The Art of Lying!

I’ve encountered some fantastic liars in my time, masters in the art of misrepresentation and exaggeration, true virtuosos of verbal misdirection.  But it’s been my experience that what separates the accomplished fabricators from the truly great ones is a single thing: a detachment from reality.  I’m reminded of that episode of Seinfeld where George counsels Jerry on gaming a lie detector test.  “Jerry, just remember…”he tells him.  “It’s not a lie…if you believe it.”  Yes, the greatest liars are so fucking delusional that they manage to convince themselves what they are saying is the God’s honest truth so that, in the end, no amount of arguing or logical pushback will dissuade them from the irrefutable fact that they didn’t say that, do that, or attempt to orchestrate a coup through the junior rep at your agency.  They’re tireless squabblers, tenacious in their cockeyed convictions, who excel at digressing, deflecting or altering their line of reasoning mid-stream so that, by the time you finish debating them, they’ll almost have you questioning YOUR reality.

So, yes, in my opinion, to be a truly great liar, you have to suffer from some sort of dissociative disorder.

The worst liars on the other hand – well, they’re either naturally bad it or just fucking lazy.  I understand the former, but the latter is inexcusable. I mean, come on.  If you’re going to go through all the trouble of lying, put in some effort. Don’t deliver an attempt so half-assed that it lies there as obtrusive and awkward as that dump your dog took at Frieda Carmichael’s engagement party.

I mean, I don’t want to criticize, but come on.  I get it.  You were tired.  Or caught off guard.  You had to wing it and improv is not your specialty.  Still, in the future, you’d be well-served to keep these rules in mind for a more effective, less blundering prevarication:

1 – Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Boy, there is nothing more frustrating than making up a story out of pure imagination replete with reasonable motivation and plausible detail only to have someone – say a friend, partner, or underling – undermine your bullshit by offering up a completely different fraudulent tale.  That’s not just sloppy.  It’s embarrassing.

2 – Make sure your lie makes sense.

In order for a lie to be believed, it has to get past the most basic of bullshit barometer. That is to say, it should, at the very least, possess the merest semblance of truth. Where you run into trouble is when the pseudo-facts you use to bolster your lie can be so easily repudiated that you must resort to shouting in the hope that everyone present focuses on your voice and conveniently forgets the words that just came out of your mouth.

3 – Add frosting!

Cake is always better with frosting, isn’t it?  Well, so are lies.  Butter up your marks with seemingly genuine praise.  Position your lie in a way that would suggest believing it might be beneficial to the people you are trying to hoodwink. On the other hand, you could cloak yourself in the mantle of altruism, claim your sole motivation is in seeing the truth set free…in spite of how seemingly implausible it does sound.

4 – Keep it consistent.

There is nothing more frustrating than a liar who is either unable or unwilling to stay the course, contradicting their lies with a whole new set of lies, forcing everyone else to feign temporary amnesia in order to humor them as one would a small child proudly displaying their macaroni sculpture.  How lazy can you be? Write that shit down and consult your notes before slinging a fresh round of fabrications.  You can’t just improvise and hope for the best.  What do you think this is, the writers’ room for of the Hangover sequels?

5 – Keep it brief – and if necessary, vague.

Common sense would dictate that the more elaborate lies would be perceived as the most authentic and while that is true, this only applies to competent liars – which, unfortunately, is not you.  So deliver the bare minimum and focus on making that sound convincing instead of getting hung up on details you can’t be trusted to deliver or defend.  In the event someone asks you to elucidate, feign indignation at the ambiguous nature of the information you were forced to relay. If pressed, fake a medical condition.

I’m sure there are many more helpful tips available to you online that will allow you to hone and improve your craft.  I encourage you to look into them while, hopefully, also making use of the suggestions outlined in this blog entry.

I look forward to higher quality lying from you in the not too distant future.

Wishing you all the best (This, I will admit, is a lie),

Joe