Truths And Lies As Told By My Family
“You have to finish your dinner.” – Grandparents, 1990 – present day
After years of exhaustive research, I can say with confidence that I, in fact, do not need to finish my dinner. I have left my dinner unfinished countless times over the years, and the universe did not implode.
“You do not need those expensive sneakers.” – Mom, 1993 – 2002
Despite preparing an infallible defense to counter this stubborn declaration (‘All of my friends have these sneakers, you’re just cheap’), mother’s opinion never wavered. She was maybe a bit too adamant on the unimportance of brand names. I will forever blame her for my black market purchasing of fake Nikes and for my ventures into illicit warehouses on Canal Street. Does she even know how many flights of rickety stairs I had to climb to buy those knock off Chanel purses? Either way, she was right. I do not need to become a brand whore to survive. I learned that after purchasing an authentic Coach bag, with my own hard-earned money.
“I won’t tell your dad.” – Mom, 1996
After my mom discovered the petty theft I’d engaged in for a year, I begged her not to tell my dad about it (who was on a business trip when I was caught stealing books from the Brooklyn Public Library).
Verdict: Truth. While my mom may have shared the story with her friends (after all, stealing the entire Babysitter’s Club series when it could have easily been borrowed at no cost is pretty ridiculous), my dad remains in the dark.
“I won’t tell your mom.” – Dad, 2003
After picking me up from the police station at 2 AM, I asked my dad not to tell my mom about the whole underage drinking, trespassing, police station thing. After all, my mom was in the hospital at the time, recovering from surgery – better not to stress her out. He agreed to keep it to himself.
Verdict: Lie. Good husband, lying dad.
“I don’t fart. I have never farted.” – Mom, 1997
Wouldn’t you know it? I actually believed this. Then I grew up and realized that being a Stylish Mom does not exempt you from passing gas.
Verdict: Vicious lies.
“You just need to do ten sit-ups a day.” – Sister, 2011
Prefacing this lie was another, “You don’t need to lose weight, you just need to tone.” When I asked my sister, who has the metabolism of a hummingbird, how anyone could consider ten sit-ups a day a work out, she responded, “It worked for me when I did it. But I don’t work out anymore.” Oh.
Verdict: My sister should befriend James Frey. LIES.
“You have to go to college.” – Dad, 2003
Apparently, I had to go to college to land the lucrative and prestigious title of ‘Hair Salon Receptionist’ (my first ‘career’ post-graduation). Attending college also earned me a cool 80K – in student loan debt.
Verdict: Jury’s still out.
A | A | A
If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”