Lies Parents Tell

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/lies-parents-tell_29.html
Parents are liars. Seriously. I think it’s a requirement to be a parent.

Don’t believe me? Who told you all about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and the Labor Day Gnome? (What, you’ve never heard of the Labor Day Gnome? You know, the little fellow that comes at night and stocks your kitchen full of beer, pretzels and pork rinds for the football-filled holiday? I guess that was an original creation of my dad.)

Parents lie all the time. I don’t fault them for that—it’s part of the job, like passing the buck in a corporate job or schmoozing in a marketing job. In the job requirements under the posting for “Parent,” you’ll see all kinds of personality traits and characteristics, such as “Able to withstand loud noises for extended periods of time,” “Enjoys saying the word ‘No,’”and “Willing to work evenings, weekends and holidays, as well as basically every minute of every day.”

And at the bottom of such a list, were it to exist, would be the last, but nowhere near least important, requirement: “Capable of telling lies with conviction and finesse.”

If this seems harsh, I apologize. I’m in favor of this. I’ve met a lot of rotten kids in my day, though thankfully I never was one. If parents can exert more control over them by stringing them along with a cute little lie about a magical rabbit who poops candy on Easter, then so be it.

However, some of the common lies parents tell I just don’t agree with. With that in mind, here are some parental lies I think the world could do without:

1) Eating raw cookie dough could kill you.
Yeah yeah, I’ve heard all about big bad “salmonella,” but have your parents ever told you what it does to you? Have you ever known anyone who got “salmonella poisoning?” Of course not. As near as I can tell, the only reasons for this lie is to avoid kids getting their slobber in the cookie dough and to make sure parents have enough to make all the cookies they want to make. Based on how delicious cookie dough is, I don’t find those reasons to be substantial enough to warrant those lies.

2) Eating vegetables is good for you.
People are still spreading this falsehood around. To refute it, one must only think of the natural world. Many poisonous animals have very distinctive colors to ward off predators from eating them, thereby saving two lives. I think this is a good comparison to make with vegetables. The reason they taste so bad is because they are bad for you—so don’t eat vegetables and save two lives.

3) It’s bad to lie.
Ah! Lying to kids about how it’s bad to lie—that’s like putting someone to death for committing murder. It’s not always bad to lie. Case in point: Sam’s wife asks him how he likes her new haircut. Sam tells her the truth—that her new haircut makes her look like Sasquatch with Chihuahuas growing out of its ears—and Sam sleeps alone on the couch for a couple nights while Sam’s wife cries herself to sleep. Wouldn’t a little lie have benefited both parties?

What are your favorite parental lies?
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