The Art Of Holding On To A Lie

I’m just a wooden boy, I can’t be expected to know the difference between sugar and cinnamon.

You ever tell a lie so bold, so obvious, so ridiculous… and then stuck with it because you refused to admit you were lying?

This isn’t the normal lie, the one where you tell it and don’t get questioned. This isn’t, “Where were you?” “Oh I was out with my friends” “OK, get washed up for dinner”.  This is way deeper.

Well, let’s back it up a bit.

It’s not like I’m caught up in some sort of drug game or at the center of a Ponzi scheme. I don’t have a bounty on my head, I don’t gamble (unless you count fantasy baseball or my future), and I am not dating a bunch of women.

No, the story I’m talking about (which, SPOILER ALERT, I’ve already copped to) happened about three years ago. And it had only to do with cinnamon. And pasta.

My roommate at the time (a good friend from high school) and I lived on the first floor of an apartment house. Our bedrooms were next to one another, with the kitchen right across from mine. Early in the morning one particular day, I woke up looking to cook some pasta sauce. I had seen on some cooking show that if you put sugar in the sauce, it would help combat the acidity of the tomatoes. Or some shit like that.

Either way, I made my way around the kitchen with the lights off because, every so often, I liked to pretend like I was Stevie Wonder and see if I could actually prepare a meal for myself.

Kidding*. I actually just didn’t want to turn the lights on because he didn’t have a proper door (it was one of those flimsy slide things from Home Depot) and it would’ve gotten into his room.

So, as I’m rummaging through the cabinets to make this sauce, I can’t find any sugar. We did, however, have cinnamon. Now, it should be said, I’m not much of a dessert person. In fact, I don’t ever really make dessert so I made the following (idiotic) set of connections in my brain:

…I’m supposed to be looking for sugar…I can’t find any sugar, but I do have cinnamon… Sugar isn’t cinnamon, but they’re both used in dessert…

Using that logic, I concluded that throwing some cinnamon into my now-heating-up sauce with sausage in it would do the trick. Fast forward a half hour.

He and his then-girlfriend (they’re now getting married and I’m a groomsmen, so it’s not like we’ve got a beef over spices) are now awake and getting something to eat before leaving to go do something. At this point, mind you, I’m well aware that I’ve fucked up. The sauce tastes disgusting and instead of stopping, I keep adding more and more cinnamon which is just making matters worse. It’s to the point where the sauce is now smelling like cinnamon, which is a level of gross I can’t fully explain.

The final bit of background that you need to know is that my friend and I share a common trait: we’re both always right. He also happens to be quite skilled in the kitchen (more so than myself, if I have to be honest) and so when he saw the cinnamon (which, foolishly, I had yet to put away) he immediately gave me shit.

“What’s this? You mean to put cinnamon in your sauce?”

“Uh… yeah.”

“You sure you didn’t mean to use sugar?”

Break in the action:  Here is where I first dug in, the normal trench you dig with any lie.

“Yes, I meant to use cinnamon.”

“You sure? I think you meant sugar,” he said. He then took a spoon, tasted some of it, recoiled (nearly doing that little mouth vomit thing) and repeated himself. “You definitely meant to use sugar.”

Break in the action, two: Here is where shit got deep. I realized I had to dig deeper. I was tired of losing arguments to him, so I straightened up and forged ahead.

“Nope, I saw it on a TV show. On the Food Network, they said that you can use sugar but that cinnamon adds a certain… a certain… I don’t know, they said it just is a little secret weapon to make it taste better. And don’t ask which show, because I tried to record it knowing you’d ask, but the DVR is broken… we need to talk to Verizon about that, been meaning to tell you that.”

He clearly didn’t believe me. I had to go deeper. This was the final dig in,we’re talking 6 feet deep.

“OK, I’ll be honest… It’s actually a family recipe. My mom has always put a little bit of cinnamon in her sauce because my grandma did. And so, that’s why.”

I knew at that moment, I had committed to that lie more than any other lie I had told in my life. For no reason at all, I unwillingly included my innocent mother (whose sauce is not only delicious, but obviously devoid of any dessert spices) and locked her into the lie.

As they gathered their stuff to leave, I continued to eat the disgusting sauce and pasta. Once I heard (and saw) them drive away, I spit out what was left in my mouth, threw away what I hadn’t forced down, and then took out the trash to hide any evidence.

Lastly, I called my mom.

“Hey, Mom, Listen, next time he comes over, if sauce comes up for any reason, make sure you tell him…”

*I should say though, honestly, that sometimes I have actually done something like that. When I’m showering and get some soap in my eyes, I sometimes think, if you were blind, how would the rest of this play out? What color is your towel? Do you even know what color your mom or dad’s eyes are? It generally makes me feel like a piece of garbage and then I put my head under the water.

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