Asymmetrical Information - Megan McArdle

01.18.13

Friday Forum: What's the Biggest Lie You've Ever Told?

The bigger, the better

In light of the Te'o story, this week I'm inviting readers to share their own whoppers.  I'll share one that may not be the biggest lie I've ever told, but is certainly the most mortifying.  

When I was a wee young thing of 14, a friend of mine had a huge crush on a boy we knew.  (I know: amazing plot twist!)  That boy, who I'll call "Tom", was best friends with another boy, call him "Harry", who happened to be dating another friend of mine.  We conceived of an absurd plan to get him to ask my friend--um, "Jane"--out.  I would call him up and point out that despite their nominal boyfriend-girlfriend status, Harry and my friend . . . er, Mary . . . never actually, y'know, went out.  And that we should rectify this by getting them on a double date.  With, naturally, Tom and Jane.  

Got all that?  Now I remember why we needed so much free time in high school.  It must have taken hours to have every conversation.  

So I paced back and forth in front of the phone for a while, practicing my speech, and then when we decided that I had gotten it absolutely perfect, I finally called up Tom.  And like all bad liars, immediately gave into the urge to embellish.  

"So I was talking to Anne," I said, naming a girl who both Tom and I were very good friends with, and then launched into my spiel: thwarted romance, jump start, blind date.  I hadn't quite gotten to the subject of who the blind date should be when he cut me off.  

"That's interesting," he said.  "Guess who I've got on the other line?"  

You, have already guessed, haven't you, dear reader?  I didn't, not until he said "Anne!"  Anne, who would undoubtedly have gone along with our scheme, had I only thought to clue her in on it.  There was a dreadful silence as he said "Hang on a minute", and switched over to Anne.

i don't remember how the conversation ended and I got off the phone, which is really a pity, because I bet that would have made an even funnier punchline.  I do remember that I was absolutely drowning in shame . . . indeed, a fiery red streak is even now burning its way up my neck.  This is why no one should be allowed to watch romantic comedies until they have safely reached their majority.  They give you some terribly dangerous ideas.

But my early shame was nothing compared to what I felt when I realized that he would naturally assume that I had been working up to proposing myself for his date.  I'm frankly a bit surprised that I ever returned to school.  

Tom, who was a very, very nice boy, never said a word about it again.  And I devoutly hope that he has now forgotten it.  But I certainly never will.  

So what about you, reader?  What's the most entertaining, outrageous, or awful whopper you've ever told?  If you want to detach the answer from your Livefyre account, you can email it to me at mcmeganmoney@gmail.com