Height, weight, age, distance, time, money, dates… there are all kinds of numbers that might come up in conversation or on a form that, well, you just don’t feel like sharing.
Look, I know I told you that I had X number of slices of pizza. But just so you know, I actually had X+2 number of slices. I didn’t immediately grab X+2 slices, I made sure most people had petered out before I went back for the +2. I’m not a thoughtless monster, just an insatiable pizza pit. Honestly, I simply cannot be satisfied by X slices of pizza anymore and in actuality, it’s kind of rude of you for not noticing. If you were really going to be the pizza supervisor, you should have gotten out in front of these kinds of possibilities.
I would never even consider lying about my marathon time, and yet, when it comes to correctly estimating or conveying the time it might take me to travel other distances, I can be, well, somewhat unreliable. When I am already late and text you “I’ll be there in 5,” it could be anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. While it’s inconsiderate, I hope you know that I’m truly hurrying. And that in exchange for my tardiness and lying, I’m also jogging at every intersection, mildly sweating, and reminding myself to leave earlier.
Sometimes my up-all-night face is a dead giveaway, but other times I can hide how many hours of sleep I didn’t get. Lying awake for hours with racing thoughts is one of the shittiest side effects of anxiety, so I often tell friends, family, and co-workers that I slept a full eight hours when I only got maybe two winks. Why bother giving my mom anxiety because of my own anxiety? I slept great, Mom, thanks!
I’ve lied plenty of times about, and by means of, a wide variety of numbers. It were for me an easier question to answer whether there are any numbers that I haven’t lied about. In that case, it would have to be my address. I’d only ever lie about my address if the world met with another Unabomber. My age, my income, the holes in my jeans, the holes in my wallet, my share of friends, the books on my shelves have all been the subject of my lies. It should be noted that I don’t lie to misrepresent or to harm; but when I have ventured to steer away from the cold and lonely truth. It has been so that I—if only for a moment—may seem—to myself or to those around me—to be funny. Six out of ten times it works.
I lie about how many alcoholic beverages I consume in a week on medical questionnaires. I see the inherent judgment. The categories from which to choose are always bizarre, and don’t reflect reality, and were not crafted by someone with a job, kids, or access to the news. And, I mean, who has 1 to 3 drinks per week? I don’t want to be friends with that person.
My dick size. Obviously.
Most recently, when I responded to this email by saying:
Hi, I’m Mikael Johnson, I’m 34, 5’11″, 175 lbs. I have had (2) lovers in my life—my high school/college girlfriend, to which afterwards, I slept with no one until 15 years later, when I met the mother of my daughter. My yearly income is $85,000, and I own (1) property, along with owning (1) car. I played professional baseball in Europe for (2) teams, for which I was generously paid on (2) occasions. I am currently sober from drugs and alcohol, and in my attempts to get sober, only had (2) relapses. Fortunately, the road to sobriety was paved with (0) arrests and only (1) rehab center. My life has been a mosaic of experiences, that I recently decided to put into a book (my second), entitled, A Million Little Pieces; But Who’s Counting?
I love talking about how little money I have but the truth is, I’m a great saver. I save more than I spend. Which is so not ~*cool*~. I will hound you for the bar tab, the vacation tab, the restaurant tab. I will make sure everyone has paid their correct amount because I want to pay the correct amount. Which is so ~*annoying*~. But I find it annoying that so many of my friends are fiscally irresponsible, and I wind up paying more for their tequila sodas, which I didn’t drink. I slave away over my grocery list, my crock pot, my budget to make sure I’m saving up for… something. I don’t know what exactly my goal is, but how dare you take me away from it with your bad math and your flippant nature towards your bank account.
Well, now that my answer to the age question is “immortal,” the only thing I might lie about is how many cookies did I eat. If it’s an odd number, I’m lying straight out because I do most everything in multiples of 2. If I say 4, I’m lying to myself because it was probably more like 6.