By the time you are holding this magazine in your hands, it will be November and you will have been subjected (via print, social media, radio, television, your Uncle Fred) to 476,342 election lies.
“Senator Fullofit will stand up to the Washington, D.C. corporate fat cats and stand for the working man.”
“State Assemblyman Mary Pickanose ran her last election promising no new taxes and we all know how that worked out.”
“Mayor Rick Lazy will stop the flow of New Jersey jobs leaving for overseas.”
“President Big Daddy Graham promises more jelly in the jelly doughnuts.”
That last promise? I will see to it personally that it’s kept. But seriously, how much more of this can we take? Watch the 1976 Robert De Niro film, Taxi Driver. One of the plots of this classic is a politician running for office and the rhetoric he spouts is exactly the same baloney you hear today and the movie is 41 years old.
So being that we are now living in the age of fake news, here are some lies that drive me out of my mind.
Listen Carefully as Our Menu Options Have Recently Changed
Like when? A minute ago? Why is it that every single time I call the menu items have recently changed? Here I am simply trying to make an appointment to see a doctor. Now I have been to this doctor’s office countless times and they appear to have a full-time staff of roughly 10 to 15 or so.
But that’s who you are actually seeing at the outer lobby. Apparently there is a huge warehouse behind the office manned with a thousand staffers whose sole job is to keep those menu items constantly changing.
We Need Beach Tags to Keep the Beaches Clean
I was sitting on the beach this summer when a beach tag checker approached a woman in her 80s and asked her to show him her beach tag. Now I’m thinking this was rude and a little outrageous. “Geez, buddy,” I thought to myself, “have the stones to go after some college jocks who just might hurl some crap right back at you.”’
But it turned out this senior could handle herself just fine. “Yes, I have a beach tag. I already showed it once to the beach tag Gestapo at the entrance back at the top of the dunes or I wouldn’t be sitting here. Do I look like someone who slept on the beach all night so I could avoid paying you?” (Again, remember, this woman was in her 80s and as it turned out, she did have a beach tag.)
And then the beach tag checker dude says to her, “Just trying to keep the beach clean, ma’am.”
And the woman went ballistic. “Stop it with that baloney! I’ve been sitting on this beach since the late ’40s and no one charged me to sit on it then and the beach was every bit as beautiful as it is today. And you didn’t start with this beach tag malarkey till the ’70s. And you wouldn’t even know what the beach looked like in the ’40s or the ’70s because you weren’t even born yet. So get out of my face.”
This woman is my hero.
I’ve Been Trying to Get Hold of You
No, you haven’t. Let me check my voicemail. No, nothing there. Let me check my “recent calls.” Nope, nothing there either. Email? Twitter? Facebook? Zilch. Nada. Zero. So unless you were sending me smoke signals and I missed them while I was sleeping, you’re lying! Now folks under 30 don’t even attempt this lie anymore, but there’s still some oldhead clinging to it.
It’s the Sentiment of the Card That Matters
Really? That’s a lie. To this day, unless the card is outrageously funny, I don’t even read the prose. I immediately look for the cold, hard cash that should come in every birthday card. In fact, other than “get well” and sympathy cards, I put cash in every card that I give, even if it’s just a buck, and people always get a kick out of it. And spend it.
I’m Not Yelling, You’re Yelling!
Go to the video. I’m pretty sure you’ll see that both of you are yelling.
Shut the Door, You’re Heating Haddon Avenue!
I used to think this was a lie that’s been perpetrated on us for centuries by every parent who ever lived. But then one freezing January night I came home and there were a couple families huddled around the front door just waiting for someone to leave the front door open to catch that sliver of heat. One kid was attempting to toast marshmallows. So I was wrong.
This line delivered by a man means exactly that. He’s not sure whether or not you’re going to be allowed to go to that ballgame. But “we’ll see” delivered by every mother who ever existed? It means NO!
Oh, You Don’t Have to Get Me Anything for Christmas
Go ahead. Call their bluff. Get them nothing and watch their reaction.
My old man was a cheapskate who was constantly complaining about how much money was spent during the holidays. “All I ever got for Christmas was an orange and a piece of coal.” Every year, the same rhetoric.
Then one year, that’s what my mom got him. Wrapped them up in little boxes with a ribbon, stuck them in a Macy’s decorative bag, and put it under the tree.
Never heard my old man riff on that “orange and piece of coal” bit again.
There’s Two Minutes Left in the Game
The lie that is heard the most on Turkey Day. At some point, Mom will yell out “C’mon everybody, sit down, dinner’s ready!” And some man from the TV room will yell back, “Hold up, there’s only two minutes left in the game!” And Mom (or some other woman) will scream back, “But you said that 20 minutes ago!” And on and on.
Some things never change.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 8 (November, 2017).