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The Last Time We Realized We Were Saying Something We Knew Was Bullshit

At one time or another, we’ve all spewed some bullshit. Whether we’re trying to impress someone or we’re afraid to admit that we don’t know something, filling in the blanks with an ostensible truth is a technique in self-preservation. It can even feel empowering, especially when it’s part of some sadistic inside joke between you and yourself. As it turns out, your most trusted source in dick news also happens to be filled with a gaggle of bullshit artists. That’s right—the MEL staff is a bunch of filthy liars.

Nick Leftley, Senior Editor: I’m pretty sure I spew some kind of bullshit almost every single day. But my favorite was my second date with my wife, when we walked around London (where we met) for a whole day. She’s American, and being a native Brit, I couldn’t resist bullshitting about…well, pretty much everything. I pointed out the house where Jack the Ripper had lived. The pub where Paul McCartney had written “Hey Jude.” The alleyway where Sir Walter Raleigh had invented the spatula. The phone booth where the Magna Carta was signed. A torrent of historical bullshit flowed forth like the Thames that day — I couldn’t stop myself. Finally, she stopped being polite and called me on it, and when I admitted that it was all bullshit and I didn’t even know where the nearest tube stop was, let alone have an encyclopaedic knowledge of my capital city’s past, she responded simply with, “Ya fuckin’ bastard,” and bought me a pint. It was love — and somehow, 12 years later, she’s still putting up with my bullshit.

Ian Lecklitner, Assistant Editor: Much like Nick, I’m a master bullshitter. Not in a deceptive way, but in a creative way (at least, IMO). I particularly enjoy seeing how long I can convincingly ramble on about whatever random thought comes to mind — whether that be convincing my stoned friends that squirrels can comprehend English or that plants respond well to milk, I just like to yank people’s chains.

Andrew Fiouzi, Assistant Editor: There’s a scene in the movie Inglorious Bastards where Christoph Waltz’s character orders a slice of strudel for Melanie Laurent’s character. But when she goes to eat a bite he asks her in French to “wait for the cream.” Since I’m the only one of my friends that speaks a bit of French, they assumed that my recollection of the scene is accurate. It’s not. In fact, I have no idea what the French translation of “wait for the cream” is, and I don’t remember the exact line from the movie. Nonetheless, I’ve filled in the holes with the bits of French that I know and added a bit of zing to it. Which has turned into a joke of sorts because we’ve all just gone along repeating my version of the scene that is complete and utter gibberish. Sure, we could go back and rewatch the scene and correct ourselves, but at this point, we’ve found bliss in our collective ignorance.

Jeff Gross, Social Editor: I have a friend named Craig who, to this day, is convinced he was the odd man out when myself and two of our other friends got to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers 23-plus years ago. At least, that’s what we told him.

The truth is, the three of us had simply gotten lost after a night game we had gone to with Craig and his father (we must have been in 4th or 5th grade). When the game ended, my friends Teddy, Andrew and I just lost track of where we were going in the rush out of the park.

Being as young as we were, we had no idea what to do. I think at some point we found someone who looked like they worked at stadium and told them we were lost. He or she put us in an elevator to the top floor of the stadium where I guess is the lost and found for miniature humans is. When Craig and his dad finally found us, we told Craig we had had a little meet-and-greet with Tommy Lasorda and the team in the Dodgers dugout. It made sense in our heads, and Craig bought it, hook, line and sinker. It was glorious.

Tim Grierson, Contributing Editor: Because I have many friends who do different types of creative things — act, write, direct, make music — I’m constantly in situations where I need to offer an encouraging word. And sometimes that’s hard because, while I love the friend, I may not love their work.

But instead of being completely honest, I’ll try to respond to something that connects with what they’re trying to achieve or what they’re trying to communicate. I talk about the ideas behind the work, and the reasons why it’s so important to my friend to put them out into the world.

I don’t consider that lying: To me, it’s a way of encouraging that piece of them that needs to be expressed or recognized. Even if the execution isn’t great, those core ideas are valuable — they’re the essence of my friend — and I want to help feed their enthusiasm for those core parts of themselves. Those parts of us don’t need to be perfect — sometimes, it just needs to be acknowledged and given room to grow.

Alana Levinson, Deputy Editor: For the longest time, I misused the expression “get my goat.” I thought it was used to describe something positive. For example, “this pizza is so delicious, it really gets my goat.” (This is embarrassing; Something that “gets your goat” is something that “grinds your gears,” so to speak). For years, no one ever corrected me! So, even after I learned the truth, I decided to keep misusing it, just as a social experiment. To this day, no one has ever corrected me.

C. Brian Smith, Staff Writer: I attempted to use the word “jided” in a story about grammar mistakes last week, thinking it synonymous with “playfully teased.” I was frustrated by the unwavering red, squiggly underline in Word and voiced this irritation allowed to John McDermott, seated across from me. “Don’t you mean… chide?” he asked rhetorically (and dickishly.) I was then met with the realization that I’ve been employing a non-word in conversation my entire adult life — or at least since requiring a synonym for “playfully teased.”