Sunday, March 16, 2008

Would I Lie?

Home from an exciting Spring Break trip my daughter wanted to know if I had written anything about her in the book.

“Maybe,” I said warily.

“Maybe what,” the Inquisitor inquired, turning to inspect me more closely.

“Maybe I wrote something, sort of, about you, sort of.”

“That’s two “sort of's” in one sentence, Dad. You wrote a pack of lies, didn’t you?” The Inquisitor was going to get the truth no matter what the cost. “Here’s the book. Read it to me. I want to hear your words.”

I read. She listened.

When I was done I looked up and the Inquisitor was not happy.

Not. Happy. At. All.

Taking a deep breath she held forth. “That was a big pack of lies. I’m an Inquisitor, not a Princess! You portrayed me as a Princess. How could you? You’re a big, fat liar. That’s what you are.”

I shifted in my chair, hurt from the application of such torture: the stinging rebuke, not to mention the fat comment. I had one card to play and I tossed it down hoping to play a trump.

“It’s not a lie. It’s fiction.”

“Same thing,” the Inquisitor huffed, unmoved.

“No, it’s not the same thing,” I said, “A lie is an intentional attempt at deception. A liar knows the truth and deliberately tries to deceive the listener to believe something else.”

“Same thing,” the Inquisitor restated, unmoved.

“Fiction is recognized by everybody to be made up. Fake. Not real. Imagination. The fiction writer never intends to deceive because it is understood by the word ‘fiction’ that the accounting is imaginary.”

The Inquisitor put down her tools of torture and softened slightly.

“So, all that stuff about me you just made up? Like, out of your head? Like, out of thin air?” my daughter asked.

I didn’t like where this line of reasoning was going so I jumped in before the out-of-your-head and out-of-thin-air concepts got linked.

“Yeah, you know, fiction. Made up. Ha ha!” I tried to lighten the mood.

“So, all of it was fake, false, fiction. Not a lie. Tall tale,” my daughter continued, “All the whining, whimpering, childish behavior, petulance and selfishness? All fiction?”

“Yep,” I replied confidently, feeling my oats, “Not a stitch true.”

“Even the Princess part, not true?”

I paused.

“Er, no, uh, well, that part, ahem, was, uh,” I grasped for words but none came so I went with the facts, “true.”

The Inquisitor turned to inspect me more closely.

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