Telling tall tales to the masses
There isn’t a person out there who possibly could have made it to the age of 18 without telling a lie, and learning afterwards how not to tell one.Who among us as kids didn’t at least once stand in front of our parents with a dry toothbrush perched on the bathroom sink and morning breath while claiming to have clean teeth and a minty-fresh mouth? Or swear that soap had been used in the shower even as streaks of dirt decorated our face, arms and legs? Or reek of cigarettes at the same time as swearing that no nicotine had trespassed our lips, claiming instead that the stench was the result of being in close proximity to smoking acquaintances? Or cross our fingers while fibbing, because then it doesn’t count?Normal people cease any sort of habitual fabrication when adulthood begins in earnest. After all, there’s no point in lying about eating Hostess cupcakes instead of a tuna sandwich for lunch or being the guilty party who left the car windows down during a rainstorm when there’s zero risk of being prohibited from watching TV or grounded as a result. Besides, what self-respecting adult dares to commit a bald-faced lie when the humiliation of being caught extends beyond parents relaying the story to friends at a dinner party?Nevertheless lately there have been seemingly more “D’oh!” moments involving prominent real-life grown-ups than Homer has in the new “The Simpsons Movie.”President Vladimir Putin of Russia proudly posed for photographers in Kennebunkport this summer with a striped bass he caught while fishing with the former and current President Bushes. While Putin and the pair of Georges said the fish, which had been thrown back into the water after the picture was taken, measured 31 inches, photographic evidence suggests otherwise. Fishing experts who examined the shot put the fish closer to just over 20 inches. And they said that was actually to be considered a very generous measurement.Of course fishermen are known to tell occasional tall tales. But even the dimmest anglers know it’s best to overstate the size of a hooked fish when there’s nary a camera in sight as opposed to when an international press corps is on board documenting every bite on film.This month Beijing television reporter Zi Beijia was detained by police after it was revealed that he had faked a hidden camera report about chemical-soaked cardboard being substituted for meat in steamed buns sold by street vendors. Investigators have accused Zi of purchasing the ingredients and then giving them to migrant workers, who were instructed by him to stuff the fluffy buns with pork and cardboard softened with caustic soda while he recorded them in the act.Apparently Zi’s downfall came when it was determined that a bun containing just 5 percent cardboard would not pass as anything resembling normal because of its un-chewability and the visual presence of the fiber substance. Something Zi might have figured out had he thought to take a nibble on one of the buns he had manufactured with 60 percent minced cardboard.A few days ago Britney Spears personally called up the editor-in-chief of OK! Magazine and asked if she could come in for a sit-down, tell-all interview about how she’s finally gotten her life together. However, instead of proving wrong the rampant reports that she’s gone off the wagon and the deep end simultaneously, in front of the OK! Magazine staff and photo crew, Britney wiped the grease from her fried chicken lunch on a designer gown, picked up her Yorkie puppy’s poop with a $6,700 couture ensemble, took frequent bathroom breaks with the door wide open, repeated several times her fear that the ceiling might cave in and then fled the shoot before it was over with more than $14,000 of the magazine’s borrowed clothes and jewels.Still, Britney’s iffy sanity claim to a gossip magazine doesn’t compare to the stunt pulled by the top banana at Whole Foods Market, the Tiffany of organic grocers.CEO John Mackey admitted earlier this month that he had, indeed, used the handle “rahodeb” (an anagram of his wife Deborah’s name) for six years to post derogatory comments in a Yahoo! chat room about rival grocer Wild Oats, which Whole Foods is attempting to purchase. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into whether Mackey’s online shenanigans were an attempt to manipulate stock prices in order to lower the sale price of its competitor.Because his actions resembled the modern-day equivalent of a prank call (obviously forgetting that everyone now has caller ID), Mackey apologized, but also said he “had fun” using a pseudonym. However, since no one expects a phony phone caller to be the leader of the natural foods grocery movement, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit to block the pending sale of Wild Oats to Whole Foods.As it turns out, not every adult learned as kids that when all eyes – and cameras – are on you in real life, no crossies count.E-mail questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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