Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Wheelbarrow Lie.

Family Moment

Motorcycle storytelling in South East Asia is practically a competitive sport.

Family of Five: Points for mentioning the baby.
Impossible Objects: “I once saw a guy carrying a whole fridge…in front of him!”
Originals: Whole Bonsai tree nurseries, stepladders (carried horizontally), even other motorcycles, blah blah. It’s all about the flavor you choose to give it, and the timing of the story.

So I got one. There were two guys on the motorbike ahead of me. The passenger was facing backwards trailing a wheelbarrow behind them. The wheelbarrow was empty. Kinda cool. Kinda whatever.

It gets a few chuckles, but it’s just a runner-up, innit. There’s something missing. How about another man, sitting cross-legged in the wheelbarrow while it’s being towed, like a small child getting a ride in a supermarket trolley, except from his friend, backwards and on a highway? Fudgin’ A.

The problem is that it’s simply not true. I want it to be, because that would be funnier. But still the little red flag goes up.

But lying is this co-operative act. We prefer everyone to spice up their stories. It’s what we expect. In fact, we demand it. Shun the boring. Reward the exciting. Harmless fun, haha! (Until the storyteller begins to have a personal investment in others believing it, and entertainment becomes d-d-d-d-deception.

So if people start asking for story details, wave the third man goodbye. Rather be honest than desperate.

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