Tag Archives: guilt

We Asked People to Tell Us About the Most Elaborate Lie They Ever Told

People lie for a lot of reasons: it helps them appear cool, gets them laid, helps avoid trouble, and controls the way others perceive them. But as any teenager with a boyfriend who goes "to another school" will tell you, lying can be hard work. The bigger the lie, the faster things can get completely, hilariously out of hand. We asked people to tell us about the most elaborate lies they've ever told, and their answers might make you rethink that "sick day" you were planning to take on Friday.

Progress Retort

It was the day before I knew I was going to get a terrible progress report, and I was willing to do anything to avoid going to school. My dad was an ER nurse and had a lot of medical textbooks laying around the house, so I spent a few hours reading up on the symptoms of appendicitis. On the morning of, I woke up complaining of a pain in my lower right side. My mom knew progress reports were due, and she called my bluff—but I was committed. After school, I continued to complain about the pain, adding in details I'd read about tell-tale signs of appendicitis. My mom still didn't believe me. I was lying on the couch complaining about my fake pain when my baby cousin accidentally smacked her arm on my stomach, and I let out a howl. My aunt was alarmed by this, and told my mom to take me to the hospital immediately.

When we got there, I was immediately admitted after I told them a detailed list of my symptoms. I had to get an enema, and I had to be poked with every kind of needle for blood work. Even though they found nothing in the test results, they decided to do emergency surgery to remove my appendix anyway since I was in "so much pain." There was no way for me to turn back—and my mom felt awful for not believing me. I was in too deep. Instead of being grounded for a bad progress report, I had an unnecessary, invasive surgery and weeks of painful recovery. - Isabelle, 33

Faint Praise

I was supposed to go with my mom to visit my grandma for the weekend, but I really didn't want to go. I'd hoped that she'd leave me at home alone. My constant complaining did nothing to move her, so I made the logical choice to fake a fainting spell in the middle of my French class the day we were supposed to leave.

After practicing with my friends the night before, I waited until there was a lull in conversation and collapsed onto the floor in the most dramatic way possible. The entire class freaked out as I laid still on the floor until my teacher ran over and frantically shook me "awake." Instead of sending me straight to the nurse's office, she dragged me out into the hallway and berated me for having what she thought was an eating disorder. She told me I "looked like the kind of girl who would stop eating because it's fashionable," and grilled me for 15 minutes on everything I'd eaten that day before finally sending me to the nurse. Sadly, my apparently failing health made my mother more determined not to let me out of her sight for the weekend, so off to grandma's we went. - Amanda, 27

Yoyo a No Go

I was 20 years old and working a shitty cook job in Austin, Texas, when I read about a music festival—the first ever Yoyo a Go Go—happening in Olympia, Washington. I had to go, but I knew work wouldn't allow me to take off an entire week, so I came up with a simple lie about a family-related emergency, knowing full well I'd have to tell another when I couldn't get back on time. On the Monday I was supposed to return, I was still AWOL; by Wednesday, they were calling my emergency contacts, so I needed some explanation. At this point, I recognized I was likely not coming home to a job, so I decided to go huge and tell the Mother of All Whoppers.

I called my roommate and fed him the following story to tell my manager: During my two days home, I'd gotten into a scuffle with some skinheads, and they'd kidnapped me. That was it. They were keeping me in an undisclosed location and the authorities had been notified, but there was no way to know when I'd be released. 

When I finally got back to Austin, I knew I had a few checks waiting for me at the restaurant, but I was worried about picking them up for obvious reasons. When I finally went in to pick up my money, everyone froze—and then they started cheering like I was a conquering hero returning from the battlefield. They'd all been so worried about me! The manager asked if I could start again the next day; I said yes and worked there another year. No one ever asked for the details of my skinhead kidnapping, and to this day I don't know if it's because they could see through the bullshit, didn't care, or thought it might be triggering. - Sean, 42

Exam Scam

I didn't prepare for an important final exam, and needed to come up with something quick. On the way to class, I pulled over on the highway until a cop showed up. My registration was expired, and I figured now was a good time to deal with it. When an officer arrived, I told him my car had broke down, and copped to needing new registration. He filled out a report, I had my working car towed to a garage where it was inspected, and I drove home. The next day, I showed my professor the police report, and it got me the extension. It was the last day of finals, too, so I got an extra two months to take the exam. - Jim, 25

Smokey McJenner

My awful friend Jenny invited me and two other friends to a small birthday dinner at a fancy restaurant. We got there on time, but she was an hour late (again, she's awful). Half an hour into dinner, her boss showed up with Brody Jenner and his laughably big entourage in tow. (Jenny does PR for a shitty nightclub, and Brody was doing a DJ set there later that night.) Jenny's boss invited her to come sit with them, and she did, leaving us by ourselves because there was no room at Brody's table.

By this point, we were obviously pissed. Jenny had reserved a table with bottle service for us at her shitty club for post-dinner drinks, but there was no way in hell we were going to that after being ditched. When we'd finished eating, we told Jenny we would meet her at the club. Instead, we went to a different bar.

Jenny called and texted us 50 times each. She was alone at the reserved table at her workplace on her birthday. The next day, when she demanded an explanation, I texted her to say we'd been arrested and ticketed for smoking weed in an alley behind the restaurant (?!?!), and that's why we never made it. She didn't believe me, and we haven't spoken since. - Jane, 26

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How Guilty Should I Feel?

I often feel guilt when I assign a story. This is partly a function of being a woman who would, if she had her way, please and comfort her entire universe of acquaintances, and partly a function of having been convinced at a relatively young age by the argument that Janet Malcolm famously made in The Journalist and the Murderer: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”

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