33 Comments

  1. I know someone whose parents told her that their TV could only get PBS, to prevent her and her sister from watching other TV stations. At some point, when the older sister was around ten, it occurred to them to try turning the dial to see what would happen, and they found that their parents had been lying.

  2. Usually it’s “if an ice cream van plays music then it has run out of ice cream”.

    But yes, according to the box in the corner, it is true that “The concept of these strips seems to be “actual lies your parents told you””, though whether deliberately to keep you stupid or not is a matter of debate.

  3. The problem with most of those lies is that it requires the child to be stupid and/or have no friends. And in the case of the ice cream truck, have it never stop on their block to serve other kids. When I was dealing with the young people at work, I told them, “I will never lie to you . . . about something easy to check.”

  4. My favorite comic bit on lies revealed was one child finds out the Tooth Fairy is really just her father. She tells a friend. Friend goes home and tells family: I know who the Tooth Fairy is! It’s Susie’s dad!

  5. Mitch4: I heard it on This American Life (Kid Logic) as a true story, rather than a comic bit. Surely NPR wouldn’t lie to me!

  6. When I was a very young kid growing up on a farm, I had a favorite cow. Came the day when she was hauled off to the local meatpacking plant, which had a name something like “John Armstrong” (e.g. consisted or or at least contained the name of a human being). I was crying and crying until my father cheered me up by saying that she was all right; the president of the company had bought her personally to be his very own pet cow. As proof, he showed me a check made out to him and “signed” by “John Armstrong.”

    As I recall, I bought the lie. (I was *very* young at the time.) I realize this is a variant on the “your pet dog has retired to a farm in upstate New York where it can just run and play all day long” meme, but I’ll wager all the doggies at that famous upstate farm were surprised to see a Holstein cow join them in their romps.

  7. Just posted an allegedly amusing example from my own childhood, and the cens0r bot apparently decided it was too heartbreaking and/or cute and/or heartbreakingly cute to share with you. . . or maybe it just hates cows.

  8. I am horribly allergic to cats, so I taught my son from a very young age that cats are horrible horrible animals so he wouldn’t be disappointed when we couldn’t get a cat.

    Turns out I went to far, though, when, at about four years old, he started screaming and crying in fear at the site of a cat.

    He’s almost 11 as of today. He hasn’t been traumatized, by that at least, and we all laugh about it now.

  9. Presumably Shrug’s story is the one at 3:47 PM.

    I find that sometimes when I post a comment, it doesn’t appear right away, and even after it does appear a few minutes later, sometimes goes through a weird cycling of appearing and not appearing when I refresh. Doesn’t seem to have anything to do with moderation.

  10. What’s ever weirder to me is when I submit a comment and it gets a direct link, but the comment isn’t actually on the page. It can take minutes to longer than I want to wait for it to actually show up, even though the link is on the Recent Comments page.

  11. Oh, I’m fine with older siblings and cousins doing this sort of thing: it’s their birthright. The things my older cousins told me…

    But parents have a diffrrent responsibility.

    And it’s okay if I realize at the age of 7 that my cousin is full of $#!+.

  12. I was probably told a few other “little white lies” as a kid, but these two are the only ones I can remember:
    1) Back in the days of mechanical buttons on car radios, I complained to my dad that one of them was a little off-target: pressing the button got close, but then we had to manually correct the frequency to improve the reception. My dad lied when he said that he would “take the car to the shop and have it adjusted”, but when I checked it a few days later, it really was fixed (oh, wow!). It wasn’t until a few years later that he revealed the truth: all it took to reset one of those buttons was to pull it out, then press it in again, he just didn’t want us fiddling with the buttons so much when we were younger. (Much later, in high school, I had the pleasure of revealing the button trick to someone who didn’t know it, despite already having a driver’s license and a car.)
    2) The other blatant lie that we were told as kids was that preposterous old canard about the “jolly old elf” who infiltrated our house once a year to leave presents under the tree and snarf up any cookies that happened to be on the table. When the time came, I just couldn’t bring myself to propagate this insidious deception on my own children.

  13. My mom was big on “it will make you sick”. Whatever that was an answer or we got the real ones – “it costs too much” or “you don’t need it”

  14. I asked my father why I got an erection, and he told me it meant I had to pee.

    So for a while, every time it happened I went into the bathroom and tried to pee.

  15. Emma Gurd, today’s Baldo might be the most horrifying thing I’ve seen on the comics page that didn’t take place in Westview.

  16. Rex Morgan, M.D., tried to pull off the ice cream truck lie last summer but Sarah was having none of it.

    But as for real life, yeah, I’m sure someone’s tried it. Successfully — probably for a year at most.

  17. When my daughter was little, I’d use “hamster” for a placeholder/joke (“What was that noise?” “Must have been a hamster”, etc.). One day we went to a pet shop and lo, there was a tank of hamsters. “What are those?” she asked. “Those are hamsters!” “No, seriously, what are they?” I finally had to call a clerk and direct him to tell her what they were. He gave me your basic “You’re a dumb***” look and said “They’re hamsters.”

    I suppose that explains a few trust issues she had later… (kidding).

  18. My dad used to say that the car told him when he needed to turn – see, it’s blinking the little arrow to tell me. We figured it out pretty quickly, but kept the joke going…which became more amusing when GPS started!

  19. My dad used to tell me ‘little fibs’ to get me to do something. I always felt snookered when I found out, and later he just couldn’t understand why I stopped believing what he told me.

    I agree that parents have a responsibility that differs from that of an older sibling (who never told me lies).

  20. Now I’m wondering about the psychological effect of discovering that your parents (have) lie(d) to you. Do you gain healthy skepticism to what is told you (maybe healthy check-it-out-for-yourself) or do you end up never trusting people or authorities?

  21. @ Keera – I was never “mad” at my parents about the “Santa” issue, but I did feel very embarrassed that I had been so “gullible” as to fall for the fable. Still, that felt unpleasant enough that I didn’t want to put my kids through it. On the other hand, I have a friend who made the same decision for theological reasons. She felt that if her kids discovered that Santa was just a “myth”, they might assume the same about the religious tenets that she was trying to instill in them. With all that in mind, this “Calvin & Hobbes” strip really hit home:

  22. Along these lines is something that entered my quotes file this week:

    I have a major bone to pick with the concept of “gullible.”
    Sorry that I blindly believed you would… tell me the truth?
    – ellory smith @ellorysmith

  23. I know that God exists, for no other reason than he made me capable of understanding how incredible his creation is.

    I feel jealous of you people who were told your dog went to live on a farm. My siblings and I briefly had rabbits when I was about 5. We had no good place to keep them for the summer, so my parents gave them away. After the family left, my father told me they were going to end up as someone’s dinner.

  24. Santa – My maternal grandfather came to the US at 17 (although the story of his family in the old country & which old country it was has lately changed – or my 91 yo mom no longer remembers the truth) so the age might be slightly off as the new story involves him coming here from Austria instead of Russia (then/Poland now) – the original story matches his records online – and I was told that he came here to avoid conscription into the Czar’s army. My maternal grandmother came here at 3 years old with her parents from Poland. So they grew up, married and had two children – my uncle and then my mom. They wanted to be “Yankees” not greenhorns and “Yankees” take their children to see Santa. So they took my mom as a little girl to see Santa even though they did not celebrate Christmas, being Jewish . (Not sure if uncle ever went.) Mom was seated on Santa’s lap. Santa – “Ho, ho, ho – what do you want you want for Christmas?” Mom “I am not a goy”. Santa, mishearing or not knowing what he had heard – “I know that you are a girl not a boy -what do you want for Christmas?” Story goes my grandparents grabbed mom and ran for it.

  25. I know that I believed in Santa as I was upset we did not have chimney/hearth in our apartment building. I was told that If there is no chimney, Santa comes through the (1950’s, larger console) TV. We did a minimum of Christmas decorating – I had a styrofoam Santa and one of Rudolph and they would be put on top of the TV. When my youngest sister got married some 30 years ago I found out that my Christmas gifts were toys either given to dad by clients for me or my maternal grandfather’s manager (grandpa owned a metal working factory by the time I was born) gave them to him for me. (The manager was at sister’s wedding and my mom introduced him to me and later told me the story – not sure why I had not met him or heard him mentioned before as this was the 3rd wedding of us girls.

    Lies that I did get from my parents – especially my dad were ones to reassure and protect a child. We love you and the baby the same (mom liked her better, dad liked me better). No- no one is going to drop a bomb – they just need you to practice climbing under your desk or sitting in the hall. No, Castro (who I found out had nothing to do with the sofa bed company) is not going to send people here to kill us (friend told me he was). Best thing to do if your leg hurts is walk it off (then the doctor said worst thing to do and I had to stay off it). Tax auditors can all be worked with – they only want people to pay the correct amount (I was a lot older by this point). Robert thinks I had a very odd childhood – he never had a discussion with either of his parents explaining the inflation/recession financial cycle.

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