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!


Ask a Pathological Liar: Dominatrix Days

Dear Pathological Liar:

My fiancé has been after me to tell him about my romantic history. He thinks sharing the details of our pasts will bring us closer. I’m reluctant to do that because for several years I made an excellent living as a dominatrix with an exclusive clientele, one of whom was the founder of the startup where my fiancé now works. I’m afraid to tell him that the fancy car I drive is a direct result of spending many hours castigating his boss for being a failure while keeping him chained to my toilet. Any advice?

Not a Slave to Convention

Dear Notta:

Why are you afraid to tell your fiancé that you made a lot of money doing exactly what he fantasizes about doing everyday—humiliating his boss? Your situation reminds me of this one time when I was working at my dad’s high-end bordello in Monaco. There was this dominatrix there, Madame Stiletto—she was like a mother to me, albeit a mother who wore mostly latex. In fact, it was Madame Stiletto who staked me the money to buy my first European soccer team, which I used as a front to launder the proceeds from my counterfeit couture company. Ah, memories. Anyway, sorry. To get back to your problem, I think you should go ahead and tell the guy. But maybe chain him to the toilet first, in case he has an adverse reaction.


Dear Pathological Liar:

This may sound like a strange request, but I need help learning how to lie. I am just patently unable to tell a lie to give myself an advantage in my personal and business relationships. It’s like I have a mental block that forces me to tell the truth, even when telling a lie would help me come out on top. To give you an example, the other day I bought a pack of gum and paid with a five dollar bill. The clerk gave me change for a twenty—and I brought the mistake to her attention! I just handed back fifteen bucks that I could’ve kept in my pocket. What the hell is wrong with me, and can you help?

Honest to a Fault

Dear Honest:

No, I can’t help you. Help you learn how to lie?! Are you kidding? Who do you think I am, some kind of lying guy who lies all the time? Dude, I NEVER lie, because lying is wrong. Get me? I’m going to say it again slowly so you will understand: Lying. Is. Wrong.


I’m actually shocked and offended that you would ask me such a thing. You kind of remind me of my dad’s former business partner. He and Dad owned Walt Disney World for a few years, back when Disney couldn’t do anything without royally screwing it up. My dad and his partner were the ones responsible for bringing back Mickey Mouse, Snow White and all of those other characters that Disney misguidedly jettisoned. Also, they were the ones who got the idea to have amusement park style rides and stuff. Anyway, this partner of my dad’s was always trying to get my dad to cut corners and even to tell lies, all just to make a few more bucks.

“Look,” my dad said, “we’re already billionaires several times over. And Disney just offered to buy the theme park back from us for 18 times what we paid for it just three or four years ago. So why would you fib? It’s a sin!”

Eventually that guy really burned my dad, perjuring himself in federal court by testifying that Dad was the one who cut the deal with the South American bird smuggling ring. Our family went from having billions of dollars to being penniless in an afternoon. Literally. I remember a caravan of about 50 armored cars pulling up in front of our house and government men in grey uniforms rolling bricks of thousand dollar bills out in those heavy duty wheelbarrows you see at construction sites. My mom, the Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming? It just about broke her heart.

So, teach you to lie? No, sir. I’d rather throw this one-of-a-kind million dollar Rolex on my wrist right down the garbage disposal.


Ask a Pathological Liar: Smother-in-law

Dear Pathological Liar:
I am engaged to a wonderful girl. The problem is I can’t stand her mother. My future mother-in-law is loud, rude, opinionated and ignorant. My fiancé, however, thinks her mother can do no wrong. I’m worried that my true feelings might show and destroy our relationship. What can I do?

Dear Smother:
What can you do? Hmm, not much, but for starters I’d suggest you stop whining and suck it up. Do you think I was thrilled by the prospect of having Beyoncé’s battleaxe of a mom for a mother-in-law? Hell, no. But when a woman loves you, you deal with it. Fortunately, my affair with one of the Kardashians—I forget which one—broke up my engagement to Bey before I was committed for reals. But things usually work out for the best, don’t they? I mean, now that I’m married to Bristol Palin, I have the fringe benefit of a cougar-in-law, if you know what I mean. So it’s all good.
Hope that helps.

Dear Pathological Liar:
I’m applying for a job that I really, really want. It would truly be my dream job. The problem is, I have a good friend who I know wants the job, too. But she’s already applied and been rejected. With my qualifications, I’m fairly certain I’ll be hired. But that would probably leave my friend crushed and jealous of me. What should I do?
Timeclock Blocker

Dear TB:
This reminds me of a situation that happened to me once. Back in the ‘90s, when my dad owned Coca-Cola, there was an opening high up in the marketing department. My sister and I both really wanted the job. But since she was older, my dad gave the job to her. He made it up to me by setting me up with my own boutique agency, which I grew into a major industry player and later sold to OmniCron for $750 million. I would suggest you look into a solution like that. Hey, it worked for me!

Dear Pathological Liar:
i stoled sum candy fum the stoar en my dady says i hav to go bak en tel the man at the stoar i stoled his candys. but i dont want to. how kin i do it cuz ill be shamed.
Sally, age 5 ¼
P.S. dont say just tel my dady i went to the stoar wifout rilly i go. dady says he wil go wif me.

Dear Sal:
Well, I thought there was an easy solution to this, but your postscript put the kibosh on that idea. I don’t have a clue. Serves you right for getting caught.

Ask a Pathological Liar: Bieber Fever

Dear Pathological Liar:
My mom promised to take my brother and me to the Justin Bieber concert. As things turned out, she could only get two tickets, so she said that she would take whichever one of us had the best report card, which came a couple of days later. Of course my brother, the nerd of all things, got better grades than me. He always does. The thing is, he hates Justin Bieber. From the beginning the only reason he wanted to go was to act snarky the whole way through the concert and make fun of girls, because he’s dork who will never get a date. Now he has the added bonus of being able to punk me out of going. He’s happy, I’m miserable, and my mom’s a total beeyotch. What do I do?
Leave it to Bieber

Dear Biebe:
Wow, man, that sucks. I can totally relate. Back in the 90s, I missed out on a chance to see the Black Crowes and I was really, really bummed. But my dad cheered me up and we decided to make a father-son project out of it. So together, we invented computerized ticketing software. Eventually we sold it to Ticketmaster. To this day, we get 1/10 of a cent from every ticket sold in North America. You might think that this would mean I have a lot of money, and it’s true—I do. Unfortunately, my dad put my money in a trust in an offshore bank. My lawyers are suing my dad to try to get the PIN number for that account, which my dad claims he gave unseen to late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. It’s gonna be tied up in the international courts for months. But there’s an upside: I still have my old Tandy computer and it’s still wired into a backdoor to Ticketmaster’s original network. So I can get you a ticket to any concert you want, so long as it isn’t sold out, like the Justin Bieber concert you wanted to go to. Sorry. But, hey, I hear Taylor Swift may be touring in your area in early 2015. Gimme a shout if that appeals to you.

Dear Pathological Liar:
My brother was traveling on business to Beijing on Malaysia Air Flight 370. Last year, he split with his loony-tunes wife and was given full custody of their two kids, whom my wife and I were looking after while my brother was traveling. The kids keep asking when daddy will be home. What do we tell them?
Clueless in Canton

Dear Clueless:
What do you tell them when they ask when their dad is coming home? “Soon.” But dude, you really gotta sell it.

Dear Pathological Liar:
I am dating a girl who I am very much in love with. In fact, I want to ask her to marry me. There’s just one problem: early on, when I was trying to impress her, I told her I was an anesthesiologist. In reality, I’m just an anesthesiology assistant. If we get married, she is going to find out. So I feel like I should tell her sooner rather than later. But how?
The Sandman’s Assistant

Dear Sandman:
I agree you should tell her sooner rather than later. I was in a similar situation once. I was working with a guy and we invented the iPod together. Like you, I was trying to impress him and win his favor, so I told him that I patented it in both of our names, when in reality, I excluded him from the patent filing altogether. Then, when I got an insider tip that Apple was going to sue us to try to steal our patent away so that they could claim that they invented the iPod, I amended the patent filing so that my friend was listed as the sole inventor. When he found out, I told him it was because I had made so much money from inventing Teddy Ruxpin that I wanted him to reap all the benefit from our iPod work. He was amazed that I would be so generous. In fact, he was happy for me that I was not named in the lawsuit. Poor broke bastard. Anyway, maybe you can work something like that out. I hope so, because, man, is your lady going to be pissed.


Ask a Pathological Liar: PowerBall

Dear Pathological Liar:
My co-workers and I are in the midst of a big feud. We all pitched in together to buy 100 PowerBall tickets. As it turned out, one of our tickets had the winning numbers for the jackpot. Now the two co-workers who actually went to the store to buy the tickets say they should get a bigger share than anyone else. And they are even fighting about which of them should get the “bigger” bigger share, with one of them claiming the actual winning ticket was an extra he purchased solely for himself. The rest of us think we should split the $185 million evenly among all of us. How do we resolve this?
Unlucky lucky numbers

Dear Unlucky:
Oh, yeah—I saw that news story about the big lotto jackpot. As it turns out, the winning numbers were from a ticket I had purchased but somehow misplaced. I do remember bumping into two people coming out of the store, and afterwards I noticed my wallet had been moved from my pants pocket to my coat pocket, and the PowerBall ticket was gone. Fortunately, I have a photographic memory, so when I saw the winning numbers in the newspaper, I was able to remember that they were the exact numbers from my missing ticket. So I know exactly how you can resolve this. You and your co-workers can expect a call from my legal team very soon.


Dear Pathological Liar:
I am 7-years-old. When I grow up I want to be a brain surgeon. My parents don’t have a lot of money, so I want to open a sno-cone stand to raise money for my college fund. But my dad says I am too young to have my own business. What can I say to convince them?
Young and ambitious

Dear Young:
Your letter really resonated with me, because my father basically invented modern brain surgery, and my grandfather invented sno. Best of luck!


Dear Pathological Liar:
I’m in a bit of a pickle. I told my fiancée that her diamond engagement ring cost two times my monthly salary, as recommended by the De Beers diamond people. In reality, I don’t have a monthly salary as I make my living as a jewelry thief. Last week my fiancée’s best friend and I had a little too much to drink and wound up sleeping together. The details are a little hazy, but I think in the heat of passion I may have told her everything about my criminal career and the fact that my fiancée’s ring is stolen. Now I’m worried she’ll tell my fiancée. What should I do?
Nervous in love

Dear Nervous:
Dude, you are so totally in the catbird seat here. There’s one and only solution for this, but it’s so obvious I can’t believe you didn’t see it. You need to suddenly disappear for a few days, then reappear in a random parking garage, beaten, disheveled and disoriented. When your fiancée picks you up from the hospital, claim total amnesia about what happened and almost everything else from your previous life. All you remember is her and the fact that you love her. Then, the first time you and she see her friend, scream in fear and cry out, “Don’t let her sic the bad men on me again!” This has worked for me dozens, if not hundreds of times.

Ask a Pathological Liar: Prom Date

Dear Pathological Liar:
I am a 17-year-old girl. My mom is really old-fashioned, and thinks I am too young to go to the prom without a chaperone. What can I say to convince her I’m trustworthy and responsible?


Tormented Teen

Dear TT:
This is a tough problem. But I remember when I went to my prom. I was testing a new prototype of the Lear Jet. Man, what an impressive entrance. That year my date was Madonna, but it wasn’t like we were an item or anything. I was far too young for her, and aside from the fact that I wasn’t really into her type, being enrolled in high school and MIT at the same time was really keeping me busy with school work. But my mom did Madonna’s eyebrows, and Madonna owed my mom for something like five months of eyebrows, and so she worked it off by being my prom date. But she was really nice, and sent me a note afterwards with a check for $500,000 inside. But naturally I returned the money because with all I had already earned off of my artificial heart valve invention, I felt Madonna needed the money more. I was really sad a few years later when I had to sue Madonna for copyright infringement over her theft of my song “Papa Don’t Preach.”

Hope this helps.

Dear Pathological Liar:
In the winter, I find it difficult to keep the temperature consistent throughout my house. I can be freezing in my study, then walk into the den and it will be sweltering in there. What’s going on and how can I fix it?


Blowin’ Hot and Cold

Dear Blowin’:
The answer to your problem is something called zoned radiant capacitive heat, which I invented, although I am having to sue the people at Hallawell Industries to have my patents enforced. My lawyer is Samuel Alito, a Supreme Court justice who is a good friend of my dad’s. He took the case to help me out, and also because he’s got a personal grudge against the CEO of Hallawell over the way he abandoned my dad, who had to save that entire village in North Vietnam all by himself. Yeah, Alito and my dad are tight. Just don’t tell him I made out with his wife once! Ol’ Sammy has a vicious temper! I saw him and my dad beat a guy to death with frozen tires one time.

Let me know if this works.

Dear Pathological Liar:
I received some bad news from the doctor. While I will probably eventually be OK, I will have to spend some time in the hospital, and some of the treatments could be quite painful and disfiguring. What do I tell my three children, aged 6, 3 and 2, to help them understand without freaking them out?


Sick and Soon to Be Tired

Dear Sick:
Oh, yeah, I know all about those painful and disfiguring treatments. I was trekking the Brazilian rainforest by myself once, and had just discovered an unknown tributary of the Amazon when this troop of monkeys came out of nowhere and beat the living shit out of me! Man, I was almost scared there for a second! But I quickly fashioned a shotgun and ammunition out of materials I foraged on the jungle floor and I was able to repel the monkey attack. But this one little monkey was hurt worse than I was and I could tell he was sorry for what he’d done. So I nursed him back to health with these herbal poultices I made up using my knowledge of the pharmacological properties of every single species of jungle fruit. There were some nasty side effects and it was tough on the little guy’s system, but he pulled through. I eventually taught that little monkey sign language and he is now the mayor of a small town on the edge of the rainforest. We still exchange Christmas cards, and I am the godfather to three of his seven children. He is contemplating a run for pope. One of the remedies I concocted for him now forms the basis for every single type of commercial chemotherapy drug. I have tried and tried to get the pharmaceutical industry to use some of the other concoctions I used to heal my monkey friend, but they are too dumb to understand the biological processes involved. Just yesterday, I was forced to sue them in Federal Court because I am sick of seeing people suffer unnecessarily. The judge said he was probably going to just issue a summary judgment in my favor and award me the $8 billion, but he wanted to think about it. I should know tomorrow, or the day after, at the latest.

All my best.