AJ Valliant Arbitrarily ranks: Lies people told me as child
February 7, 2007
As an adult I have, at best, a passing acquaintance with objective reality. As a child I was naïve and delusional enough I was just this side of retarded. The adults, fellow children, and occasional woodland creatures in my life took no small pleasure is exploiting this retardation by telling me wildly implausible lies. In a attempt to bring some closure to the malicious deraignment I suffered, I have decided to program some of the incidents into the Arbitron 6500, that it might rank them relative to each other. I will then use this information to assess the exact amount of grudge I should bear. Though this seems petty and bitter I assure you it’s all in the name of science.
(I must stress all of these lies actually were directed at me as a child)
The break down goes as such:
A description of the lie, and the person who told it.
Long and short term harm Inflicted: 1-10
How much trauma it caused my young mind, and later life fallout that ensued.
Factual basis/absurdity of lie: 1-10
Was it just exaggeration/hyperbole, or baseless deception.
What positive purpose, if any, did the lie serve.
Inherent cruelty/originality: 1-10
A combined score that measures the novelty and malice of a given lie. I combine categories as a measure of how much effort was put into deceiving me.
The higher the rating, the more scurelous the lie.
THE LIE: THERE ARE MONSTERS (PONKERS) IN THE CUPBOARD
Told by: My uncle
Age: around 2
Breakdown: I was tiny kid for my age up until around 10ish. While my memories of the time are a little blurry, I recall being about a foot and half tall and around 25lbs. Due to my tiny stature, and love of enclosed spaces, I would often seek refuge in the lower cupboard, inside one of my mothers gigantic cast iron cooking pots. Safe in my armoured womb I would dream of piloting through the battlefield, hurling my Tortium Ferride shell into all who would oppose me.
While I loved my hiding spot it terrified my mother as she feared I would suffocate, or be cooked by my sisters who harboured such ambitions. My uncles brilliant solution was to pull me aside one day and inform me that there were savage monsters in the cupboard that would kill and eat any who transgressed upon their territory.
Factual basis/absurdity of lie: 6
There were no Ponkers in those cupboards. I did however live in a pretty sketchy house at the time so it’s not that implausible that some sort of rodent, hobo, or the corpse of a likewise inclined child could have been trapped in the cast iron and wooden gulag.
Short term/ Long harm Inflicted: 9 / 4
To my uncles credit the threat of monsters (or Ponkers as I called them at the time) did keep me out of the cupboard…it also caused me to fly into a hysterical fit and try and pull my mother away from said cupboard any time she got near it, convinced the Ponkers would flay the flesh from her bones. For weeks I lived in terror she would be eaten, and shame that my intersession into the Ponkers territory had forced a brutal war between our two peoples. It wasn’t until my uncle’s next visit that he shared his charming attempt at child management with my mother, allowing her to somewhat diffuse the situation.
To this day I have difficulty doing the dishes, cooking, keeping my kitchen clean, and taking out the garbage. Admittedly this is partly due to me being a slob…but perhaps it’s the threat of Ponkers that created my aversion to housework in the first place. Think on that.
On service this seems a pretty justifiable lie: use the threat on monsters to keep the kid from suffocating. When you consider the personalities involved though it’s more likely my uncle thought it would be fun to freak a kid out, sow future discord and conflict, then disappear for while to let things boil over. I can’t discount some positive intention, but my suspicions limit this to a very unreliable 5.
Inherent cruelty/originality: 7
While the whole “Don’t go there, monsters will hurt you” bit is as old as they come, there was some pretty stellar execution here. My uncle’s ability to turn my love and protectiveness towards my mother, into a source of terror and sadness for us both…that is the mark of a pro my friends.
Total Score: 31
THE LIE: IF YOU HOLD YOUR FINGERS UNDER THE WINDOW MY MAGIC WILL KEEP IT UP
Told by: My sister
Age: around 7
Breakdown: As children my sisters generally played together and left me to my odd business. On the few occasion one of them (usually the middle one) deinged to play with me the game would involve tormenting me in someway. Games like : Twirl around in circle until you smash into the book shelf, little orphan Annie gets beat for not mopping the floors properly, and Nice Gigi Bad Gigi .
On this particular occasion my sister decided to reveal her heretofore unmentioned magic powers. As a means of highlighting her magic power she opened a rather heavy wooden window, known for falling shut with sudden violence, and requested I place my hands in the landing zone. Now normally I wouldn’t do such a thing, but the bitch said she had magic powers…seemed like a safe bet. To her credit the window did actually stay open long enough I became filled will jealous rage my sister had magic powers and I didn’t….a rage that subsided quickly when the eighty pounds window came crashing down on my trusting hands.
Factual basis/absurdity of lie: 3
Heres the thing: I don’t know for certain that my sister didn’t have magic powers. It’s entirely possible she had the ability to hold the window open, yet chose to use it for a limited amount of time. Certainly a dick move, but not necessarily one indicative of deception.
Long and short term harm Inflicted: 2, 0
Man, that window flattened my fingers so thin I could have jimmied open car door locks. When my mom got home she found me watching the incredible hulk (live action) and trying manage a juice box with my mangled paws. She was all “What happened to your hands” and I was all “Nothin’, they were like this when I woke up”: because you don’t rat out your family even if they give you the old magic hand slammer. I didn’t even hold it against my sister; to honest I was a pretty careless kid and likely would have found some way to crush my digits regardless of her intervention.
The only real long term effect was somewhat of a positive. Nowadays when someone claims to posses some sort of magic capacity I need fairly incontrovertible proof before I insert my extremities anywhere. If only I were so careful with my heart.
My sister had one of two justifications
A) She honestly believed she had the power to keep open windows and wanted to show it off. (Though even if that was the case you figure she could have tried an orange or something before moving on to a human test subject.)
B) She thought it would be funny to abuse my trust and smash my hands for a cheap laugh. In retrospect it is kind of funny, but not really something that would excuse the behaviour in any way.
Inherent cruelty/originality: 5
I should stress there was very little enticement or patter backing up her scam. The entirety of the hustle was “Put you hands in that window, I want to show you my magic powers”. She never even really specified what the nature of those powers might be. The whole things smacks of minimal deceptive effort, though she gets maximum cruelty point for potentially maiming a blood relative on a whim.
Total Score: 18/26
THE LIE:THE TOOTH FAIRY
Told by: My mother
Age: 4 years
I’ll explain this one for the sake of our international readers: When a child in North America  loses a tooth they place it under a pillow. Why would they do such a strange thing? They do so because their twisted parents claim a magical fairy women will flit into the house, steal the abandoned dental material, and leave them a handful of sweaty change in return.
Factual basis/absurdity of lie: 10
There is no goddamn toothy fairy. Never has been. Never will be. I’m not sure how this particular myth creeped into the acceptable folklore zeitgeist but lets call a spade a spade: this is some nasty pagan demon appeasement ceremony carry over. It’s this sort perspective undermining crap that has eroded western worlds capacity for critical thought.
No wonder we still believe in democracy as a valid system of governance.
Long and short term harm Inflicted: 1
Essentially none. For all her positive attributes my mother’s not real heavy on guile, and one of the worst liars on the planet. The tooth fairy myth lasted about ten minutes in my house. For some reason, despite my inherent gullibility, I’m suspicious of any transaction that involves money. I was totally cool with idea of a fairy stealing my teeth, but the idea of a fae creature buying into our monetary system was little too jarring to accept. Also I caught her slipping change under my pillow the very first time she tried it.
Since I never bought into the lie, there was never a sense of betrayal…thus no harm done.
Honestly, I cannot figure it out. I can sort of understand the Christo-pagan fusion of Santa Claus and Easter bunny serving as child friendly approximations of adults religious rites, but the tooth fairy thing just seems so aribitrary and needlessly complex. Aside from grooming your children for the Chinese organ market I can’t see any reason for the twisted charade.
Inherent cruelty/originality: 0/5
Obvious there is no inherent cruelty to the lie. As bizarre a ruse as it was the intent is to give you money for a painful childhood event; you can’t really hold that against someone. What troubles me is my mother wasting the opportunity to tell me a socially sanctioned surreal lie. If you are going to fuck with your borderline delusional childs sense of reality at least put some personal thought into it.
Total Score: 25
 The not quite retarded side.
 When I was about 18months old my sister placed me in large pan, filled it with sauces, spices, and side dishes, then place me in the oven. It was only the timely arrival of my mother that saved me from them turning on the stove. This is a true story that anyone in my family can attest to.
 Gigi was my stuff animal as child. Tina would play a game where she petty Gigi soothingly proclaiming “Nice gigi, nice gigi” repeatedly until her mood switch and she would proclaim “Bad Gigi” and smash his head against the walls. As disturbed as it sounds I usually found it fairly funny.