Godbey: Lies I was told as a child

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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By Jack Godbey


I was in the store today stocking up on pork rinds and beef jerky when I saw a young mother with a child who must have been five years old. The child was having a meltdown over his mother refusing to buy him a bag of candy. The kid was kicking her shins off and calling her names that would have made Gordon Ramsey blush. The mother told the child that the Easter Bunny wouldn’t come to see him if he didn’t straighten up. Well, that must have hit a nerve because the fit was over just like that. The cereal was not worth the Easter Bunny not coming, I suppose. 

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I began to wonder how many lies I was told as a child that I swallowed hook, line, and sinker. I was told all the regular lies all children are told, such as my nose would grow if I told a lie, and the tooth fairy leaves money under my pillow in exchange for my teeth. For years, I believed the dentist tried to hone in on my action every time he pulled a tooth. I remember bugging my parents once to go swimming and was told that we couldn’t go because we had to wait an hour after eating or I would get a cramp and drown. That meant I never went swimming because an hour never passed without me eating something. I’d scratch my head and ponder, “Should I eat this Little Debbie snack cake or go swimming.” Little Debbie would win every time.

When I was a child, “Popeye” was my favorite cartoon, I recall once, the family had sat down for supper, and I refused to drink my milk. My family tried to convince me by telling me the whole spill about strong bones and teeth blah blah. Suddenly, my mother, in her brilliance, poured my milk into my Popeye cup with a picture of my hero on the side and told me that Popeye would drown in the milk if I didn’t hurry and drink it to save him. I sprang into action to save my favorite cartoon character. That wasn’t the only time Popeye was used against me. Not even a week later, I scarfed down an entire plate of spinach because I was told I would get big muscles like Popeye. I’m not saying too much about my intelligence, but that trick worked multiple times before I realized that I like spinach and ate it voluntarily.

I recall my 7-year-old self insisting that my father allow me to help him slaughter a chicken for supper. All was well until he chopped the head off, and I suddenly became traumatized when the headless chicken ran all over the yard. From then on, I swore off chicken. Anytime I would see fried chicken on the table, I would always ask, “Is this homemade chicken or store bought” as if there was a difference. I was always told that it was store-bought, but I had my suspicions.

I’ll have to admit, I’ve told my share of lies to the children in my life as well. Some of my favorites I’ve told them are, “If the Ice Cream truck is playing music, it means they are out of Ice Cream,” and “Squirrels must have broken in the house in the middle of the night and eaten your Easter candy.” I’ve said more than once, “Sorry, the park is closed today”. Of course, my favorite lie that I tell kids is, “Sorry, they don’t sell replacement batteries for that toy. I guess we are forced to just sit in peace and quiet”.

Most parents will at some point tell their children things that are not the truth excusing the lie by thinking it’s for their own good. It’s alright, you can trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you. Would I?