“The Dog Ate My Laptop?” You Can Do Better

We all have a few unique skills that don’t show up on a resume but are nonetheless vital to everyday success on a personal and professional level.

Perhaps you know someone who can whip up a gourmet 5-course meal from a package of Ramen noodles, leftover chicken pot pie, and a limp celery stick.

Perhaps you have the ability to drive with your knees going 85 mph on the highway while texting your co-worker about a vital project (I won’t tell the cops).

Derek can whistle “Jimmy Crack Corn” in the key of F minor like a pro. Next time you see him, ask for a rendition.

Me? I’m an excellent liar.

While that may be hardly something you’d think someone would be proud of, I am. It’s not a skill that I necessarily tried to develop, but rather something that evolved over time. There are some secrets to being a skilled liar that I’ll reveal in a moment, though it’s important to recognize that I use my powers only for good (don’t worry, I won’t try to swindle your elderly parents out of their retirement savings). I’m kind of like a superhero that way — a really, really lame superhero.

So why am I telling you this?

Every year, we receive emails from a few people that go something like this:

“I’m so sad that I can’t watch the live CMEpalooza broadcasts this year, but my boss just put an all-day staff training on the calendar that day. I’ll try to catch the archives for sure.”

Or this:

“Can you believe that our hospital won’t give us time for professional development the whole month of October? Hopefully when November rolls around, I’ll be able to check out the archives.”

Now look, we appreciate everyone who checks into our archives, especially after Derek recently spent hours and hours (so he claimed) sprucing them up to make them more convenient for our audience. Our rigorous team of data analytic interns tell us each year that we get approximately the same number of people watching an archived session as the live version.

But in truth, we all know how the world goes. Life gets busy, priorities move up the list, and you simply forget about that important thing you wanted to do (ie, watch our archived sessions). Plus, you can’t ask questions in real-life on the archives like you can with our live broadcasts. And really, don’t you want a day to vegetate on the couch taking in a full-day of top-notch education without a care in the world? Maybe you have one of those fancy doo-hickeys that lets you project a YouTube feed (which is essentially what our broadcasts are) onto your 65-inch wall mounted TV – if you haven’t seen Derek in HD recently, you are really missing out.

So as a public service, I’ll let you in on some of basics of being a skilled liar that will get you out of that pesky staff training on Wednesday, Oct. 18:

1. Include just enough specifics to make the lie believable — This is really the key to a good lie. Let’s say someone asks me this morning, “What are the odds that the Philadelphia 76ers win the NBA championship this year?” If I say, “Probably around 100-1” that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But if I say, “82-1,” that is much more believable both because it is specific and it is not a round number (ie, one that ends with a zero). It doesn’t matter if that is actually true or not, because at the end of the day, who really cares? That is what makes it an effective, superhero lie that hurts no one.On the flip side, don’t say, “At Circus Circus in Las Vegas, they are listed at 90-1, while at Westgate Jamaica, they are listed at 125-1.” That’s just weird and brands you as some sort of savant no one will want to sit next to at lunch.

Examples of how to use this to craft your CMEpalooza excuse

  • “My son came down with a 102.3 degree fever last night and I need to stay home with him today. I’ll check email though.”
  • “We finally saved enough money to buy a new king-sized bed and the delivery is coming between 9-3. They told me if I’m not here for the delivery, I’ll have to wait another month. I’ll check email though.
  • “It’s my 12-year wedding anniversary and my wife said she planned something special for the morning. She’d be really mad if I had to work that day. I’ll check email as much as I can.”

2. Don’t create a lie with long-standing repercussions — For instance, you don’t want to claim that you just received a call from your Hollywood-bound stylist that he just got a cancellation for a 10:20 a.m. appointment and you’ve been waiting for months to get that “new look” all the stars are sporting. That’s kinda going to easily fall apart the next day.

3. Don’t feel guilty — Remember, you are lying for a very, very good cause. Lies should be saved for these kinds of important things. To this day, my wife still thinks I bailed on my son’s super-duper cute preschool concert/screamfest because I was invited to speak at a “professional event.” I’ve seen the video – I missed nothing.

There are some other subtle nuances I could add in here, but this is just a starter course. Being a lying superhero takes practice and persistence, just like the development of any other important skill. Starting your training with CMEpalooza Fall is the perfect time. And that’s the truth.

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