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How to Tell the Perfect Lie

December 9, 2010

I lead a pretty uneventful life, unless you count the time I met John Cusack on a plane going to Oklahoma City. I was surprised he was sitting in coach (I guess making movies like America’s Sweethearts doesn’t equal high dollar living), but we hit it off and ended up rescuing a group of chimps from a research lab in OKC.

See? That was a total lie, except the part where I said I lead an uneventful life. Oh, and I have been to Oklahoma City. It’s really flat and their idea of a tree is a scrubby little shrub.

What we have here is the art of telling the perfect lie. I’m not talking about telling a lie to your parents about what you did over Spring Break, but just leading your friends on for the pure enjoyment of watching them freak out. Making up stories is an art form, and one that can be learned and executed by almost anyone. Here are a few tips for how you can wow people with impressive stories, and then crush their dreams by telling them it was all a lie.

Keep it Simple(ish)

Anyone who has the ability to make up elaborate stories on the spot will tell you that the key to leading people on is not to go too big. This is a time when the saying “go big or go home” does not apply. You want to be impressive, but not too outrageous. So make it fun, but make sure it’s something that is actually possible. Don’t tell your friends that you once interviewed Muhammed Ali for Sports Illustrated, because they’ll know that’s not possible. Instead, tell them you once interviewed Lebron James when he was still in high school and entire cities didn’t hate him.

Grain of Truth

Make sure there is just a small bit of truth in your story. So if your favorite show of all time is Two and a Half Men (shame on you, by the way), then maybe mix in a little “I was watching Two and a Half Men when all of a sudden…” It makes it more believable if people can pinpoint at least one part of the story that they know is true.

Don’t Overact

Unless you’re a naturally expressive person, using your hands a lot and gesturing wildly, don’t try to prove your story’s validity by being overzealous. Just act natural and and keep cool, man. Keep it cool.

Don’t Seem too Impressed With Your Own Story

If you’re nonchalant about the whole thing, then everyone will believe that you really did work for Barnum and Bailey Circus for a summer in college. Maybe even downplay it and say you just shoveled elephant poop, except for the one time they let you walk the tightrope when the regular guy fell and broke his leg. If you get too excited and impressed with your own story, then no one except the most gullible people will believe you. And the goal here is to fool everyone, even the most hardened of fellow liars, into believe that you really did shovel dung for the Greatest Show on Earth.

And that’s about it! Practice these tips and you, too, will be able to wow your friends into believing that you once climbed a redwood tree in California during a hail storm, all in an effort to save a bear cub.

Anyone out there ever gotten away with telling a great story to their friends, family or fellow countrymen?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Schniff Schnaff Shalomie permalink
    December 9, 2010 4:45 pm

    One time I made my friends think I got a tattoo in-the-moment.

    • dtdorrin permalink*
      December 9, 2010 5:50 pm

      I remember that! But I can’t remember what the fake tattoo looked like…just that we were all surprised. haha

  2. Schniff Schnaff Shalomie permalink
    December 9, 2010 6:00 pm

    It was the Greek letter that looks like an “X”, Chi, and represented “Christ”. It was my most successful prank ever. Although it doesn’t exactly fit your format, because I worked it so that I didn’t have to say anything, I let everyone assume.

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