I was little, before my brother was born. Like most little kids, I woke up early. In an attempt to wrangle a few more minutes of sleep, my parents tried to convince me to amuse myself before I woke them up. They left me a banana on my kid-sized play table.

The first morning, I woke up, tried to crack the stem of the banana and smushed it. I ran into their room, holding the impenetrable banana, demanding help. The next day, they scored the banana with a butter knife and left it on the play table. Again I ran into their room, crying, because the banana was brown where it had scored. The third day they left me the uncut banana and a butter knife on my play table, with explicit instructions on how to cut the top of banana safely.

I cut the top of the banana, most of the way through but not all the way through, as we had discussed. I was able to snap the top, peel the banana and eat it. As soon as I was done, I wanted another banana. Another banana would be out of the question, because my parents were in charge of the bananas. But my parents were asleep.

I climbed up on the kitchen counter and procured a second and finally a third banana. When my parents woke up I requested a fourth banana.

“How many bananas have you had today?” my mom asked.

This was an interesting question. Technically, I had had three bananas. But my mom only knew about the original banana. I recognized that there were multiple answers to the question of the banana. There were the number of bananas she thought I’d had and the number of bananas I knew I’d had. I recognized that different answers would yield different results. I weighed the outcomes and came to the obvious decision. I told my first lie.

“I had one banana,” I said.

I don’t know if she believed me or if she was keeping count of the bananas, but she gave me the fourth banana. I ate it feeling equal parts guilty and satisfied. But there was a gulf between us now, between what I knew and what she knew, and it was then I learned that lying, though profitable, is lonely.

Leave A Comment