A couple weeks back on Twitter I alluded to something fun/happymaking that had happened recently that boosted my faith in my abilities. Now I can finally ‘fess up- not that it’s a huge thing, but it is fun. And happymaking. Which I know I already said. Deal.

Anyhow, as I’ve mentioned ’round these parts before, I’m a fan of the Pop My Culture podcast, hosted by Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland. It’s all kinds of naughty, silly, and hellaciously funny. I’ve learned not to be drinking anything while listening. I’ve also learned to make certain the rugrats aren’t too close by, since a few minutes of listening to PMC and one starts sounding like an extra from Deadwood.

Anyhow, some time ago, they hosted actor Timothy Omundson, whom many of you might know from Psych… or maybe Jericho… or maybe Deadwood… or… hell, you get the picture—he’s been in a lot—but for our purposes, we’re going to refer to his gig as Detective Carlton Lassiter from Psych since that was the impetus for his appearance on PMC.  Anyhow, Tim told the tale of his First Big Lie—the one where, because he totally bullshitted his parents and got away with the Big Lie, he knew he was meant to be an actor. If I recall correctly, it involved a BB gun and a sliding glass door and was a fairly impressive piece of utter horsehockey.

So Cole & Vanessa decided that would be the prompt for a contest—tell the tale of your First Big Lie and if they liked it, you could win a Season Four DVD set of Psych defiled, erm, signed by Tim.

Of course I gave it a go—but not because of the reasons you might imagine.  A) I’m not one for autographs and B) I already had all the DVDs, because my husband, who is always desperate for gift ideas (something about me being difficult to buy for…) had given them to me for Christmas.  So no, I wasn’t in it for the DVDs—I merely wanted to share the story of my First Big Lie because it’s a really good one and I wanted it documented somewhere.  I tried to include a version of it in a manuscript once, but my editor made me take it out as too unbelievable. *roll eyes*

Anyhow, I wrote it down and promptly forgot about it… until I received an email from Cole informing me that he and Vanessa had chosen my Big Lie as their favorite.  Color me boggled, y’all. I mean, there were some good ones submitted—I seriously only wanted my Big Lie documented and acknowledged. Somewhere.

So… what was my lie?  I’ve included it below, typos fixed, even. You’ll have to tell me if you think it’s a worthy lie.

Okay, admittedly, I’m a professional liar, too, as a writer, however, this story about my first big lie is absolutely true and yet when I tried to include a version of it in one of my books, my editor made me take it out because she said it was too unbelievable. (As a writer, I’m also long-winded…) So I’m putting it down not because I want the DVD (already have all of them), but because I want this story documented somewhere, dammit.

I was a pretty typical latchkey kid of the late-70s/early-80s, with my parents divorced and my mom working long hours. So I’d come home, do my homework, get dinner started, blah, blah, blah… my cousin, who was in a similar situation, was required to come with me, as per our mothers’ orders, so that neither of us would be left completely alone. One of these days, somewhere in my twelfth year, my cousin, who is arguably, one of the stupidest people on the planet, decided it would be a good idea to make French fries for dinner, never mind that neither of us had ever made French fries. I was doubtful, but even though I was the older by a year, she was five inches taller and fifty pounds heavier, so French fries it was going to be. While I set to cutting up potatoes, she grabbed a large cast iron pan, poured copious amounts of oil in, and turned the heat to high.

You can see where this is going, right? Right. All of a sudden, the oil ignited, freaking her right the hell out, to which she responded by… pouring a pitcher of water on the fiery oil. Cue huge column of fire and her freaking out some more (I was freaking, too, especially as I’d been yelling, “No… don’t—” as she poured the water. Finally, I remembered my basic science, grabbed the baking soda, and poured the entire box over the mess, which doused the fire. Afterwards, we were left with a smoke-filled house and my mother’s BRAND NEW harvest gold range & hood a sooty, blistered mess. Cue me, REALLY freaking out, because we didn’t have a lot of money and it was brand new and OMG, she was going to Kill. Me. DED. So I ran next door and fetched my neighbor, who was a professional graphic artist/commercial painter and begged him to come fix the hood, which had taken the brunt of the fire damage. Initially, he was reluctant, because he was all about responsibility and honesty, but he also knew my mother and knew she would Kill. Me. DED. So he mixed up his paints, sanded the hood, and repainted it, while I cleaned the kitchen and opened every window in the house. (My stupid cousin didn’t help, since she felt I should have known what the oil would do, so it was clearly All My Fault.)

Miraculously, my mother, she of the eagle eye and nose that a drug-sniffing dog would envy, never noticed except to note, “Why didn’t you girls make anything for dinner?”

Me: “Well, we were hoping you’d let us walk over to McDonald’s and get cheeseburgers and French fries.”

I finally told her the truth… twenty-five years later.

And she didn’t believe me. Because, in her words, “You’re a writer, Barbara, you make things up like this for a living. And believe me, if something like that HAD happened, I would have known.”

And like Tim, recounting HIS story, that was pretty much when I knew I had a gift for lying and could maybe do something with it.

There’s my story—and here I am, with the fruits of my lying ability.