Friday, August 24, 2007

Lying Like a Rug

There's a new guy at work who has been there for about two weeks. As soon as I met him, I realized he was a bit "off", but I couldn't quite determine just what it was. But it didn't take me long to figure out exactly what his problem was.

He's a pathological liar.

In the short time he's been there, he's told me and other coworkers that he's just living in the projects while his 500,000 dollar home is being built. Though he drives a garden-variety POS to work, he's told everyone that his other car is a top of the line Jaguar. His latest lie is that he's really a bounty hunter working undercover.

And he says all this shit with a straight face, actually expecting people to believe him.

He's not the first pathological liar I've ever known. When I was a kid, there was a girl living across the street who was Queen of the Whoppers. I remember one time her telling me that when her family had taken a vacation to Washington, DC, that they'd visited the White House and she got to sit on President Kennedy's lap and that he told her mother that she was a beautiful little girl. Never mind that she was only three years old when Kennedy was assassinated and wasn't old enough to have remembered something like that, even if it had been true. Even as a kid, I knew such a story could not possibly be true -- nearly every time she opened her mouth, my bullshit detector went off.

A person who regularly tells such obvious lies with no apparent motivation, no doubt has a psychological problem. Pathological lying, also known as mythomania would seem to me to be an extreme bid for attention, as I don't see any other reason to engage in such behavior. Unlike other types of lying, there is nothing really to be gained by it. Also, the lies typically uttered by such people are usually so fantastic as to be immediately discernible as falsehoods by all but the most gullible sorts of people.

Have any of you ever known a pathological liar?

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