Lies, Big and Small
February 2, 2011 4 Comments
I enjoyed reading this deceptively simple-minded piece at http:// cleveroldowl.wordpress.com – took me back to times frozen in memories. It’s reproduced here for your reading pleasure, with the kind consent of its author.
“When I was a kid I was really stupid. I would believe any lie my father told me. Not just believe it, but I would take what he said and proclaim it loudly as truth. I would get in arguments with other kids, which would turn to screaming matches which would eventually and always turn into fistfights.
I would come back home, jeans ripped at the knees, scraped elbows, black eyes bloody nose, sand everywhere and my dad would tell me you can’t argue with the idiots, Nick, they can’t understand and because you make them feel stupid and small they have to react and because they had no other outlet, their aggression would take over and we would find ourselves rolling around in the school yard dirt, kicking and biting and punching.
It took me many years to uncover all the lies he had told me. It happened slowly. I would see something on TV that disagreed with something he had said and then I would ask him about it and he would respond that the television was just one way the big businesses of the country were trying to control our minds and if it were up to him we wouldn’t even have one, but mom liked to watch the soap operas in the afternoon and he would rather have it than have to listen to her complain about how she kept missing the stories and was a laughing-stock at the hair salon.
Mom died when I was two. Some kind of cancer, I think. We didn’t talk about it much.
It didn’t make any sense to me when dad would say that, but I could see that his eyes would get deeper when he mentioned her, and he would show the smallest smile and I didn’t ever want to ruin that. He hardly smiled. He just read his paper and told me things like a widows peak was a mountain where they sent all the old women whose husbands had died. They did this because their constant cries and laments would keep the rest of the town awake and would scare the cows and chickens and this would in turn sour the milk and make the eggs they laid turn into wood.
Stupid me, I sat there looking up at him believing every lie that come out of his stern mouth. It made sense to me, I mean, how could I not believe this man. He looked like an authority, his hair was silver at the temples, his moustache was rigid, if he could remove it and use it as a broom he could sweep buildings away. He wore stiff white collared shirts, and his shoes were always shiny.
He told me peanut butter came from a tan coloured cow in Africa, they would milk it and then churn it the same as butter.
He told I had to take three steps backwards if I found myself walking outside at midnight. And if I didn’t the evil-deevils that hid in the trees would get me.
He told me dogs bark when ghosts are walking through their yard, and I still get shivers whenever I hear barking.
He told me cereal tasted better when it was poured into a bowl of milk, and not the other way around.
He told me that green was yellow.
He told me rats grew up to be pigeons.
He told me someone would love me for who I am.
He told me wind was made by trees playing their flutes.
He told me, contrary to most people’s beliefs; birds are just as enslaved as the rest of us.
He told me clouds were dirty tissues angels used to blow their noses.
He told me most people are happy.
He told me he wouldn’t ever leave.”