Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lying liars who lie

I am a very gullible person. As a result, people enjoy teasing me. The plumber, for example, tried to convince me the new toilet was pink and that we wouldn’t be able to use the bathroom vanity for 48 hours after it was installed. And back in grad school, one of Grouchy Guy’s simplest pleasures was to try to see what he could get me to believe. It was never malicious, but it was constant.

One morning, we arrived at the lab to find list of lab members with funny nicknames taped to the door. The author of said list was anonymous, but I knew it was Grouchy Guy and his buddy, Athletic Post-Doc. It had to be, because I had been out with the two of them the night before, and we had discussed just such a list. Some of the nicknames were even ones I had suggested.

When The Doktah got to her desk, she asked if I knew who made the sign, so I told her. “That’s what I thought,” she said, “but I just asked Grouchy Guy and he denies it.”

I looked at her with pity, and said, “The Doktah, Grouchy Guy lies. He lies all the time.” She was surprised, but seemed to accept this.

Now, as I think back on this conversation, I can see where I got myself in trouble. People don’t like to be called liars, and I should perhaps have chosen a different word, because a few hours later, The Doktah came and told me that Grouchy Guy was mad at me for calling him a liar. “But he does lie!” I said. “He lies to me all the time!”

“Well, I don’t know what to tell you, but he’s insulted,” she replied. “And he still denies making the sign.”

When I saw him that afternoon, I said, “Grouchy Guy, The Doktah said you were mad at me.”

“Yeah, where do you get off telling people I lie?” he replied. “I’m highly offended.”

“But you lie to me all the time,” I protested.

He was indignant. “Name one time I’ve lied to you!” he demanded.

“Well, this morning, after I knocked over that beaker, you told me I ruined your experiment,” I said. “And yesterday, you told me seminar was canceled. The day before that, you said I was supposed to be presenting at group meeting that afternoon.“

Grouchy Guy’s expression turned sheepish. “Oh, yeah. It’s just that I can’t help it! I can’t resist seeing the expression on your face! You always look so worried.”

We sorted everything out. I explained that, although I knew he was only teasing and it’s not as though he let me skip seminar or anything, he was, in fact, telling untruths. These are also known as lies. He stopped being mad.

And admitted to making the sign with Athletic Post-Doc.

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