How To "Brian Williams" Your Way Out Of Everyday Scenarios (Like Stealing Your Roommate's Food)
I admit, I was disappointed to hear about Brian Williams' exaggerations and falsifications on NBC's Nightly News. In February, it emerged that Williams had exaggerated — to say the least — the truth about his involvement with a helicopter explosion that happened while he was reporting in Iraq in 2003. He has since confessed that he was not in fact riding in that helicopter, but was in a second helicopter about half an hour behind the one that sustained damage from a grenade. Now he's been given a new position with MSNBC, and Lester Holt has been permanently given his own job as host of Nightly News, Williams cited his ego in a Today interview with Matt Lauer as the reason he lied about the story, and said that he never intended to sell untruths to his viewers.
But like Williams, we all lie sometimes (though, for most of us, it's not happening on national news). Ranging from fibs and white lies to out and out intentional deceptions, lying is a basic part of how we communicate with each other, and we do it for lots of different reasons. Generally, it's to save our dignity, or make ourselves look better, or to avoid hurting someone else's feelings.
So let's take a look at some sticky spots we all find ourselves in, and see if we can't Brian Williams our way out of them.
The Pizza Thief
Scenario: You got hungry and wolfed down your roommates leftover pizza. You knew it was wrong, but it was just two slices and they looked really good and whatever. You ate them. Your roomie comes home and is like, "hey, do you know what happened to my pizza?"
What Brian Williams would say: "Oh... yeah.... so I was cleaning out the fridge and I thought that pizza was old so I chucked it. Sorry, buddy."
Potential fallout: Minimal. If you buy them a drink they'll get over it and never know the true fate of the pizza.
The Hangover Malinger
Scenario: You had a few too many at the bar on a Tuesday night, and you wake up feeling like death. No matter how many times you brush your teeth, you still smell like a gin and tonic. You're not fit to go into work, but clearly you can't tell your boss it's because you got a little too enthusiastic at the bar.
What Brian Williams would say: "Hi, yeah this is Brian Williams, I think I got some terrible food poisoning last night. Never again with the cheap fish tacos, am I right? Anyways I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow but I'm in no shape to come in today."
Potential fallout: It's unlikely that anything will go awry, but you can only use the food poisoning bit once every year or so, so don't get sloppy!
Scenario: Your best friend really wants to go see San Andreas, but you're more in the mood to stay in and read the new Fifty Shades of Grey book. You've bailed on her a couple times already recently, and you don't want her to think you're a terrible friend.
What Brian Williams would say: "Hey girl, I actually have to work super late tonight. Can we rain-check?"
Potential fallout: This one could get ugly. If you slip later and accidentally reveal that you just didn't want to hang with her, she's going to be bummed and then you've got a friend fight on your hands. Better to just stick with the truth on this one.
Scenario: An acquaintance has engaged you in pleasant conversation, but has started talking about current events, and you haven't read the news in like, two weeks. You have no idea what they heck they are talking about.
What Brian Williams would say: "Oh yeah! Yeah I totally heard about that. Fascinating stuff, for sure."
Potential fallout: High probability you will wind up looking like a jackass if the conversation goes too far. Change the subject before you get in over your head.
The Broken Phone
Scenario: A guy you're not very interested in keeps texting you to ask if you want to go out sometime soon. You think that if you ignore him he will just go away. He doesn't.
What Brian Williams would say: "Oh so sorry, my phone has totally been on the fritz lately and I haven't been getting texts!"
Potential fallout: There's a low chance this will come back to haunt you, since most people already know this lie is code for "go away, please!"
The Bad Memory
Scenario: You have plans to grab dinner with your mom, and she gives a call that day to ask where you which restaurant you want to go to. Truthfully, you are not in the mood to be asked why you are still single for two hours straight, and would rather just hang with your girls.
What Brian Williams would say: "Crap! I'm so sorry, mom, I completely forgot."
Potential fallout: RED ALERT. We all know it's trouble for real if your mom catches you in a lie. Most likely she will keep pushing you to come out until you come out despite the "fact" that the plans slipped your mind.
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