To say I am a lousy liar is an understatement. I find it nearly impossible to even fudge the truth. In fact, sometimes I bore people to tears (or thoroughly confuse them) with my compulsion to include every detail when I’m telling a story. I’ve had to work hard to “edit” myself in conversations so that I cut to the chase, particularly when I’m chatting up complete strangers at a party or while on line at the store.
I used to be alarmingly frank as a youngster. I’d open a birthday or Christmas present and if it was something I truly didn’t like, my face would tell all. I’d try to smile and say thank you, but my expression would have already spilled the beans with the gift giver. I’m more tactful now (thank God) and can screen my gut reaction. In fact, many times the gift that didn’t appeal when I first opened it becomes a favorite, so it’s just as well I hide my disappointment.
I can also be rather annoying if I realize I haven’t paid for an item properly at the store. I’ve brought cashiers to towering rages because they gave me a penny too much in change and I insisted on giving it back. Sorry, ma’am, just trying to be honest.
I didn’t make anybody mad, but I did complicate things today at WalMart. I had loaded my cart with cat food for my ravenous feline horde. You know how fussy cats are. I had to carefully hand-select the 24 individual cans of Fancy Feast to make sure they were all varieties Casper and Zak would eat. (Go ahead, dog lovers, laugh. The cat lovers understand.) When I got to the register, the clerk didn’t want to ring up the 54 cents times 24. He had to account for each of the 6 varieties I’d chosen.
He finished ringing everything up and I paid, but the total didn’t seem like quite enough. I stepped just outside and counted the cans of Fancy Feast on the receipt. I re-counted a couple times. Sigh. I’d only paid for 21 cans.
A lot of people (maybe most) would have just walked on, headed to their cars and forgotten about it. Actually, it’s likely none of those people would have bothered to count how many cans they’d paid for in the first place. But I did count and once I knew I’d underpaid, I had to go back and tell someone.
First the clerk said, “Boy, you must really want to go to heaven,” then she suggested they just give me the cans. I would have been okay with that, but I was also perfectly fine with paying for them. In the end, someone rang up the three cans and I forked over the additional money.
So, am I too honest? Is this more a compulsion to get everything to total up correctly or is it that I don’t want to cheat someone out of what’s their due (yes, even WalMart)? I doubt that I’m going to change anytime soon. It’s just something I’ve accepted about myself. But I do wonder sometimes if there’s something a little hinky about my impulse for extreme honesty.
So, what do you think? Is it time I learned the art of the little white lie?