I can never remember which historical figure declared, “I can not tell a lie” and admitted he chopped down the apple tree or the cherry tree or whatever.
Was it Abraham Lincoln? George Washington? George Washington Carver??
Well, whoever said it probably lied again in his lifetime.
Everyone lies, right? I've written about toolbag liars before.
I'm not talking about little white lies, like when you say you’re on your way but really, you’re really running ten minutes late, or telling the server that the beet and goat cheese pizza was good when it was…NOT.
Elliott was a liar and he didn’t just tell little white lies. He was an amazing liar, and would tell the most ridiculous, asinine stories I’ve ever heard.
How did I know Elliott was lying? Because in these stories, he developed super powers.
Like the ability to breathe underwater.
I was over at his house with one of my college roommates, who he had a huge crush on. We were sitting around watching TV when he casually mentioned that he was surfing on the South Carolina coast and got sucked under a big wave, maaan.
He said it was totally scary and the waves kept crashing over him and crashing over him and he was underwater for FOUR MINUTES before he was able to surface.
“You can hold your breath for four minutes?” asked my roommate. (She was a biology major.)
“No, I didn’t hold my breath,” he said, annoyed. “I took in little sips of water and used that for oxygen.”
We both gave him a quizzical look.
“Um, Elliott, you’re not a FISH, you can’t turn water into usable oxygen to breathe,” she said. “You don’t have gills.”
“Yes I did!” he exclaimed. “I totally did, I’m not going to argue about it anymore!!!”
We sat there starting at the TV, awkward, and then I remembered a story Elliott told where he was in a car accident and flipped his car and calmly got out and turned the car rightside up by himself, with just his bare hands, and continued on his road trip to Florida.
"YOU'RE SO STRONG, ELLIOTT!" I'm sure he wanted me to say. I used the word "crazy" instead.
We decided to leave Elliott's house during the next commercial break and caught him in another lie on the way out the door.
He spent the first part of our visit talking about how his brother died and nobody knows why or how he just disappeared total conspiracy theory, and then we saw a letter addressed to his brother, stamped, on Elliott’s front table next to the electric bill and cable bill.
“Isn’t Gary your brother?” my roommate asked. “Why do you have a letter going out to him? In San Diego? You said he lived in Florida.”
“I can’t find the strength to throw it away,” Elliott said from the couch.
We found out later from a mutual friend that Elliott’s brother was alive and well IN SAN DIEGO and WTF is wrong with Elliott??? He has a problem. No one called him again.
I thought about Elliott yesterday when my friend Alyssa told me about an amazing liar she dated.
He was a doorman at a bar in the French Quarter but somehow had a huge, loft apartment and two expensive cars and never explained it.
He told her he had three brain aneurysms, and that he was lucky to be alive, and that she was lucky to be dating him.
“I feel like if he had three brain aneurysms he’d be dead, or at least not be able to drink alcohol,” Alyssa thought. She considered that he had lied to get sympathy.
Joe called Alyssa from his cell phone one night out of the blue and told her he was in London, at a “pub” with his friends.
“What?? When did you decide to go to London?” she asked. They had hung out two days before, and he didn’t mention it.
“Oh, you know, just spur of the moment,” he said. He said he was pretty drunk and hung up quickly. Then he called her the next day.
“I’m back!” he said.
Alyssa googled “world clock” and did the math. If he had really been in London, he would have called her at 7 a.m. his time, and it sounded like he was at a loud, crowded bar. Like one in the French Quarter. At midnight.
“Do you really expect me to believe you were in London last night and are back today?” Alyssa asked. “That 8 hour flight went by really, really fast then?”
He laughed and then said he had to go, and their relationship collapsed, much like a brain artery…during a brain aneurysm.
Or one’s lungs if they try to hold their breath for FOUR minutes.
George Washington would be so disappointed.