Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 13 2002

Even though I was born in the Year of the Fiendish…

Even though I was born in the Year of the Fiendishly Clever Monkey, I’ve always been a terrible liar. Ever since I was little people have always been able to tell when I’m not telling the truth, thus thwarting my natural monkeyish inclinations outside of a predilection for bananas. So after wasting precious hours trying to come up with a suitable poker face when I was about 6, I got another idea: since I was apparently already so good at seeming like I was lying, I would try to make people think I was lying when I really wasn’t.

This turned out to be ridiculously easy; I had found my niche. Everyone, especially my parents, was so used to knowing I was lying, they had no clue when I was actually telling the truth. I could get all of the inherent satisfaction of cheating people for only a fraction of the guilt. As an added plus, after a few episodes of events proving that I hadn’t indeed been lying when everyone thought I was, people began to get the idea that I might not be lying when it seemed that I was. Of course, at that point we would move somewhere else and I would have to start all over again, or I would move up a grade and have a whole new set of teachers’ minds to play with. One time in 8th or 9th grade, during a Civics class at Maitland Junior High School, the announcement was made over the intercom that all honor roll students should report to the cafeteria for photographs. After a couple of kids got up and left I made a most un-Honor-Roll-student-like show of gathering my things together, saying “Yep, well, I guess that’s me,” in a joking fashion. The teacher, Mrs. Evans or something like that, looked up and said “Sit down, TC, you’re not going anywhere.”

“But I’m on the honor roll, honest!” I said, halfway sitting down. Mrs. Evans or something just shot me a deprecating look. I put on my Innocent face, so she sighed and got up to look at the list of honor students. Sure enough, I was on it. Ha ha, fooled her, I thought at the time, but Mrs. Evans or something got her revenge, giving me such a low final grade in a class most students slept through and still got A’s that I was knocked right off of the honor roll that year.

Even though it didn’t always work, that way of thinking spawned other, similar types of behavior throughout my childhood. These included Acting like I Didn’t Know Things I Actually Knew a Great Deal About, Acting Like I Knew Things I Had No Clue About, and Being Extremely Unpopular Because I Was an Arrogant Ass. It got so that I had a hard time saying anything anyone would take seriously. Naturally, I hung out with other misanthropes like myself, as it was either that or sit by myself out in front of the school at lunch watching cars drive in and out of the parking lot, but of course this did nothing to encourage any further development of my social skills.

It wasn’t until college, when I left home and, eventually, the country for the first time, that I began to try and break the vicious cycle, since I had discovered that I needed a whole new set of defenses to deal with the Real World instead of just stuff at home. Surprisingly, it turned out that the Real World was far easier to deal with than my parents, and a lot of my natural defenses built up over the years I spent at home were rendered completely useless. It’s just as well, though. Maintaining them would have been too costly.

Anyway, that was all years ago. I have no idea why I bring it up today. Perhaps it’s because today is Friday the 13th and my subconscious is trying to provide foreshadowing for an upcoming event it about which it has conveniently neglected to inform my conscious.

Or perhaps I just don’t have anything better to write about. Although I haven’t written anything since Monday, most of my time over the past few days has been spent watching the entire Band of Brothers DVD set. I was slack-jawed in admiration for most of this wonderful piece of work. If you haven’t seen it, see it. If you have, see it again, buy it. It’s a potent reminder of the debt we all owe that generation. I find it strange how many Americans and other expats here in Taiwan sing the praises of the their grandfathers in WWII while in the same breath complaining about all the old mainland soldiers. These guys fought longer and under even more desperate conditions than the guys in Europe, and they never even got to go home. Show a little respect.

posted by Poagao at 3:06 am  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment