Sunday, July 5, 2015

The lies I’ve told

It didn’t help that my mother was a school aide and when we’d run outside to recess my “friend” would sprint up and tell her that once again, I didn’t eat the crust of my sandwich.
I didn’t like the crust.  So like many kids, I’d nibble all the way to the edge and then toss out that dark brown and vile part.
My mother did the only respectable thing a mother could do.  She told me a lie.  Two of them, actually.
“Did you know that the crust of your bread makes your hair curly?  And the more bread you eat, the more you’ll float when you swim.  Ever throw bread in a pond?  It floats!”
I, being the straight haired swimming sinker, bought into it for quite a while, stuffing myself with bread and gagging down the crusts, checking my hair in the mirror and laying on top of the water at the lake.
Why would my mother lie to me, I wondered?
And then I became a mother.  We lie out of desperation, out of exhaustion, and sometimes just for fun.
A recent evening of resting our feet up on a giant hassock, some inquisitive child of mine asked why my second toe is so much longer than the big toe, which it really is.  Like a quarter inch.  I often wonder if I should have specialty shoes made to accommodate them. 
It’s actually called “Morton’s Toe,” or sometimes Greek Foot, Shepard’s Toe, or my favorite, Royal Toe.  It’s not actually a super long second toe, it’s a shortened first toe.  There is also a group of people that truly believe that it’s a genetic deformity that originated with an ancient royal family, so anyone who boasts this freakish foot phenomenon comes from royal blood.  Feel free to refer to me as “your highness” from now on.  I know for sure it’s genetic because I see the same long toe in my father and some of my children.
But where’s the fun in that?
“It’s called Brain Toe.  The longer the second toe, the higher a person’s IQ.  Look how long my second toe is; I’m just really, really smart.  Look at your dad’s toe,” I joke.  “It’s sadly not so long.”
Immediately they investigate their toes and my short-toed husband looks at me and rolls his eyes as I spread the harmless lies of parenthood that I just can’t bring myself to correct. 
And instantly, the snowball effect of telling a simple little late night fib commences, especially during flip flop season.  They can’t go anywhere without examining everyone’s feet and pointing out just how intelligent or not friends and strangers are.
Maybe they are budding podiatrists?  They do have the long-toe smarts to handle med school.


Originally written 6/28/14 

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