Friday, July 15, 2011

Lies a simpleton told you: Cat and Cousin

Because I am uninspired and wholly lack motivation, in this post I will resume recounting lies told at a time when I possessed a sparkling imagination and the desire to refine my already unique identity by carving ever deeper lines. The following tales were told in middle school, a transitional time when standing out was of the utmost importance.

Background: I am from Israel by way of Bulgaria. Because the Eastern Bloc worked very hard to sequester its citizens in the time leading up to my birth, my parents were the first in our family to fight their way onto the illustrious "boat" headed for the land of liberty. Few followed their lead, and I have no other relatives in the U.S., save a fifth cousin in Connecticut.

Having moved to the Italian-dominated city of Worcester, Massachusetts, then to Arab-laden Metro Detroit, it wasn't until I turned ten that I finally met another Bulgarian in the U.S. Needless to say, I was thrilled when the little Vietnamese-looking girl I played basketball with at summer camp told me she was born in Shuman. I felt an immediate kinship with her (despite her brownish skin and squinty eyes, which signaled she was a mere half-breed) and a year later managed to convince her mother to enroll her in my middle school. The single mom lived in my middle class suburb, but worked for a newspaper in Detroit and had her bookish daughter attending a DPS school near her work. It wasn't hard to sell the switch from the worst district in the country to the ever-so charming ~*Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools*~.

The Lie:  I introduced Nelly as my cousin. She definitely didn't look the part, but my Midwestern peers were so lacking in cultural knowledge that they were easily eluded. In addition to creating a cousin to emulate my classmates, whom I envied for their grandparents, aunts and uncles, I think I fabricated the relationship because I sensed a nerdiness about Nelly that I needed to disassociate from; I determined the best way to remain close with her was to say it was due to familial obligation.

The Reveal: It turned out I had sniffed Nelly out for what she was: a bonafied nerd. Bitch ratted me out. She also proceeded to learn the instrument I played and steal my place as first chair of the orchestra's viola section, weasel a spot next to me in the Talented and Gifted homeroom and make straight A's for the duration of our school years together. We quickly went from cousins to frenemies and ended as distant acquaintances.

Background: My mother is a liar as well. She spent the first fifteen years of my life claiming she was a decade younger than she actually was. When I learned to add and subtract, I realized her age meant she would have given birth to my brother sometime in her prepubescent years. Presented with that discovery, my mother wove her web wider and said my brother was in fact her brother and that she had legally adopted him to get him into this country. Or something like that.
At any rate, she always claimed she was allergic to animals. Animals of all kinds. It turns out this too, was not true, she just happened to have a distaste for most living things. So, I was never granted the privilege of pet ownership and, of course, felt incredibly unfulfilled.

The Lie: I once had a cat. I was about three years old and living in Israel. It was cute and orange. I don't remember what name I had invented for this cat, but it was female. One time it pooped in my entry way. When my mother spotted the mess it had made, she literally kicked the cat out of the front door and it ran away, never to be seen again.

The Reveal: In the dozen years since I've told this lie, I have only come clean to one person, and that is Paula. I was stoned and introspective on a typical college night, and I borrowed my friend's Blackberry to tell Paula the truth immediately. Unfortunately, I was so high I typed the entire explanation in the subject line of a facebook message and she only saw a few words of it.
The Leash
Background: My parents were strict when I was growing up. I portrayed them as crazy. (Perhaps they are).

The Lie: My parents kept me on a leash until I was about eight.

The Reveal: This is it.

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