Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Liar Meme

Tristi is pressuring me to tell a lie. So much for positive peer pressure.

I've never been able to lie very well. See, whenever I try, my ears turn red.

However, you can't see my ears from where you are, so maybe I have a fighting chance at this Liars game.

Here's how it works: I list four experiences from my past. One is a lie. It's your job to guess which one.

Ready? Here we go.

1. I spent nine weeks in a haunted house one summer.
2. That same summer I spent several hours in jail.
3. I had a make-believe girlfriend turn real on me.
4. I used FedEx to ship a dead rabbit.

Oh, you want details? Oh, OK.

1. I was fifteen that first summer on Lanai. The fifteen year old gangs could only work the day shift, and were given housing away from the main camp. My group lived in Hale Manele, an old wooden frame building at the edge of town set up barracks style. Some people said the building used to be a hospital. Most people called it Hale Spooky.

The first few weeks of the summer were relatively uneventful, but about four weeks in strange things began to happen. Showers would turn on by themselves; strange noises came from the empty back rooms; lights would turn off and on mysteriously; and there was the cat that sounded like a crying baby - some said it had a baby's face.

Then one night, after everyone was asleep, one of the bigger, tougher kids let out a terrified scream. He had seen an apparition of the Lady In White. So unnerved was our group of young men that nearly everyone pushed their beds together in the middle of one room the next day. That night, many of them claimed to have been physically moved by an unseen force.

The next evening, a Hawaiian Kahuna came and gave the house a blessing. He chanted in Hawaiian for over an hour, while some thirty people sat in rapt attention. After this blessing, the rest of the summer passed without incident.

2. I spent most of the three weeks between my return from Lanai and the first week of school hanging out with my buddies J and D. We were all into building model airplanes, and that was how we spent most of our time together. I don't remember what D was working on, but J was building a PBY Catalina - a flying boat from WWII.

Our trouble began when J learned there was a PBY located in the aircraft boneyard near Honolulu International. J and D were both a year older than I, and J managed to borrow his older brother's car so we could take a field trip. This seemed like a good idea when we set out, but as we got to the airport I began to have second thoughts.

The planes were behind a fence with large "No Trespassing" signs posted on it. However, in one place the fence had fallen down, and it was here that parked the car. I was really feeling nervous about the idea of crossing the fence line, but was determined not to be seen as a chicken. I had felt the need to prove myself constantly on Lanai, and I guess that carried over after I got home.

J had his camera, and climbed all around the old hulk taking pictures with D right behind him. Uncomfortable with the thought of climbing into the aircraft, I was content to wander around, looking at the other planes - mostly old airliners. It was during this time I had the thought of renovating an old plane to be a house or store or something - it seemed such a waste for those airframes to just rot away like that.

A little while later, I heard J call out, and started walking back towards the PBY. It was then I saw there were two police cars parked by J's car, their lights flashing. My heart jumped to my throat, and it took all of my strength not to start crying right then and there. The cops were rather hard on us at first, accusing us of vandalism. But we explained what we were doing, were as polite as three scared teens could be, and they lightened up a little. They still took us down to the police station and put us in a cell, although I think they were just trying to scare us because we were never charged with anything, and they didn't even impound the car, which I was sure they would.

After a couple of hours, J's very unhappy mom showed up and the police let all three of us go.

3. At the start of my Junior year, I was disappointed to learn that my buddy J had decided to stay in Phoenix with his dad instead of returning to Hawaii with the rest of his family. This upset me, and I set about planning a joke to play on him. I decided to pretend I had met a near-perfect girl, and she had become my girlfriend.

I developed a full bio for this girl - played flute in the band, member of National Honor Society, etc. - and named her Rhonda. Everyone in his family was in on the gag, telling him things like "Don and Rhonda were here tonight." It was all hilariously funny, unless you consider the sad fact that I had actually made up a pretend girlfriend.

The joke went on for quite some time, but had pretty much died out by the following year, when one day my mom announced "I met Rhonda's mom at work today, and she gave me a picture." It turns out she met a woman who's daughter was my age and fit nearly all of the criteria I had made up for Rhonda, including the flute and National Honor Society.

The girl in the picture my mom had been given was actually pretty cute, but by that point I had found a real girlfriend, so I didn't pursue the matter any further. I did, however, put the picture in my wallet, as it made for quite a funny story.

Some six months later, I was at an island-wide NHS Quizfest, when I saw a girl who looked vaguely familiar. When I found out what school she went to, I suddenly realized that this might be the girl who's picture was in my wallet. I compared her with the picture, and although the hair was drastically different, the face seemed right.

I finally worked up enough courage to approach this girl (picture in hand), tap her on the shoulder and ask "Excuse me, is this you?"

It was. She seemed quite surprised at first, but when I explained how I had come to be in possession of her photo she knew who I was. We eventually ended up dating rather seriously for a few months a little while later, but things didn't really work out in the end.

4. A couple of years ago, my wife had begun allergy testing at the clinic here in Dallas. In order to test a food, she needed to eat some of it the day before doing the testing.

One food she really wanted to test was rabbit, because it hadn't given her any problems when she had eaten it before. The problem was she couldn't find a store in Dallas that carried rabbit.

I was still living in Utah with the girls at the time, and I bought her a frozen rabbit at Wild Oats and prepared to ship it to her. Being smart, I figured I would keep the rabbit frozen by packing it with dry ice and shipping it FedEx overnight.

What I didn't know was that dry ice is considered a hazardous material, so I was unable to ship it through our company shipping department and had to drive all the way to the main FedEx office up by the Salt Lake airport.

The rabbit was still frozen when it arrived, and after testing she was able to get an antigen for rabbit from the clinic. She still eats rabbit nearly every week (we've since found a place that carries them here), although seeing the easily recognizable rabbit carcass in the pot really upsets Anna the animal lover. Alyssa is more fascinated than offended, and she always begs for a taste.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Don, I can only be righteous for so long before a snitch of evil sneaks in. I'll be good for at least two weeks now that I've got it out of my system.

I don't know which to vote for. You described them all so well. I'm going to have to think about it and get back to you.

Dan Monson said...

I originally thought that number 3 (the girlfriend) was the tall tale. But then it occured to me that we just had Halloween and number 1 could also be the big lie. Don did pick pineapples, loves airplanes, and buys strange meats for his wife, so all these are factual.

I'll go with the haunting story as the tall tale because it sounds like the plot from an episode of M*A*S*H.

nicole said...

I'm torn - cause I think I should've known who your girlfriend was in 11th grade -- but I also happen to know someone who was with you on Lanai, and don't remember that story.

So I vote the first one.

Davis Bigelow said...

Don I would have been squeezed into the oblivion of indecision on this one. Lucky for me that I visited after the questions and answers were posted. It sounds like you have had a colourful life – and the three correct lines are probably not the half of it.
I like rabbits – to eat and to pet. They are gentle creatures until they want to explode into action. When I was young, we raised rabbits for food, but my sister managed to get one as a pet. Peter (as you might have guessed), lived a few years and passed away when my sister was out to school. She was expected home in a few weeks, and I knew she would be heartbroken. As I pondered what to do, I did perhaps what any 16-year-old would have done in my place. I skinned Peter and buried the rest – that way my sister could have something tangible to remember him by. (I suppose I could have just frozen him so she could have buried the body after she got home, but that thought never occurred to me.) Oh, when she arrived home, she appreciated my thoughtfulness, but that was about all she appreciated.
And by the way, the girl friend story was awesome. Just goes to show that you can't write anything better than fact.

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