Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Made My Bed, and Lie In It

Yesterday I wrote about my unlikely romance with Mel Gibson. I wrote about how our mutual attraction had been such that he’d waived his prejudices against Judaism and homosexuality to live with me in sin. Naturally, it was all a lie; Mel and I are no more than good friends who play racquetball or golf, or go chasing skirts together, whenever he’s in town. I’ve been lying so long I can barely remember what it’s like to tell the truth.

I remember my first lie with great clarity. My mother and father and I were living together in an apartment on Manchester Blvd. in Westchester, a not-very-interesting part of Los Angeles. My dad and I had gone over to visit a neighbor who collected Indian (Native American) artifacts. He gave me an arrowhead that I, at eight, thought fantastically cool and desirable, and for which I thanked him profusely. He laughed and explained that he wasn’t giving it to me, but just showing it to me. I pretended, to minimize my embarrassment, that I’d known that all along. I assured him I was thanking him just for the privilege of being allowed to hold such an exciting item.

It got easier after that. When Chris Dejan, who lived in the same building as the arrowhead collector, annoyed me at school, I told him walking home one afternoon that I had something fantastically cool to show him. I told him to close his eyes and hold out his hands, and then walloped him in the kisser with all my might. It was a coward’s pleasure.

Later, in high school, I deceived Kathy Roberts, Santa Monica High School’s No. 1 object of male desire, into becoming my girlfriend by telling her that I was handsome, self-assured, and would have been the quarterback of the varsity football team but for my congenital sciatica. I proceeded to lie my way into a full scholarship at one of the University of California’s more desirable campuses, telling them I’d done fantastically well on my SATs, and that my family was penniless, and that I would be pleased to quarterback the football team the moment my sciatica dissipated.

I lied my way into the bedrooms of some of the most notable beauties on campus, telling some that I was a member of a very selective fraternity, and telling the hipper ones that I had taught Jimi Hendrix to play the guitar, and would have had Timothy Leary on speed-dial had there been such a thing as speed-dial at the time.
I avoided military service during the Viet Nam war by telling the authorities that I was homosexual, and that I weighed nine pounds too little for my height, according to their own guidelines. I instead opened a gift shop at which I made a small fortune by overcharging anyone who paid with a Diner’s Club card. It has only recently become common knowledge that few people actually look at anything other than the signature box of the credit card receipts they’re given to sign.

I was cast in a succession of high-grossing late-70s action films by telling their producers that I exuded a subtly inexorable brand of masculinity, and bought a mansion in the Hollywood Hills after grossly misrepresenting my income to a starstruck mortgage broker who’d admired my work in Die, Pimp, Die. I stopped getting high-paying roles, though, after my own subtle but inexorable brand of masculinity became less fashionable than the vulgar, overt sort exemplified by Vin Diesel and other weightlifters. I was nonetheless able to live comfortably on the royalties I received for “Lies”, the song I’d composed for The Knickerbockers, later covered by Ms. Linda Ronstadt, albeit not on the album of standards that municipal law required be played thrice from start to finish every night in every chic restaurant in Los Angeles between April 1982 and July 1983

In some key ways, The Knickerbockers had engendered greater disappointment than any group in the history of popular music. “Lies” sounded exactly like The Beatles, but then The Knicks turned out to be fronted by a rotund little saxophonist with a long-discredited coiffure.

The blatant untruths of which this essay is full are intended for entertainment purposes only.

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