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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Spinning It

Photo by Christoph Aigner
I would not want to besmirch acquaintances’ reputations by suggesting they may struggle with truthiness. But really, a fair number of Facebook statuses, Twitter twits, and holiday letters prompt me to scream, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Because sometimes I know that ain’t how it happened.
Like when a friend and I both wrote our first novels. We signed up for a writers conference, expecting to be overrun by publishers, editors, and agents clamoring to sign us for million-dollar book deals. (By the way, the chances of going home from your first—and often subsequent, and next, and the one after that—writers conference anything other than depressed, in career/existential crisis, and planning a bonfire for your manuscript are more miniscule than getting hit by lightning on the same day you win the lottery and receive a proposal of marriage from Ryan Gosling. In my experience, anyway.) Later that year, while I still licked my humiliated wounds, my friend sent out her Christmas letter and wrote, “I’m meeting with a literary agent in April to discuss publication of my novel!”
What the—?!?
Yeah, I looked into it and found out she’d signed up for another writers conference the following spring. So technically, she wasn’t lying in her year-end update.
But come on.
This dressing-up of the facts does, however, seem to be a widespread trend, especially with the proliferation of social media. So, rather than buck the system, I have given much thought and study to the creation of alternate forms of descriptive reality.
Some call it “spin”.
Just as we spiff up our resumes, put concealer on our pimples, and sweep the crud under the rug when guests come over, here are some ways to re-cast that life of yours and make all your friends and associates jealous about the perfection that is you:

Husband and I had a huge fight. I threw a dish at him and it shattered on the wall, taking out a chunk of drywall. He then peeled out of the driveway, hit the curb, and blew a tire.
As a result of Husband’s and my communication skills we’ve shed some material possessions that we don’t actually need. And I’ve discovered a real talent for spackling and painting! Found a great Bible verse (“Husbands, love your wives”) to do in calligraphy on our newly repainted kitchen wall. AND we’re trying out the one-car family challenge. Think green!
My child failed and will repeat sixth grade.
The school has requested that my child serve as an experienced mentor to younger students by coming alongside them in a cohort-style educational program!
I was fired from my job for stealing office supplies and embezzling petty cash.
The efficacy of my Redistribution of Assets strategy led to the de-necessitation of the position I filled in the office.
On to bigger and better things!
My boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife left me.
My partner and I decided that a mutually-exclusive alliance-construct was in neither of our best interests.
As a result of my string of DUIs
I’ve been sentenced to an
alcohol-rehabilitation program.
R & R coming up! Going to a top-rated resort for four whole weeks! Don’t bother trying to contact me, as I’ve decided to cut off phone and email till I get back. Bon voyage!

If you’ve been floundering through your updates, feeling insecure and intimidated by the enviable and unbelievably wondrous lives of others, I hope this little tutorial will speed you on your way to joining the ranks of the veridically-dubious sugar-coaters.
Of course, this system also works in reverse. Next time you read about your college roommate’s kid who can do Calculus derivatives in his head while flying like Superman and curing cancer with his saliva, try to take the assertion with a grain of salt. The truth could be that he fell off the roof of his dorm in a drunken, drooling stupor and has become an idiot savant who pays his bills by serving as a professional guinea pig for a pharmaceutical company.
The truth is out there. Even if it’s spinning like an LP set on 45 rpm.
And if Ryan Gosling is reading this, I bet he has no idea what that last sentence even means.


  1. Maybe these are some reasons I'm not on Facebook anymore. Great blog...I always enjoy your sense of humor.