up into my left knee. The applause patters to a stop and there’s a collective groan as I tumble to the floor.
“I pop up, smile sheepishly, and give everyone the thumbs up, then they laugh as my professor bends down to hand me the award and I go back to my seat and slide down as far as I can.”
Well anyway, I’m done. The point I was going for is that any lie that helps make a story better is a good one, and when the point of telling a story is to entertain, it should be done. When there are too many fibs or they become too absurd without compensatory entertainment, these are bad lies.
Better if you don’t have to lie, but good if you do and still no one cares.
It’s the embarrassing, awkward, would-be-tragic-if they-weren’t-so-silly things that make life worth living in retelling. At least that’s what I tell myself whenever they happen.