I've come to the realization that I need to lie more. Not to anyone I care about, but to random people who don't really matter all that much to me.
This may seem callous, but I have legitimate reasons for needing to do this. One such reason is that I always seem to get dragged into long conversations. For instance, this one creepy older guy at my gym likes to tell me stories about how he bangs chicks who look younger than the women his 25-year-old son dates. Making matters worse, he talks with an annoying Boston accent.
Creeper: Walta, you wouldn't believe the gool I'm dating, she so beautiful, she looks younga than the gool my son's Brian's dating!
Me: Oh, that's cool.
Creeper: Let me show you a pictcha of her, she's a knawckout!
Me: Ugh. OK.
Creeper: This gool looks like she's young enough to be my daughta doesn't she?
Me: Yeah, she's pretty hot.
Creeper: Let me tell ya about the time I met ha, Walta! I was in the howt tub at the hotel, and she walked in with ha bikini, if you thought she was a knawckout in the pictcha I showed ya, imagine ha in a bikini!
Creeper: Wait, I have a pictcha of ha in a bikini on my phone, let me show it to ya, Walta, you going to see how much of a knawckout she really is in ha bikini!
Me: Oh, that's great.
See what I mean? I get sucked into this conversation every time I see him, and because he's so old, he forgets that he's told me about all of his sexual conquests, so I hear the same story over and over.
My problem is that I'm too nice sometimes. I need to start lying to get out of situations like these, and as the saying goes, the bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe. So, if I bump into this horny old man again, I think our conversation will go something like this:
Creeper: Walta, you wouldn't believe the gool I'm dating, she a knwackout!
Me: Sorry, I don't have time for this conversation. I'm late for my trip. NASA needs me to fly a rocket to Mars because they just discovered alien life there.
Creeper: Oh, ya going to Mahs right now?
Me: Yeah, NASA needs me. I'm the best spaceship pilot in the fleet.
Creeper: Walta, I once dated this Mahsian gool, she was a total knawckout! She looked younga than the human gools Brian is dating right now! You shoulda seen ha in a bikini, what a knawckout!
Me: Ring, ring. Oh, that's my phone. It rings via the sound of my voice. Hello, NASA? You need me immediately?
Creeper: Walta, ask NASA if I can be your copilot, I want to meet some hawt Mahsian gools in bikinis!
Me: Hey, NASA, my friend here wants to be my copilot. Oh, it's a one-person plane? OK, I'll let him know. Hey Creeper, you can't go with me. Sorry about that. Maybe next time. Gotta jet - literally!
See what I mean? Instead of being forced into looking at "hawt gools" in bikinis on this guy's phone for an hour, I could have interrupted the conversation after just a couple of minutes.
This isn't the only guy who wastes my time. Most people know that I run a football Web site, so I'm always bombarded with sports-related questions. I don't mind the talking to random people about football in most instances, but there will be occasions in which I'm blatantly busy, and yet I'm still asked stuff. A couple of weeks ago, I was in the middle of a workout in the pool when someone who worked at the gym waved me down.
Gym Worker: Hey Walt, I need you for a second.
Me: Why, what's up?
Gym Worker: I need to know who to start at my flex position this week: Jeremy Hill or Golden Tate. What do you think?
Me: Uhh, well, I'd say Tate because he's actually starting for his team.
Gym Worker: Oh, OK, I was going to go with Hill and I still might. Thanks.
UGH!!! This annoys me on so many levels. First of all, why stop me during my workout? Couldn't this guy have waited until I was finished? Second, couldn't he have checked my Web site? I publish weekly fantasy rankings, and I started doing so specifically so that people would stop asking me questions like this. And finally, what pisses me off the most is that this guy didn't even go with my advice. It's almost as if he just wanted confirmation that he was right. If that's the case, why even ask me, especially when I'm busy? It makes no sense ARRRGGGHHHH.
If I were to lie...
Gym Worker: Hey Walt, I need you for a second.
Me: Sorry, can't talk. I'm swimming away from the sharks.
Gym Worker: Sharks? What sharks?
Me: Ghost sharks, to be precise. There are ghost sharks in this pool that are invisible, and they're chasing me, and if I don't swim quickly, I'll get eaten!
Gym Worker: Oh that's terrible, but do you have time for one fantasy question?
Me: AHHH, GHOST SHARK INCOMING, I GOTTA GO!
Other sports-related conversations piss me off as well. Like I said, I don't mind talking about football, but I can't stand it when people ask me questions about basketball, hockey or baseball. "Hey Walt, what do you think about the moves the Flyers just made?" is something I get asked whenever Philly's hockey team does anything. I'm oblivious to anything that goes on in that sport, yet many people I know assume that I know the answer just because I have a football Web site. But since I don't know anything, I come away sounding stupid, yet these people continue to ask me the same questions every time I see them.
Here's how I should answer:
Gym Worker: Hey Walt, what do you think about the Flyers' trade!?!?!?
Me: What do you think about it?
Gym Worker: It's good, I think Francois Lemieux will be a great addition to the team.
Me: I agree. I wrote about Francois Lemieux when I published my NFL Mock Draft.
Gym Worker: I don't like giving up a first-round pick for him though.
Me: It's OK, this upcoming draft class sucks. I said so in my NFL Mock Draft.
I realized that dishonesty was the best policy based on two recent events, both of which occurred during the same weekend...
I wrote about my disgust with Saladworks two weeks ago. One of my favorite dinner places has instituted an upcharge for replacing vegetables with meat. I've avoided this upcharge out of principle, but I changed my tune on a recent Friday evening.
I ordered a chicken Caesar salad. That comes with chicken, croutons, parmesan cheese and eggs. I hate the idea of eggs in salads - whoever thought that adding eggs to salads should rot in hell - so prior to the new upcharge policy, I had always replaced the eggs with their breaded chicken, which is quite good.
I decided to stop being cheap, so I asked the woman behind the counter if I could swap the eggs with the breaded chicken. She looked at me like I had two heads.
Saladworks Employee: You can't do that.
Me: Why not?
Saladworks Employee: You can only swap vegetables with vegetables and meat with meat.
Me: I thought there was an upcharge.
Saladworks Employee: Oh yeah, there is.
Me: So, can I do that then? Pay more for the breaded chicken?
Saladworks Employee: Yeah. You'll have to pay extra though.
I know. I just said I'd pay extra, so why are you telling me?
I don't get the concept of paying more for breaded chicken compared to eggs. Sure, vegetables to meat is somewhat understandable, but why would that apply to eggs? Eggs are the things that eventually turn into chicken, and then the chicken lay more eggs. Why would anyone have to pay more for actual chicken compared to the eggs? You'd think they'd be the same price.
Anyway, I brought my meal - half salad, half tomato soup - to the register. The manager was there, and she greeted me warmly. She charged me $9 for it, which is the regular price for the soup-salad combo. In other words, she didn't realize I made an "upgrade" to my meal.
Here's where the honesty comes in. I could have just remained silent about it and paid the $9. But no. I thought I'd get bonus points for being truthful. I expected something like this to happen:
Manager: That'll be $9.
Me: I got some extra meat, so I should be charged extra.
Manager: Oh, that's so nice of you to be so truthful! You know what, don't worry about the upcharge! You're one of our best customers!
That's what I thought would happen. Instead...
Manager: That'll be $9.
Me: I got some extra meat, so I should be charged extra.
Manager: Oh, OK, thanks Walt. That'll be $11.11.
WWWHHAAAATTTT!?!?!? THE UPCHARGE IS $2.11!?!?!?!? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!?!?!?!?
I'm still super pissed about this. Not that $2.11 is going to prevent me from paying my mortgage or anything, but it's just so absurd. I didn't even get a full salad, so I must have gotten six or so nuggets of breaded chicken in my meal. How could that possibly be worth $2.11 more than some eggs, which again, came from a chicken and would have eventually turned into a chicken!?
I think this is unacceptable. I expected the upcharge to be 50 cents more. Maybe 75 cents. Not more than two freaking dollars. And again, I could have avoided the extra cost completely had I been dishonest. But no, I had to open up my big mouth and try to be nice.
Well, no more Mr. Nice Guy! From now on, I'm not saying a damn thing about getting more meat. In fact, I'll say that I replaced my meat with a vegetable and argue that I should be charged $2.11 less.
I went to Staples the following day. I needed ink for my printer among other things, including an eraser for the whiteboard in my office, so I picked up what I needed and went to the cashier. While waiting in line, I picked up a small bag of crunchy Cheetos and put it into my cart. I have no idea why Staples sells Cheetos, but I was in the mood for them.
When it was my turn to be rung up, I placed all of my items on the counter, including the Cheetos bag. The cashier, an odd-looking, skinny man in his 60s with long, gray hair, picked up the Cheetos bag and studied it carefully.
Cashier: Cheetos. Crunchy Cheetos. Made with real cheese. Cheetos made with real cheese.
Cashier: Crunchy Cheetos. Powdered Cheetos. Powdered cheese. Cheesy powder. Cheese and powder. Powder and cheese.
Cashier: Guaranteed fresh until Nov. 18. Fresh until Nov. 18. Powdered cheese fresh until Nov. 18. Cheesy powder fresh until Nov. 18. Crunchy, cheesy powder. Cheesy, crunchy powder.
Cashier: Twenty-one in a serving. Twenty-one Cheetos in a serving. Twenty-one crunchy Cheetos in a serving. Twenty-one crunchy, cheesy powders in a serving. Twenty-one cheesy, crunchy powders in a serving.
I really wish I was making this up, but this guy continued to read off the bag and mutter nonsensical things about cheesy powder to himself. After a couple of minutes, he put the bag down and scanned the other items. However, he picked up the Cheetos bag on several occasions while continuing to ring me up. He would feel the bag, pressing on it lightly several times. He then put it in the plastic bag he was giving me, but then decided against it. "You'll probably want to carry this out on its own," he said, handing it back to me.
I thanked him, and then he reached for the final item he hadn't scanned yet - the whiteboard eraser. He picked it up and had a serious expression on his face.
"Did you know that you can use a vacuum cleaner to clean these off?" he asked.
In hindsight, I should have just said yes and avoided the conversation. Of course, I hadn't realized that dishonesty is the best policy quite yet.
Me: No. You can do that?
Cashier: Oh, you totally can! Just put this lightly against the vacuum cleaner, and watch the gunk it'll eventually collect disappear.
Me: Oh, wow.
Cashier: Now, make sure you don't press too hard. You won't want to ruin your eraser.
Me: Of course not.
Cashier: It has to be lightly. A medium press may not ruin it, but it could be too risky as well.
Cashier: Now that you have the light press down, let me show you exactly how to get the gunk off. You'll want to move the vacuum cleaner like this.
Me: Oh, OK.
Cashier: Not this way. This way would be bad. You want to move it that way. Now, let me tell you which vacuum cleaners you can't use to clean your eraser...
This conversation dragged on for 15 minutes. As he was talking, he continued to eye my Cheetos bag. I had a suspicion that he was going to grab it out of my arms, rip it open and dump all of the cheesy-powder goodness into his mouth. That didn't happen; instead, he continued to rant about how I need to maintain my whiteboard eraser. My precious whiteboard eraser, which, per the receipt, cost $3.25. It's worth like nine specks of breaded chicken from Saladworks.
Anyway, the conversation lasted so long that I felt like I was sucked into a black hole. Throughout the dialogue, I almost wished I was talking to the pervert from the gym again instead. At least I'd be able to check out pictures of hawt gools in bikinis during that mind-numbing conversation.