My Chopped Liver

As I sit here typing, I'm a little distraught by the unkempt state of my hair and my unmade face. It's because I haven't been out all day because I'm grounded. I'm grounded because I lied. While my mother was at work, I was out on a school night with a boy. If she found out that I had gone on a date in the middle of finals week, I knew my liver would be chopped.

At 9:30, we were having fun. My mom wouldn't be home until 10. Then, the vibrating phone in my jacket gave me a feeling akin to a college rejection letter or finding out that Mr. Rogers died; my heart sank.

"Where are you?" my mom asked.

"Rite Aid, picking up some stuff for school."

"Be back home. Soon."

"Okay. Bye, Mom!"

I breathed a sigh of relief, and my mind was clear as I drove home. She bought it! Wrong! I walked in the door, prepared to lie again about the location of the stuff I bought at Rite Aid (pencils for school -- left them in the car for the morning). I was jolted by the calm tone of voice my mother had when she spoke the words every teenager dreads hearing: "Sit down."

She smiled in a way only a mother can while she told me that if I was going to lie to her, I'd better not tell her that I'm at a place that she just happens to be at; she was at Rite Aid when she called me!

So, here I sit, wallowing in my punishment. Have I learned a lesson? Not really. I'll lie again because we all do. I just won't lie to my mom because moms are the experts of fact and fiction when it comes to their children. -- Amanda Cormier, Westview H.S.

It was getting close to the end of the school year, and grades were coming down to the wire. That made it that much more painful when I heard there was a "book talk" assignment due that I had forgotten about. A book talk entails your teacher asking you a few questions about a book you read. Some teachers wouldn't know the difference if you told them The Fellowship of the Ring is about a jewelry company, but my teacher was good; she dug deep into your book and found obscure details to ask you about. You would know it if you read it; if you didn't read, you didn't have much of a chance.

I'd probably read twice as much as any other kid in that class that year, but I'd completely forgot about this assignment and was only about 100 pages through a novel that had around 800 pages. I wasn't going to jeopardize my grade of a semester's worth of hard work by failing this assignment, but I couldn't finish the book without overdosing on coffee. I decided I'd just go for it, unfinished, and hopefully pass.

I got the first couple questions right because they were from what I'd read, but I had no idea about the rest of them. I struggled to make up answers, which I could tell she didn't buy. Eventually, she asked me if I had read the book and I said, "Oh, yes," as though I was shocked at the question.

After failing miserably, the next day the teacher said she would give me the grade anyway because I had read enough earlier in the semester. She didn't seem angry that I had lied, but I sensed disappointment. Shame overcame me, and it occurred to me that I probably would have gotten the same grade if I had not tried to lie. -- Kevin Morton, El Capitan H.S.

W hen I was younger, my family and I went to visit relatives in Alabama. During that trip, my mother bought my sister this funny little Native American drill apparatus. It had an arrowhead on one end of a stick and a wooden disc that was attached to the top of the stick with leather straps. When you wound up the disc and then let it go, the arrowhead would drill small holes through soft materials. I was so envious of my sister getting this funny toy that I wanted one too, but my mother told me I was too young. That wasn't a good enough reason for me. When we got back to San Diego, I picked up this little drill and had to find something soft to drill through: a book from the library. As soon as I made that first hole, I knew I had done something wrong. I closed the book, put the drill away, and acted like nothing happened. Problem was, as soon as the library book was turned in, I was confronted. They asked me if I had put the hole through the pages. I lied.

Eventually, I figured out that all the adults and my sister knew that the only person who would have done it was me, so I 'fessed up. I was embarrassed that they had caught me, embarrassed that I probably disappointed my mother, embarrassed that my sister probably thought I was just a stupid little sister. -- Laurel Popplewell, Madison H.S.

Most of the time, I try to make my friends happy with compliments or jokes. Every once in a while, though, I feel compelled to lie to make a person feel better. On one occasion, a friend of mine at school was passing around her notebook to the people gathered at our usual lunch spot. I could feel the dread of having to read a poem by a friend I didn't want to hurt. No, I do not want to read your poem, I thought. I do not want to give you a rave review like everyone else is, I do not want anything to do with literary criticism right now...I just want to eat my lunch in peace.

"Rachel, will you read my new poem?" she asked.

"Sure," I said, and before I could stop myself, my eyes were looking at the poem. My worst fears were realized: the poem was poorly written, contained grammatical and spelling errors, and had no logical structure. I couldn't tell it was a poem. Was I being too harsh? Was I being a snob who didn't recognize the unorthodox form? It was possible. I just didn't like the poem.

"Do you like it?" the girl asked eagerly. I looked up into her face.


She walked away, smiling.

My friend sitting next to me looked at me and could tell I had lied. She'd read the poem, too.

"It wasn't that good," she said.

"I know."

And yet, we had both lied. Should we have told her our true feelings and offered some advice? I wish I knew because even though I made her happy, I possibly gave her a sense of confidence as a poet. -- Rachel Oliver, Madison H.S.

As much as I hate admitting it, I have lied. I don't believe anyone has to lie in order to get by in life, but everyone does it. When I was 15 and 16, I dated a guy who amounted to nothing more than bad news. At first, I had permission to go out with him because there existed no reason for me not to. As the relationship continued, I discovered things about him that proved he had skewed morals, and he didn't care about himself or others. At the time, I didn't understand that if someone can't love himself, it is impossible for him to love anybody else. I thought he cared about me, even though he did drugs, cheated, and stole. My mother found out about his actions and finally put her foot down. She told me he was going to change me if I kept seeing him, so I was refused permission to see him any longer.

I still dated him. I deceived my parents by asking to go places with friends, knowing he would be there. It got to the point where I was always scared whenever my mother talked to me. My paranoia proved I was acting in a deceitful manner. I altered my words and actions to make her believe I was innocent. She trusted me (though her trust grew weaker and weaker), and for months I was someone else.

I remember this guy telling me he would go to church with me (to appease my mother) if I would start telling "white lies" in order to see him more. I said no, but I had already begun lying. I justified all that I did and made myself believe that I was not lying, just twisting the truth.

After a period of my mom not trusting me at all and always on the lookout for dishonesty, it was over. I discontinued my relationship and was punished by my own guilt. I finally told my mom the truth. I was grounded for a little while, but it had nowhere near the effect that my conscience had on me. -- Alexis Sebring, Carlsbad H.S.

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