I have the opposite of a poker face: everything I think and feel is clearly reflected on my visage and in my body language.
Yet at the same time, being a writer, I have this ongoing urge to make up yarns. Or to embellish the ones I'm sharing -- when I tell it, it wasn't just a storm but a hurricane!
There's one story I've been telling a lot the past three years, and it now bores me to tears. It's about how I injured my neck and shoulder (repetitive strain, blah, blah, blah) and the long journey back to full health (yada, yada, yada).
So one day, as I was chatting with a TV host just before appearing on her show to talk about RIPE and trying to explain why I can only sit on hard chairs, she asked the question I've come to dread: "How did you injure yourself?" But this time, instead of a polite and short recap, this popped out of my mouth instead:
"I fell off a glacier."
I nearly burst out laughing -- where did that come from?
"Oh, that's terrible," she replied. We shook our heads as we contemplated the very thought, and I ducked my chin in a gesture that felt like something a humble explorer might do. I could actually feel the points being racked up in her head. "Oooh, glacier. How outdoorsy!" and, "Oooh, glacier. Nearly extinct!"
Did I do it again? You bet! The next time I was with a client who'd hired me to give a speech to her senior team and, yes, I had just switched to a hard chair. After hearing the story and going through the ritual head-shaking, she paused, looked me in the eye and asked, "Which glacier?"
What would you have done? Fessed up? Broken into a cold sweat? Made up a name, figuring what were the chances that someone had memorized the name of every glacier in the world and would know you were bluffing? Changed the subject? I realized the game was over. I told the truth. And we both had a good laugh.
Have you ever felt the urge to tell a whopper -- in good fun or for any other reason? How did it work out when you did? What about when you were a kid? And can you tell when others are? For example: with my youngest stepson, the giveaway that he was making it up was something we called, "wiggle lips." Do tell!
"RIPE" is here! This spring, I'm writing about "RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50," a 12-week course on discovering passion, purpose and possibility at midlife. Check out the video (a.k.a. book trailer!):
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