Teens, When Lying to Your Parents, You Need to Up Your Game

Teens, When Lying to Your Parents, You Need to Up Your Game

[The following true story is based on a time when a good friend of mine’s then 16-year-old daughter tried to wriggle out of several lies she told her parents about a “sleepover” at a friend’s house, which in actuality was a party with several boys and alcohol, while her friend’s parents were out of town for the evening, unaware of what was taking place at their house.]

Hey, teenagers, don’t you hate it when you make up a perfectly good lie to get out of trouble, and your parents refuse to believe you? Well, this just means you need to work on your prevarication skills. Either that, or you could try telling your parents the truth for once. Nah, forget it. That would never work.

Hey, teenagers, don’t you hate it when you make up a perfectly good lie to get out of trouble, and your parents refuse to believe you? Well, this just means you need to work on your prevarication skills. Either that, or you could try telling your parents the truth for once. Nah, forget it. That would never work.

Hey, girl. Wazzup? Sorry to hear your parents busted you over your harmless shindig last weekend at Monica’s house. I can’t believe they completely lost it just because you girls had a few boys join you for your sleepover while her parents were out of town.

You did absolutely nothing wrong – if you overlook the minor fact that you failed to mention that the get-together would include boys… and alcohol… and weed… and cops. It was all just an unfortunate misunderstanding. It could have happened to anybody.

Parents are so lame, right? With all their Nazi rules about showing them respect and cleaning your room and telling you to get off your phone even though you’ve only been on it for an hour and a half, and not letting you do sleepover parties with boys, beer pong, and weed. So unfair, I agree.

Hey, next time you plan to make up a fiction to conceal your plans for an epic underage beer bash, perhaps you should invest a little more time on your fake backstory to avoid getting caught. Let’s go over what happened, and just maybe, we can piece together where your deception went off the rails.

Before you headed out on your weekend of teenage debauchery, I liked the way you chose to compliment your parents, even though they probably found it a bit odd, given it was the first time you had said anything nice to them in ten months. But when you said, “Mom, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you look so pretty,” it might have come off sounding a tad bit more credible had you not told her this while she still had her hair in curlers and her face slathered in Noxzema skin cream. Just saying.

Then, when you were at Monica’s house, remember how your mom texted you, asking for her parents’ names and phone number in case of emergency? I applaud your fast thinking, given that Monica’s parents were in Chicago, 1,800 miles away, with no idea of the party you girls were instigating. But perhaps you shouldn’t have panicked and given your mom the phone number of your friend Chad, who was also at the party.

Who could have possibly foreseen that your mom might then call that very same phone number to ask Monica’s parents if they’d like her to bring a homemade dessert for the sleepover. Imagine your mom’s confusion when Chad, doing his best middle-aged dad impersonation, lowered his voice an octave and replied, “Nah, thanks, girl. But we’re chill. The girls are having a crazy’ lit’ time. Later, gator.”

Then, do you remember what happened when your mom asked Monica’s dad if there would be any alcohol served at this sleepover? Drawing a blank? Let me refresh your memory. Dad, er Chad, explained, “No way, mom. I made sure to lock up all the good stuff in the fridge.” Can you see how that might have elevated your mom’s anxiety ever so slightly?

Do you notice anything missing from this photo of a party of teenagers? If you guessed, “Where are the parents?”, you’re a winner. These underage kids are having a fun time chillaxing with 45 of their closest friends. If you ask me, they’re just having good clean fun – and perhaps just a little too much tequila.

Do you notice anything missing from this photo of a party of teenagers? If you guessed, “Where are the parents?”, you’re a winner. These underage kids are having a fun time chillaxing with 45 of their closest friends. If you ask me, they’re just having good clean fun – and perhaps just a little too much tequila.

Then barely twenty seconds after she got off the phone from Dad/Chad, she called you, remember? She asked you, “How old is Monica’s dad? He sounds rather young.” Then your brain misfired, and you blurted out, “Monica’s dad can’t talk now. He had to go to work.” 

If I have my notes correct, it was around 10:45pm when your mom shocked you by showing up at Monica’s house, because you had forgotten your sleeping bag. Imagine her dismay when she learned that apparently both parents had to leave the house suddenly for work emergencies – and would not, according to you, be home for another two hours.

If you ask me, it is entirely plausible that there might be a work emergency at 10:45pm on a Saturday night – especially for Monica’s dad, who is an accountant, not to mention for her stay-at-home mom. Like you, I would have been furious at your mom for not believing your lies. The fact that she feels she can’t trust you is totally her fault.

That’s about the time when your mom, walking through the front door, noticed that there were six boys on the premises. I think you almost had her convinced when you made up that narrative about how the entire group of them had just stopped by moments before, asking for help with their geometry homework. Too bad your mom could not hear your very believable explanation over the six 16-year-olds boys singing and dancing along to K-pop songs by BTS blaring on the karaoke machine at 160 decibels.

I also have to applaud your quick cerebration when your mom saw the beer keg on the back patio. I’m not sure I would have been as imaginative as you to come up with your almost convincing fabrication that Monica’s dad had bought it for a neighborhood block party later that week. I think your mom would have fallen for it, had it not been for your idiot friend Troy, who unwittingly approached her and said, and I quote, “Hey, you must be Monica’s mom. I thought you were in Chicago. Welcome back. Care for a brewski? Or are you more of a Tequila mom?” I understand now why Troy had to repeat 9th grade.

Where are the parents, you ask? On a weekend visit to Chicago. But don’t worry. Their 16-year-old daughter Monica promised them she’d just have a quiet sleepover with a couple friends. She’ll even vacuum the house. Such a responsible girl.

Where are the parents, you ask? On a weekend visit to Chicago. But don’t worry. Their 16-year-old daughter Monica promised them she’d just have a quiet sleepover with a couple friends. She’ll even vacuum the house. Such a responsible girl.

Still, I bet this would have all blown over, had it not been for the two cop cars that pulled up in response to a neighbor’s complaint about the ruckus. Who knew that police dogs could detect the smell of pot so quickly? Impressive. Too bad your mom didn’t buy your next anecdote about how you had no idea what it was and thought it was some sort of seasoning to add flavor to your salad. A valiant Hail Mary try, girl.

I’m relieved to hear the cops let all of you off with just a warning. But I’m sorry your parents have grounded you for two months. I guess that means you’ll miss the secret rave party at Jessica’s house next weekend – I mean, the all-nighter where just girls will all be working on that science fair team project. I hope your mom changes her mind. You might start by complimenting her on her cooking. Good luck.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

The Truth About Lying

The Truth About Lying

People lie all the time. Take this couple that recently met through an online dating app. She told him she’s an aspiring actress (she waits tables at Red Lobster). He told her he’s a hedge fund manager (he’s a day trader living in his parents’ basement). And this article recently won a Pulitzer Prize for outstanding investigative journalism.

People lie all the time. Take this couple that recently met through an online dating app. She told him she’s an aspiring actress (she waits tables at Red Lobster). He told her he’s a hedge fund manager (he’s a day trader living in his parents’ basement). And this article recently won a Pulitzer Prize for outstanding investigative journalism.

I have a PhD in psychology and four years of medical school under my belt. I played major league baseball for the Phillies back in the 80s. And I recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The reason I rarely mention any of these incredible achievements is because they’re all lies. None of these happened – except for the bit about playing for the Phillies. But I only lasted one season, so hardly worth mentioning.

You see, I’m a professional liar. I make my living by lying, by which I mean humor writing. Last year alone I grossed $3 million as a humor writer. (It’s possible that the previous sentence was a slight exaggeration.) So, when it comes to deceiving others, trust me. I know what I’m talking about.

Everybody lies – unless you’re a dog. Dogs rarely lie – unless they can blame it on the cat. Actually, dogs lie all the time – on the couch, on the bed… But we humans deceive without even thinking. Case in point: When my wife asked if I liked her blouse, I gushed “Oh yeah!” That was a bold-faced lie. I hate the color mauve. (Or was it a bald-faced lie? Or barefaced? Beats me.) My point is that people lie – all the time. But why?

Lying is as old as mankind. Harvard researchers believe the first documented fabrication took place over 20,000 years ago, as evidenced by a cave painting depicting a man extending his arms wide to indicate the size of the fish that got away. (Okay, I fibbed. It was actually University of Phoenix researchers, but Harvard sounded so much more impressive. My bad.)

Our country was founded on falsehoods, starting with George Washington, who famously uttered, “I cannot tell a lie. I did cut the cherry tree.”  Well, turns out that story was fake news. It never happened!

Scientists believe early man may have looked something like this. They also think he probably lied as a way to gain an advantage over his adversary. But there’s one thing that this caveman would not lie about: You can save 15% on your car insurance with Geico.

Scientists believe early man may have looked something like this. They also think he probably lied as a way to gain an advantage over his adversary. But there’s one thing that this caveman would not lie about: You can save 15% on your car insurance with Geico.

People mislead and falsify to gain advantage over others or collect unjust rewards, such as Bernie Madoff with his Ponzi Scheme, or Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, or me anytime I  golf with my buddy Kevin. But in my defense, I only cheat when we’re playing for money.

Some people lie to exaggerate their achievements and inflate their image. To explain this increasingly common phenomenon, read any random tweet at: @realdonaldtrump

Sometimes people prevaricate to cover up bad behavior, like during the 2016 Summer Olympics, when American swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed he was robbed at gunpoint at a gas station. In reality, he was drunk and urinated outside a gas station bathroom where he got caught in the act by a security guard. Lochte used extremely poor judgment. He should have bribed the guard to back up his cock and bull story with free passes to his Olympic swimming events. Problem solved.

From my own extensive investigations, I’ve concluded that spreading disinformation is deeply woven into our DNA. In a typical day, Americans lie six times. The average Frenchman lies ten times. And the Russians? 37 times. Or you could just pick a number – like I just did above because I ran out of time to research it.

A Danish study on the human proclivity to deceive found that kids master this skill as early as three years of age, usually to avoid punishment or gain favor. This just shows that Danish kids must be developmentally delayed, because my kids had figured out how to lie to my face by eleven months.

We dupe our co-workers, our friends, and even our kids – but often for very good reasons. Parents perpetuate the Santa Claus myth to fill their children with glee (I still can’t fathom how he gets by our burglar alarm system). Kids tell tall tales to test their independence. And God forbid we should hurt someone’s feelings by saying what we really think. And I lie to my wife about my back acting up again to get out of mowing the lawn. My point is these are all perfectly good reasons.

While people have been mendacious ever since Eve told Adam, “Try the apple. It’s perfectly safe,” it appears that our vulnerability to dissembling has never been greater than it is right now, thanks in part to social media, Chinese hackers, and my dentist, who said repairing my crown wouldn’t hurt a bit.

Our ability as a society to separate fact from fiction is under unprecedented attack. For example, I just read a 500-page book that says that 75% of Facebook posts containing a political message have factual inaccuracies – which, of course, is a lie – I’m way too lazy to read a 500-page book. But it’s true that much of what you see on the internet is an exaggeration or an outright falsity. I just read a post on Twitter by some dude claiming – wait for it – that he’s directly related to Jesus. Ludicrous! Who concocts this kind of nonsense? Um, wait a minute. Now that I think about it, that might have been me.

Researchers have discovered that many people are highly prone to believe even the most outrageous lies, even when they are unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. These people are easy to spot. Just look for the red MAGA hat.

Researchers have discovered that many people are highly prone to believe even the most outrageous lies, even when they are unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. These people are easy to spot. Just look for the red MAGA hat.

Some people’s jobs require them to lie. These people are known as Members of Congress. Others who deceive as part of their work include spies, lawyers, and anyone in the claims department of a health insurance provider. On the other hand, some people delude others (and themselves) because they simply can’t tell the difference between a lie and the truth. These people are called President Trump.

Every day, most of us are on the receiving end of a barrage of dishonest, disingenuous comments – sometimes from people we trust deeply. What can be done to stop this epidemic? To find out, simply buy my best-selling, award-winning advice book, The Lies About Truth.

But there is one thing you can bank on with 100% assurance. And that is that I care about you, dear reader, very deeply. I consider you my best friend. If you could just email me your bank information and social security number, I would like to make a large deposit into your checking account to show you how much your friendship means to me. And that’s the truth.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Always lie to your kids

Always lie to your kids

Lie to your kids - RachelI love my kids. That’s why, when they were young, I made a point to lie to them every chance I could. As any experienced parent knows, you need to lie to your young, impressionable children to help prepare them for their lives as adults – and to help you forge a trusting relationship with them.

Parents who care about their young children start lying to them early in their formative development – ideally while their offspring are still in the womb. Don’t wait until they’re in middle school. By then your chronic pattern of honest communication will likely have caused irreparable damage.

There are many reasons we adults lie to each other: to get out of cleaning the garage despite your wife’s nagging about it for the past three months; to deny that you scarfed down the last piece of your wife’s birthday cake; or maybe to hide the fact that you were really golfing when I, er, I mean you, told the wife you were helping a buddy move. Of course, there are also bad reasons for lying, but at the moment, they escape me.

But when it comes to children, caring parents know that lying is a way to avoid crushing their kids’ self-esteem. It’s not your job to destroy your child’s hopes and dreams by dispelling the myths of their childhood. That’s their future therapist’s responsibility. Your job is to keep telling your kids whatever you need to, to get them to behave, brush their teeth and maybe, just maybe, not kill the family cat, Bonkers.

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