Flicking through a magazine the other day I came across an article about the little white lies parents tell their kids. Some lies are to protect the child: "Fluffy has gone to live on a big beautiful farm with lots of other bunnies to play with", some lies are told to protect the parent "No, Daddy wasn't hurting me, I wasn't screaming, we were watching TV and the lady on the TV kept seeing lots of spiders which were frightening her and making her cry out..." (mental note: this laboured lie probably wouldn't work even if you did have a TV in your bedroom).
It got me thinking - what little lies did my parents tell me as a child?
I couldn't think of any.
Now, I'm not sure if this is because they were particularly clever at formulating their fibs and I still have not unravelled them, or if they simply didn't need to. More likely it is because the lies I have permanently scarred into my memory are those my older sister told me (sorry BigSis).
For example: she told me that if I let any part of my body, such as a hand or foot dangle over the edge of the bed while I was asleep, it would go black and fall off. To this day I still cannot fall asleep with my foot hanging off the bed.
She also told me that if I fall into pigface (carpobrotus: a ground covering succulent plant with pink flowers that would grow in the park opposite our house), or even put so much as a toe into the pigface, I would be swallowed up and never seen again. To this day I cannot stray within a metre of the stuff and my husband gleefully points it out if we ever happen to walk past some.
The last lie I remember very clearly is that if I hear a buzzing sound from the overhead phone wires, and listen very carefully, I will be able to hear the conversations that people are having on the telephone. I would stand for ages under the crackling phone lines trying to hear what the neighbours were saying.
The difference here is that the lies parents tell children are in some way about protection - we bend the truth to protect sensibilities, innocence and sanity. The lies siblings tell each other are purely about entertainment and torture.
Of course neither compare with the lies that we tell ourselves. These are the ones that do the most damage. I was convinced ET was under my bed for most of the 1980s, a decade of very little slumber and the start of some very bad sleep habits.
So in the spirit of interactivity I would love to hear of any lies your parents or siblings told you - the more damaging the better!