By and large, I can't stand Beach Boys music, but I've been listening to Pet Sounds for the better part of a week now, and I can't stop.
My ten-year high school reunion's coming up, and I've been having trouble coming up with a cover identity. There are really precious few people who know what I've actually been doing for the last ten years, which comprise of jack and shit, and so I've been thinking about the episode of Mad About You where Paul and Jamie are at a party and they just start lying about what they do for a living, because nobody's going to know.
Now, the way I figure it, the secret probably lies in subtlety, as it does with any good lie. I mean, you don't tell your boss that you can't come in because you've been abducted by aliens and they have a probe scheduled for 10:30. No, of course not, you sniffle a bit, tell the guy you've got a temperature and a raging headache, and your eyesight, though blurry, only returned ten minutes ago. So you tell them things that there's no possible way they can verify you're lying. Right now, the best I can come up with is that I took my federal service exam, got my clearance credentials, and now I can't actually tell them what I do, other than that I work for a part of the State department. I could probably sell this pretty well if I invented a light European accent that I could claim to have picked up while on the job, but am unable to provide further specifics, because if I did, good men could die.
Of course, you have to alter the story to fit everyone else, which is to say that you can't play your cards until they've played theirs. This is to say that if you're talking to someone who works in the Sears Tower, you have to go to your backup work location, because they'll start asking what floor you work on, and possibly want to have lunch or dinner at some point. And then you're backed into a corner. And then it always helps a great deal to have sparse, useless little details about your place of work, like the coffee shop across the street, where they seem to be completely unable to make a triple tall mocha taste like anything but what you'd imagine the pavement probably tastes like after a car peels out.
At the same time, though, it's about ninety bucks to go see people that I really haven't wanted to see at all in the last ten years. I've managed to stay in contact with most of my friends, and could probably find the others fairly quickly through a series of internet searches, most notably through that evil creation that is Myspace. I prefer blogspot/blogger because it provides me with a certain degree of anonymity, which is further obfuscated by the fact that my profile says I'm from Burundi. At this point, were I to alter it, I'd probably choose Burkina Faso instead. It's just more fun to say.
So, yeah, I don't know if I'm going to go or not. I mean, the real draw is seeing the cheerleaders and prom queens and so on, because you know they're not particularly good-looking anymore. I mean, that's just how it happens. The girl voted most likely to succeed probably put her dreams of curing cancer or inventing the longer-lasting light bulb on hold so she could take care of her alcoholic, factory-working husband. So, that's the nice thing about not having anything expected of you: Any success is a huge success.
Which gets me back to subtlety. You don't want to be a huge success. Claiming that you directed the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie is a bad idea. There will inevitably be someone who knows that's not true, despite your backtracking, claiming that Gore Verbinski stole the credit from you in a DGA arbitration hearing. However, if you claim to have directed a small independent film with some people who played secondary roles on WB shows that nobody watched, your classmate might buy that, especially if you claim that you're still shopping around for a distributor, because your post-production financing fell through when the producer ran off to the Caymans with a woman who wasn't his wife; so, now you know why even small, independent films that are shot for less than half a million dollars need completion bonds.
It's tempting; it really is, just to see how far lies can be taken with people you actually know, though not that well, anymore. And the real question is, who's bullshitting you while you're bullshitting them?