The Princess is spending the summer working as a news intern at the same newspaper where I met her father.
“He was a long drink of water …” I begin, preparing to launch a loving remembrance of how a sports guy and a features girl met in a mid-market daily and one thing led to another … “I’m sorry I don’t know what that means,” says the Princess.
“What? Long drink of water? It means he was tall, lanky, and he was really tan because he spent all day at the beach before he had to come to work at 4.”
“Is this fake news?”
“What? No, of course not.”
“It just sounds a little contrived. I mean, he worked nights and you worked days. How was that ever supposed to work?”
“Well, there was some overlap, maybe an hour or two. Anyway, as I was saying, he was at the beach every day before work…”
“Every day? When did he run errands, clean his apartment, it seems odd that he was out there every day. Didn’t it ever rain?”
“Well, OK, not every day. More like three or four days a week, I guess. I mean, every day might have been an exaggeration. Anyway, the point is, he took one look at me across a crowded newsroom and it was like the thunderbolt in The Godfather …”
“Are you sure? Because I remember one time you said he thought you didn’t like how he always kicked off his shoes as soon as he got to work and walked around the newsroom in socks and you complained to his boss about it.”
“What? Well, yes, OK, maybe it was more of a subdued thunderbolt.”
“I see,” she said, unconvincingly.
Maybe I had added a little Nicholas Sparks spin to our narrative but so what? Well, if we’re going to get all self-righteous about the truth, we might want to make sure we have a decent commitment to it our own self.
Fake news is a slippery slope. One day you’re juicing up “How I Met Your Father” with some ridiculous piffle about a “subdued thunderbolt” and the next day, you’re lying about who ate the very last slice of blueberry cream cheese pie in the fridge. Which was, of course, aliens.
As the nation spends a scorching summer watching assorted Capitol Hill hearings riddled with half-truths, it seems a good time to highlight a new study that found 60 percent of adults can’t have a 10-minute conversation without telling at least one lie.
Some are innocent – “You look amazing in those Lularoe leggings, girl!” – but some of them are told specifically to make ourselves look better, smarter, cooler than we really are. Not me, of course, the rest of y'all.
Except for the study also reported that 30 percent of people who say they watched “The Godfather” never saw it but hate to admit it.
Including me. That whole thunderbolt reference? Somebody told me about that scene. I think it was Francis Ford Coppola…
The writer is a NYT-bestselling author and humor columnist who frequently writes about politics.