Dear Madrone, Last year, my sister’s brother-in-law’s sister’s cousin Reeda and her third husband Lou took one of those cruises where they have everything, food twenty four seven, gambling, nightclub, mini shopping mall, beauty parlors and even a discount bulk store for people who buy sequined caftans in mass quantity. It sounded dreamy, I admit I was completely jealous, and bugged my husband to take me on a trip just like it, even though it cost an arm and and leg. So he did. And here’s the thing. It was HORRIBLE. Just one tiny example, the spaghetti sauce was starchy. Can you imagine, for what we paid? Corners were cut everywhere, seriously, at one point we all had to get out and help shove off, the boat was wedged in the slip. And the islands we went to were so exclusive that nobody on earth has ever heard of them, because they didn’t actually exist. How could these be? I’m not sure but I don’t think you can find the island of Aluba on any map. I tried. Or Barpados. Or St. Marvin’s. I don’t know for sure, but now I’m thinking Reeda and Lou were blowing smoke up our you know whats. So now we’re back and everyone wants to see pictures and hear all about it. What do I say? Do I lie and maybe some other sap gets pulled in like we did? Or do I tell the truth and have everyone laughing at us behind our backs because I made such a big deal out of going in the first place, and in fact, I told my own mother I couldn’t lend her any money for the heat bill this month, since we had paid up front for the trip. It’s a mess.
Fried, McAloo Ridge
Dear Fried, Should you lie? Probably half of one, six of another. Either way. Personally, I’m against lying except when it’s necessary,this doesn’t seem like such a big deal. An emergency would be when your boss who is a raging egomaniac asks you if you think he’s put on weight, and he’s really a fat pig, but what’s the point of aggravating him, so you say something like, no I don’t think you’ve put on weight, without specifying that other people might think differently. In this case, you can say something like, I can’t begin to tell you what a good time we had, and make an excuse about the pictures, about them being on line, or getting deleted. Here’s the thing, mostly people are just being polite, they don’t really care. If you think that somebody DOES really care, then that person is a gem, and you should respect them by warning them off the same trip. If you don’t want to say it straight out, just say that in all your days you’ve never done anything like it and they shouldn’t either. Then make your eyes really big and nod your head like they understand exactly what you’re saying. And if they say, what ? You just say exactly. For most people that will end it, and on to discussing the price of beans.
Now there are two things here you didn’t mention as problems, but really are.
First Reeda and her hubby. Either they are liars like you are going to be, or they really liked the trip. My advice is to avoid them.
Second. Your mother. Whatever goes on between you and her, not really my business and you didn’t ask. So I’m just going to look at you with big eyes and zipped lip, and if you think you see me shaking my head like I can’t believe what I heard you say about heat bills, that’s not my problem.
God bless, Donna
READERS- About lying. Not usually a good idea. But if you do it, for the love of Pete, don’t get caught. And if you don’t get caught, then don't go and do something dumbheaded like confess out of guilt. It’s double insulting to the people who believed you in the first place.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.