Why I Cannot Be Trusted

It’s a strange thing; last night while out at dinner I ran into an ex-roommate, best known for being a pathological liar and thief. And this afternoon, I discovered, the encounter had rubbed off on me just enough in that brief (yet too long) encounter.

I was at Crate & Barrel, playing the eternal game of, “Do I really need this?” The answer to that question is always no, of course, but it’s not to be confused with the “Do I really want this?” game where the answer is always yes. I’d finally put down all the items I didn’t really need and was down to a singular gift to purchase for someone else. And then I made a big mistake: I got in line based on how hot the cashiers were.

There are a lot of good looking people who work at Crate & Barrel, and I’m still not sure if it is or is not a job qualification. (Sort of like needing a large chest to work at Hooters.) Today’s winner was working the middle register in the check-out station near the main entrance; tall, blond, and his short-sleeved shirt revealed a pretty nice upper body. Enough of a winner that I figured even though there was only a one-in-three chance of him actually waiting on me, just watching him pack other people’s purchases was more than enough.

Apparently luck was on my side for once, and suddenly I was face-to-face with my idle fantasies. This was good, because now I knew his name was Jed (a nice strapping name), and he had that sort of smile that close-up would dazzle your senses. Which, apparently, was exactly what was about to happen.

“Is this a gift?” he asked, taking the intended-gift out of my hands.

“Oh no,” I smiled back. A second later I realized what I’d just said and wanted to kick myself, but Jed flashed another smile and by the time I regained my ability to speak, it was too late to backtrack and admit my bold-faced lie. Suddenly I understood how Ralphie couldn’t tell the truth around Santa Claus in A Christmas Story, because I was experiencing the same thing.

“This is really nice,” Jed said, ringing up the gift. “They’re great to have.”

I think I managed an, “Uh huh,” by way of response but I’m not entirely sure. I do know that his telling me how much was left on my gift card was one of the most interesting things I’d heard all day, and that I managed to actually leave without walking into someone else. And then, once outside and the cool air began to circulate to my brain, my bizarre lie began to bewilder me.

Why had I told him otherwise? Afraid to be looking non-single? Too adrift in fantasies of after-hour trips to the furniture department? Guys I like bring out the liar in me? Or am I just plain stupid? (I suspect it’s the last one, but that makes for a boring story. So bear with me.) If I was a character on a sitcom, this is how I’d end up with the wrong name attached to me, or perhaps he’d now think I was a neurosurgeon. At least in this case all I got wrong was the kind of receipt I was handed with my purchase. But really, if a good body and nice smile is all it takes for me to sell myself out (or perhaps everyone else around me!), it’s probably just as well I’ve never actually met one of the major objects of my fantasies, like Matt Damon. At absolute best, I don’t want to have to legally change my name in order to keep from ever admitting I’d told him the wrong one.

Then again, that’s a small price to pay for meeting Matt Damon. I think I could deal with that.

And hey, at least I didn’t end up shoplifting the gift. It’s nice to know not everything rubbed off on me last night.

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