One of my best friends in school was a renowned bullshitter. He was notorious for fabricating some our years most incredulous, though mostly benign stories. For the purposes of discretion, the anonymity of any known acquaintances, and more specifically the identity of this pathological liar, I’ll refer to him as “Brian”. Brian was an amiable guy, not particularly bright nor an exceptionally charming in his demeanour, but harmless. Brian was one of the few people I knew that could engage in long, meandering conversations that were derived from a truth, yet completely distorted by lies. Tales embellished by details so absurd that substantiating the veracity of his claims was a largely a futile endeavour. Evidenced by other more credible testimony that conflicted with his own dubious assertions. He expressed these exaggerations with such a confident swagger and genuine sincerity that you could never bring yourself to question him. But beneath the eccentric declarations and masculine bravado was a sensitive kid that simply wanted to be liked. Desperate to be admired by his peers for who he was. I’d always admired certain qualities of his, especially his integrity as a friend. I recall not doing my science homework, an all too common occurance I’m ashamed to admit, resorting to desperately copying his homework almost word for word, with Brian being punished for replicating my homework! But he never confessed to it. Never ousted me as the forger, but merely laughed at the absurdity of it all.
Throughout school, along with a couple of other degenerates, we formed an unshakable bond, with Brian’s lies being the catalyst for our little school yard menagerie. Brian was essentially Bethesda, except I could rely on him on occasion. We’d listen to his frivolous anecdotes, comparing details and deriving any salient information from his overly rehearsed routines. Most infuriating about him was the way in which he could attract women. It was simply uncanny. Unfair even! He also possessed this uncanny aptitude for getting us into trouble. On more than one occasion I found myself in the middle of some sort of psychical altercation, simply because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut! And I am not a war like person. Yet despite his misguided efforts to solicit respect from his peers, our reliance on his unreliability was really the nucleus of our social group. We bonded over the absurdity of his declarations, waiting to discover what ludicrous situation he had found himself in when we weren’t around. He wasn’t always the easiest person to socialise with, and certainly didn’t help himself with his elaborate tales. But he enjoyed being around people, even if he didn’t always relish his own company.
Its true that you never have the same friends you had at school, though that’s probably a good thing. He annoyed me more than I’d care to mention, provoking the ire of many of my classmates. We drifted apart after school however, with his shenanigans a far less endearing gimmick when you’re in your 20’s. But even though school was over half my life ago I still treasure those times, even though one the most galling aspects of my friendship (the lies) is somehow my most treasured.