If You Lie, You Die


When I was 4 years old, my sister, DD, told me that if you lie, you die.

At the time it made sense, you know, because it rhymed.

Paranoia struck.

I had to get through the day without telling one fib.

You know how hard that was?

As a kid, you lie all the time. Adults find it funny when you’re making stuff up. They even egg you on —

“Oh, you saw a yellow bunny, did you? Wow. Where did it come from? Space?
“Yes! Yes! You saw the yellow-space-bunny too?

Sometimes you lie just ‘cause you’re not paying attention.

“Who are you on the phone with? Your girlfriend?
“Uh, what? Yeah, sure, whatever.”
“Oh! John has a girlfriend! John has a girlfriend!”

Come to think of it, adults are obnoxious to little kids.

But I digress.

My life was on the line.

I would randomly burst into tears in kindergarten class from all the stress of being honest.

Then it happened — I let my guard down.

My friend Dustin asked if I could read him a book.

“Okay, yeah, I know how to read!” I lied with the confidence of a serial killer.

I “read” him a book about Santa Claus.

It was easy to fake, there were a lot of pictures, and I was familiar with the character’s motivation. He’s a fat white man who likes to give gifts — the story practically tells itself.

Then after my friend thanked me and walked away, it struck me: I lied!

How long did I have left to live? The tears started coming down my face as I tried to face my death like the 4-year-old man I was.

My teacher, Ms. Hinojosa, was used to me crying in class by now, so it didn’t seem odd that I was sobbing into a Santa Claus book.

After a while of not being dead, I thought, “Maybe I got away with it? Maybe someone has to find out that you’re lying before they can kill you.”

Then Ms. Hinojosa decided it was story time.

All the kids gathered around.

She asked what book we wanted to read.

As I tried to gain my composure, Ms. Hinojosa grabbed the Santa book from my hands. She was probably tired of me crying all over it.

“How about this one, class?”
“Yeah!” the kids shouted, like a bunch of savages.

Dustin raised his hand,

“Can we read another book? Someone already read this one to me.”

Dustin looked over and smiled.

The shame,” I thought.

Oh no, she was going to read the book. If she does that, then Dustin would find out that I couldn’t read. This classroom full of low-lifes would kill me before my dad would have a chance to pick me up!

I played the only card I had left, I screamed for my life,


I went hysterical. Running around the classroom yelling,


This was a new move for Ms. Hinojosa to deal with.

Story-time was cut short.

I was safe.

That was, until the parent teacher meeting the next day, when I confessed what DD told me.

A new, true-sounding lesson would then be learned:

Snitches get stitches.