Lying is bad. Lying is wrong.
Lying is necessary … for parents.
As soon as sperm meets egg and the miracle of life begins, parents are entrusted with a moral get-out-of-jail-free card. In short, parents are allowed to lie as long as it’s in an effort to either save money or sanity.
Funny how both are routinely in jeopardy when I’m the one making the call. I lie to Jellybean a lot, and not just in that yes-Virginia-there-is-a-Santa-Claus, cute type way, but ways that are sadly all too self-serving. And I’m starting to feel a tad guilty.
Take yesterday afternoon for example. Being the noble step-father I aim to be, I agree to cruise through Starbucks to get The Diva a caramel frappachino (and it had nothing to do with my own hankering for an iced coffee). Downside was that our favorite over-priced java house has little in the way of tasty fare for 3-year-olds, but the Krispy Kreme across the street does.
“Can I get a doughnut, Daddy” Jellybean asked in her sweetest voice. “P-L-E-A-S-E!!!!”
How can you say no to that? I couldn’t. I also didn’t want to wait in line and put 89 cents on my debit card for a chocolate covered glazed with sprinkles. So … I lied.
“No honey, we can’t today,” I said, looking over at The Diva for backup. “It’s closed. They aren’t making doughnuts today ‘cause they ran out off sugar and doughnuts without sugar taste yucky.”
There was no need to embellish. And I sensed that Jellybean saw through my ruse. ‘Course it didn’t hurt that the drive-thru was backed up and the parking lot was packed.
“Nuh-uh. No it’s not,” she said as I guiltily drove away. “I see all the people.”
This same tactic always got me busted growing up. I couldn’t leave well enough alone. Just being late for curfew wasn’t good enough. I need a reason … a dramatic reason. I’d go with something along the lines of – I was late because I was rescuing a stray, platinum-covered cat from a building filled with blind orphans (a plot line I might have stolen from an episode of Little House on the Prairie).
Lying always leads to more lying … and on this occasion, it lead to a dozen glazed and one chocolate-covered glazed with sprinkles – thus avoiding the whole 89 cents on my debit card conundrum.
“Wow. It’s a miracle,” I shouted making an illegal u-turn and drawing the ire of a soccer mom in a mini-van hopped up on caffeine rolling out of Starbucks. “Looks like they’re willing to make an exception.”
Once back at home and with Jellybean all hopped up on sugar – looking for something to get into that’ll surely lead to a bath on a no-bath night – she works her way over to the couch with this mischievous grin plastered across her face.
“Daddy, can I play in my sandbox?” she says, looking out the door. “I won’t get dirty. I promise.”
Now that’s a lie – well intentioned, but a lie just the same. My mind races as I struggle for something to say that won’t lead to endless whining and fit-throwing.
“Sorry honey,” I begin, thinking of all the grit and dead leaves lurking in the sandbox, “remember there’s that invisible force field guarded by an evil troll that hides in the … Oh, what the heck. I’ll go out there and play with you.”
I guess sometimes the truth is just more fun.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org
<a href=”http://thealbanyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Brett-Buckner.jpg”><img class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-15348″ title=”Brett Buckner” src=”http://thealbanyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Brett-Buckner.jpg” alt=”" width=”261″ height=”255″ /></a>
<em>Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.</em>