Memoir of a Liar

Chapter First: I am Introduced to the Reader, Lose my Job, and Turn out to be a Compulsive Liar

It can be fairly judged at this point in time that I am not the hero of this memoir, and I state this with the certainty that the reader will, once these chapters have been perused, agree with this opinion, which is not mine alone, but the consensus of my entire family. I am not heroic.

Either my mother, or my father, or the both of them, must have been less than truthful with one another at the time of my conception, for it is an irrefutable truth that I have been, and always will be, a liar.

If the reader has already, after less than a hundred words, taken offense at the styling of these sentences, I am not a bit sorry, for it is an unyielding law of literature, laid down over many centuries of tedious accounts of great lives, that every memoir shall begin with long, barely comprehensible, and extremely tiresome sentences, the purpose of which is to lend grandeur and dignity to what is truly an insignificant segment of the infinite line of time.

Since I am, as I have stated above, a liar, the reader will justly wonder whether this account is entirely fictitious. If there be any doubt in your mind, honest reader, I advise you to stop reading immediately and find something more useful to do with your time.

But let me not break another commandment of literature: “Thou shalt never begin at the beginning.” Instead, writers are advised to jump ‘in medias res,’ after all the tedious things that readers generally skip over. And so, impatient reader, proceed at your own risk:  

Friday, July 23

I quit my job today. Or perhaps I was fired. What I really mean is, sometimes I can’t keep my lies straight.

Actually, it is a good thing that I quit/was fired. People don’t like being lied to, even if the lie is inconsequential. My lies don’t cost anyone money, or send jobs overseas, or add much to the demise of Western civilization.

But liars are painted as sociopaths. As if the rest of humanity doesn’t tell lies!

As far as the job goes, I am not concerned about the lack of income. My family has lots of money, even if I don’t. They may have banned me from attending Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at their homes, but they still send me presents. I assume that they will not let me starve.

My mother believes it is entirely her fault that I am a sociopathic liar. She feels that she didn’t pay enough attention to me when I was small, due to the brattiness of my older brother and the birth of my younger sister. She says that I lie to get noticed. We middle children always crave attention, but never feel we deserve it.

My sister once suggested that I make things up because I’m paranoid. She is partly right. I don’t like divulging much about myself to strangers, so I invent ‘facts’ — colleges, spouses, kids, jobs, hobbies — everything. It’s like writing twenty novels simultaneously, all with different backstories, characters and plots.

I exaggerate. I don’t know twenty people to lie to, at least not concurrently.

My name is the most interesting thing about me. My mother named me after the artist M.C. Escher, who was Dutch and possibly a distant cousin of some even more distant relative of ours.

I used to tell people that we were Afrikaans because it sounds more interesting than being Dutch, which only suggests wooden shoes and windmills. I even learned a few words of that language in case anyone wanted to hear me speak it.

I am so unremarkable in appearance that I am frequently overlooked. I am a non-presence. When I enter a room, people look around to see who just left. If I speak, conversations end. I have anti-charisma.

Other than an aptitude for languages and an extensive vocabulary, I have few talents. I take pleasure in little besides reading and writing.

I have never held a job. (Yes, I was lying when I said I was fired. I thought it might make me a more sympathetic character, but I fear that anyone who has read this far is closing the book even as they read these words–

Chapter Second: I Begin Writing This Memoir and Realize that My Life is Tedious. What I Ate for Breakfast Yesterday. My Grocery List. Doing Laundry.

Chapter Third: I Make another Attempt to Infuse some Suspense, am Kidnapped by Gypsies (or Pirates) and am Unmasked as a Despicable Liar Once More

Chapter Fourth: I Conclude that Everyone has Stopped Reading, and Turn my Talents to Something Less Idiotic

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Everett
    Jul 24, 2010 @ 22:03:35

    I hope chapter two through four come to realizations. This had me laughing pretty strongly. Idiotic would be the opposite thing of mentioning. Please continue and rise the anticipation. I dare you.

    Reply

  2. Beth
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 21:08:11

    There’s no way of knowing if you’re really a compulsive liar, just as you won’t know for sure if I am. But I really am. My lies started as inconsequential, but they’ve torn my family apart. Half the time I want to get help, half the time I’d rather continue lying, because it’s so easy. Ugh.

    Reply

    • escher dax
      Aug 04, 2010 @ 21:33:00

      I lied. I’m not really a compulsive liar.
      But I guess I’d say that in any case.
      I would not have said that lying is easy; once you start, it takes a lot of energy to keep track of the lies. Like drafting a novel, trying to keep track of what you said in chapter 3…

      Reply

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