Ask a Pathological Liar: Are You For Real?

Dear Pathological Liar:
I don’t need to ask your advice. Instead, I want to ask about you. Specifically, I want to know if you are really a pathological liar, or merely some shill hired by the content syndicate that distributes your column. Frankly, my guess is it’s the latter. Based on my several marriages, I think I know from pathological liars. And I’m calling bullshit on your credentials.
Stacy the Skeptic

Dear Stacy:
Ah, crap! You busted me. You’re right, I’m not really a liar, pathological or otherwise. And I am so contrite and ashamed. I hope you and all of my other readers will forgive me. But please allow me to explain.

Actually, it’s not Murtaugh Features Syndicate who hired me. They are just a front for my real sponsors: the CIA. And this is where it gets kinda complicated.

I admit that the root of my efforts to come off as the world’s greatest pathological liar really starts with a deep-seated need to win the approval of my dad. When he was the long-time covert head of the CIA, there was no one I looked up to more, but there was also no one I hated more. He’d go globetrotting all over, terminating a recalcitrant dictator here, fomenting a bloody revolution there. And then he’d come home and look at me with my 8th grade school books and my burgeoning careers as an amateur architect and veterinary surgeon, and he’d just have such a look of disdain on his face. It didn’t matter that “Afternoon Delight,” the song I wrote for Starland Vocal Band, was topping the charts and playing from every radio. To Dad, if you weren’t being extremely duplicitous in the service of your country, you were nothing.

And that really affected me. When you’re young and already fabulously wealthy thanks to the decades-ahead-of-its-time stock-picking algorithm you developed, people think you’re invulnerable. Nothing could be further from the truth. The last time dad returned from overseas—where he’d overseen the light-switch replacement of the entire Brazilian government with his squad of look-alike operatives—he sneered at me and said, “Hey, teenage multi-millionaire—when are you going to do something that means a shit?”

And it hurt. I mean it really hurt. So right then and there, I abandoned my cancer cure research (and I was SO close!) and vowed that I would make my father proud of me if it took every blood cell in my body. (Which, by the way, it eventually did, although I’m not at liberty to discuss my bionic hemoglobin replacement therapy protocol until the patent expires in 2018.)

So when the Murtaugh Features Syndicate people came calling, I saw my opportunity. Finally, I had a cover identity clever enough to allow me to take up and build on my dad’s legacy. After all, who is going to question the credibility a pathological liar?

Besides you, I mean, Stacy.

So, there you have it. No, I am not really a pathological liar with an advice column. Like my dad, I am the covert director of the CIA, a job I have enjoyed for almost two decades now. Thankfully, the terms of my contract allow me enough free time to enjoy my architecture, veterinary surgery and songwriting hobbies.

“Royals,” by Lorde, for instance? That was mine.

Whew! It feels great and is such a relief to finally come clean!