* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Natural born liar

5 November 2001
Jamie goes all pathological.

'Tell me the truth', she said. 'Just for once, stop hiding behind the lies, the jokes and the excuses. Tell me everything that's on your mind, everything you're afraid of, and everything you want to do about it.'

I couldn't, of course. Or rather, I didn't. I made up some shit, and she bought it. That's the problem with people. They're just too trusting.

I can't remember the last time I told the truth, entirely and honestly. Sometimes, I guess, when I dress it up in sarcasm and with a wide grin like I'm playing about, something almost truthful slips out, but no one ever takes it at face value. That's what a reputation for being a bit of a bullshitter can do for you. You can insult people to their faces, let slip about all the mingers you've slept with and all the laws you've broken. You're just the cheeky prankster with a silly grin and a nice line in a tall story. No harm done.

You don't want to be too outrageous, of course. No point telling a lie without a bit of truth in there as well, or you'll blow your cover. There's always got to be something to fall back on, a persona you're familiar with that you can slip into without thinking, so you can keep your cover while you come up with somewhere new to take the story; it can be hard work, so you've got to have a comfort zone you can go back to when you start to struggle.

The only time you're ever really going to give yourself away when you lie is when you let guilt get in the way of a good story. A conscience is a terrible burden for a liar; it slows you down and makes you look back. The people who get caught are the people who see lying as a destructive thing, that don't like themselves when they're not telling the truth. If you look on the plus side, realise that it's always for your own good, you'll be fine.

It's the main reason why men tend to be better liars than women. Ok, I'm speaking for myself here, but being unfaithful is much easier to disguise if you don't feel bad about it; or even more so if you actually feel pretty good about it. There's a mindset for getting away with it: she doesn't know, so she's not upset, so you don't have to make up for it by being extra nice or over-attentive. And when, a year down the line, she asks if you've ever been unfaithful, you just look her in the eye and tell her no. She'll believe you if you've never given her occasion to think anything but the best of you.

I only wish I had the looks or the talent to take lying to the next logical level; my one regret when I die will be that I've never made a living out of it. If you're attractive and a good liar, everything goes your way and you never have to do a single thing for it; everything just falls into your lap, people will do anything for you and let you get away with murder. Literally, sometimes.

Apart from crime, which I'd choose above any other profession, the job that best suits a good-looking liar is acting. Face it, anyone who can convince millions of people he's never met that he's a secret agent or an alien or a homosexual has got to be pretty damn good at playing with folks' minds. Writers are the same; when you're used to speaking in ten different voices over the course of a day, writing some of them down when you've got a blank sheet and several hours in front of you must be a piece of cake.

But back to me. What I was saying is, it gets pretty easy not to tell the truth. And gets correspondingly harder to be honest. Ever. Telling random lies is a challenge I used to set myself: get through an entire evening, a party, a job interview, without telling a single significant truth. Then put people you've met on different occasions in a room together and see how long it takes them to work out a single fact about you that they have in common. Or rather, that there isn't one. Confuses the fuck out of them, amuses me no end.

I'm still looking for a downside in this. Some people point out that you can't form a significant relationship based on lies; personally, I'm of the opinion it's quite difficult to have one without them. And despite the fact that I've been almost exclusively mendacious since my late teens, it's not rained on me once. Funny, that.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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