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Mr. Adventure: Could I Go a Week Without Lying?

Well, think about responding to a mate's silly hat and the person wanting to sip your milkshake.

Illustration by Gary Hovland

Before you get too far into this spectacularly crafted word jewel, let me just say that you are the most attractive, charming and well-mannered reader that I have ever met. That’s right, you. What’s that? You say we’ve never met? I find that hard to believe. But if it is true, I certainly hope we can remedy that as soon as possible. Honestly, I find you captivating and nothing would thrill me more than to sit down with you over a nice steak at one of this area’s many fine dining establishments.

    Now, some people, and I’m not naming names, would suggest that the above is an untruth and that I am a morbidly obese spinner of yarns. I would argue that I’m merely polite. While it’s true that there might be other things that would thrill me more than sitting down with you, for all I know you might be Oprah or Warren Buffett or a blank check, and that would be pretty thrilling. So, with that said, even I don’t know if I’m lying.

    You see, it’s those little nuances that make the truth somewhat of a gray area for me. I’m not lying about my age (yet) or my qualifications for this job (although it’s starting to feel that way) or the size of my, you know, house. I’m just being pleasant to you, whoever you are.

    But recently, Mr. Adventure (full disclosure: not my real name) was challenged to go a full week without lying, as though I was a lawyer, a used car salesman or a politician. And though it sounded fairly challenging, the truth is, I don’t really lie much. (Or do I?)

    If I were to tell you I’ve never told a lie in my entire life, you can rest assured that’s a lie. After all, lies are the lubricants that grease the wheels of daily life. It’s reasonable to assume that none of us make it through a single day without some type of fib. Without them, we’d fail to close deals, get out of speeding tickets, or get to use that convenient headache excuse when spouses order the nuclear empanadas.

    But even if lies are the WD-40 to the nuts and bolts of our existence, is it really that hard to stay honest for seven straight days? It’s not like I’m Bernie Madoff or Lance Armstrong. All I had to do was be under oath every minute of every day. Of course, just because you aren’t lying doesn’t mean you have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God. Sometimes less is more.

    Just think about the biggest lie you’ve ever told. Did you lie to your parents about going to the library? Did you tell your best friend you loved the sweater she bought you for Christmas? Did you tell your pastor you weren’t agnostic? Big whoop.

    Personally, I just returned from a shopping excursion with Miss Adventure where I had to tap dance around the question of whether I liked an outfit she’d picked out for an upcoming trip. Normally, Miss Adventure has spectacular taste and can wear a potato sack in public and make it work. But there is a special place in hell for the milliner who thought fascinators were a good idea. (For the uninitiated, fascinators are those little hats that look like teacups affixed to the side of a woman’s head.)

    So there I stood in the fitting area of one of this area’s premier boutiques staring at a stunningly beautiful woman wearing what honestly could have been a feather-covered athletic supporter and I hear it: the moment
I had been dreading since taking on this challenge. “What do you think?”

    Four simple words: “What do you think?”

    What did I think? My mind raced. She was beaming like a baby deer seeing an open meadow for the first time—except with a feathered athletic supporter stapled to the side of her head.

    In these moments, I tend to act as though I didn’t hear the question. It buys me time. “Did I tell you that gas is back to over $4 a gallon?” I ask.

    “Oh, the hat? Well, it might look better on a small dog.”

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