Monday, 14 June 2004

A lie is a lie is a lie

I am about to go to bed, and I have done nothing today. Although I did fall over.

Whilst walking through the park, I thought that I should take a short-cut across the inviting grass as it lazed unused under midday sun because I hate to see things without a purpose. So it became my purpose to walk upon this grass, just for a moment, and then the grass’ purpose to host this definite act, a charitable gift on my part I feel.

I reckoned without the certainty of public ridicule however. I cannot leave the house without becoming the subject of public ridicule; it is a fate of sorts if such a foolish thing exists. Ridicule has become my vocation.

And so of course, eighteen strides into my giving journey in which I donated a reason to this redundant patch of virgin green, I fell. Not simply the gentle collapse of an ankle upon a misjudged kerb, nor a cautious trip but an acrobatic feat with pirouettes, falling sky and blood, a desperate trip full of sad lies, to an enraptured audience. As I shuffled into the shade and back onto the path, I noticed that my trousers were torn and my leg was bleeding slightly, not a cut as such but an unnoticed, painless graze, which looked like paint.

I walked home, with shame trailing my path until I reached my door and entered my house. Inside sat friends all of whom commented immediately on my torn trousers, I don’t have many, and the shame and the embarrassment and the general irritation that accompanies the unfurling of events came into view and were laid before me.

So I lied.

“I fell on glass running from a large dog.”



I don’t know why. They didn’t even believe me, just like you don’t.

Not the largest falsity you’ve ever encountered (certainly not mine, I have heard “I love you” uttered urgently over sad lips) but enough. It was a construction, aimed at solving confusion, it was a little fabrication, some window-dressing to hide the embarrassment that had added rose to my palate. Sprinkle some glass and a canine into the situation, and it makes the whole situation a lot easier to swallow because most people don’t have to put up with the same things I have to, most people can’t fall over nothing and cut themselves on fresh air. And I always like to make a story of things.

Like the other day, when I was walking along the road, and I needed a coin for something but I didn’t have one, and then I saw one at the end of the road from quite a distance. As I approached I congratulated myself on my luck and eyesight when, from nowhere, a fat man with no shirt bolted from an alley way, looked furtively up and down the street, picked up the coin and ran off. I told everyone about that.

But that was a worthy story, unlike the incident in the park. It disappointed me. I felt as though, at the very least, if something that unnerving was going to happen, it (and I) deserved a better beginning and a better end, so I injected the story with glass and a dog. There is nothing bad about this, I simply hate missed potential, the situation had so much ambition and although my actions were strictly confined to the realms of ordinary, I made a lie that rose to the occasion.

And that’s all stories are, that’s all writing is - making lies that rise to the occasion, that perform on the big day, excel under pressure. And so perhaps the blander the event, the more inventive the lie, the better the writer.

I can now go to bed.

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