Hello and welcome to the Self-Quarantine Self-Help Series! This week, I’ll be discussing how you can better yourself during this period of physical distancing, in order to ensure that once it is time for us to emerge from our COVID-free cocoons, we are all cooler, hotter, and smarter! Today’s topic is lying plausibly to make yourself seem cool.
Let’s face it, while it’s super important for us to all be staying at home right now, staying at home all the time sucks. More than anything else, it has made monsters of us all – our clock alarms have been reduced to impolite suggestions, our oral hygiene habits have regressed, and, no matter how skilled we were at moderating our consumption of refined sugars prior to going into self-quarantine, our ability to moderate said has left us. Just this past weekend, I swiped an E.L. Fudge cookie through a pile of whipped cream, to underwhelming results; somehow, the resulting sweet wad was less than the sum of its parts. Normally I would take this behavior to indicate severe depression, but the way I see it, I’m holding up about as well as anyone these days.
All this is to say that clearly, once normal social interaction becomes a viable course of action again, we are going to collectively go nuts. House parties, block parties, and nights out on the town are going to be both prevalent and completely insane. No doubt, there will be a point where you find yourself drunkenly stammering through conversations with people you’ve never even seen before in your life, even though this party is happening at your own dang house!
Therefore, in order to manage the unprecedented levels of social anxiety we are all about to feel, I have prepared this list of false but (mostly) non-falsifiable anecdotes for you to use at these functions, that you may distract both yourself and others from the rich tapestry of underwhelming banalities and off-putting facial tics that comprise your day-to-day existence. Using these anecdotes is 72% guaranteed to make you seem vaguely interesting, at least for a bit here and there, and should inspire the person you’re telling them to ask a series of follow-up questions you will need to deflect, somehow. Please note that potential answers to these follow-up questions are outside of the purview of this column. You are responsible for thinking up and providing plausible answers to these questions, should you choose to go that route.
To The List!
–You played the baby in the 1986 movie Labyrinth. For years, this was my go-to plausible lie for social functions. It is almost perfect for this purpose, since if it were true, it would immediately make you much more interesting than you would be otherwise. Not only does this make you a former child star, technically speaking, you can also claim that you met David Bowie at some point without having to recall any details pertinent to said meeting. However, the problem with this lie is that, while it’s plausible as long as you’re of a certain age, it’s also all kinds of falsifiable. This worked a lot better back in the pre-smartphone days, when you had to leave the party and physically go home (or somewhere else with a computer) to look up who actually played the baby in Labyrinth. Nowadays, a person at a party is liable to investigate this claim right away, thus damaging its viability. Use with caution.
–When you were in seventh grade, you went to the record store intending to purchase [then-popular album], but instead ended up purchasing [less well-known but vastly hipper album]. This one is pretty self-explanatory. If reflecting on the sort of person you were in middle school leads you inexorably to the conclusion that you could have been much hipper in those days (thus setting yourself up for a lifetime of success, street-cred wise), don’t worry, it’s not too late! When explaining your taste in music, simply swap out the stuff you actually listened to back then (almost all of which is guaranteed to be some flavor of embarrassing) for something else that you wouldn’t be ashamed to listen to now, as an adult. While the possibilities here are endless, allow me to provide some suggestions:
Swap out The Offspring – Americana for Local H – Pack Up the Cats
Swap out Oasis – What’s the Story (Morning Glory) for Pulp – Different Class
Swap out Puff Daddy – No Way Out for Gang Starr – Moment of Truth
Swap out Korn – Follow the Leader for Sepultura – Roots
Swap out Limp Bizkit – Significant Other for Limp Bizkit – Significant Other, since ownership of one’s youthful Limp Bizkit enthusiasm somehow became cool at some point
Swap out Weezer – Green Album for Alkaline Trio – Maybe I’ll Catch Fire
Swap out Metallica – ReLoad for Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse
Swap out Method Man – Tical 2000: Judgement Day for GZA – Liquid Swords
Swap out Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar for Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album
Swap out Backstreet Boys – Millennium for N*SYNC – No Strings Attached (or vice-versa)
You get the idea.
–You’re working on a science fiction novel that takes the logic of late capitalism to even further dystopian ends. I’ve been telling myself I’m going to write such a book for years, but haven’t made any progress because my focus and creative drive consistently break under the weight of trying to write something that’s actually good. And let’s face it, at this point our actual society is dystopian enough that the world’s sci-fi writers have all noticed, and therefore fresh takes on late-capitalist dystopia are flying off the shelves like toilet paper. Choose your (fake) premise wisely, as there’s a good chance it’s already taken.
–You have a blog. Do you? Seems to me that if you have a blog you write something for it more than once a week, but who the fuck am I
–You make bread using your own sourdough starter. Since we’re all stuck at home, we’ve all decided to get a sourdough starter going and make bread with it. This would seem to push this claim outside of the realm of lies; after all, the purpose of this article is to provide anecdotes to puff up our cool sex-haver credentials. But let’s be real here, none of us are gonna stick with this shit for the duration of the self-quarantine period, and even fewer of us are gonna keep our starters alive once said period ends. Sourdough is a pain in the ass; you have to feed the thing, you have grab impossibly sticky wads of it out of its container to get a loaf going, you have to wait several hours more than any recipe calls for in order to get a decent dough rise because your kitchen is roughly the temperature of Antarctica, and your reward for these struggles is a loaf that would get you eliminated from any season of the Great British Baking Show. Once this is done, you’ll be able to buy a better loaf literally anywhere, and thus won’t have a house that smells like a beer toilet. Good riddance.