"We gotta go to the graveyard for mother's day," I complain.
"I've got some kind of bug. I keep puking," I mention to strangers.
"That fat bitch punched my mom in the face. It's like the Jerry Springer show around here," I tell my boss.
"The rats in my basement would laugh at those little mousetraps."
Why do I feel the need to confess to the helpful employees at Lowe's?
"I think you freaked that guy out," says my friend.
"I can't believe you keep telling people about the rat problem," says my husband.
"Not their feet, or their sweaty balls, but just the proportion of fat guys is so hot." My girlfriends squeal. It's true. I'm attracted to fat guys.
I hear myself busting out with these confessions, these self-important half-truths, as if by voicing them, they would be less personal. Like I'm creating an objective distance where we can all just laugh about it. Like I'm testing out the sound of the words on an audience. Or maybe I just feed off the negative attention.
In college I collected a list of the lies I had been telling strangers. I wish I still had it. Its astonishing when you see your own bullshit written down. The lies seem so arbitrary, so unnecessary and unflattering. Things like, "That was back when my mom was a junkie." and "You can adjust the geometry to weld BMX frames. I do it all the time" What was I trying to achieve? I lied because I could. These people don't know me, might as well give them something to remember.
In high school this guy sketched little caricatures of every person in our class. I had 2 dots for eyes inside my round wire-rimmed glasses. My round head floated atop an oversized t-shirt. The bubble coming out of my mouth was one of my signature mini-monologues: "You never really know if you're straight until you've had a homosexual encounter. And I KNOW I'm straight."
How can a person be so self-conscious, yet so sweetly out of touch with their own invented persona?