[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column is his weekly excuse to tell you a story that may or may actually not be true, with characters who may or may not be real.]
By: Jack Grisham
I've never not told stories. I was a burglar when I was 5, an arsonist by the age of 6. My father was killed in a house fire. My mother abandoned me on a carnival midway of woe. I carry the circus in my head–freaks, animals and oddities whispering nighttime stories through gray, monotone walls. I was in the third grade when I met my first counselor–a child psychologist.
“Do you like games?” she asked.
What child doesn't like games? I played along. “No,” I answered, “I don't like games.”
I guess I misunderstood her question; I thought she wanted to play.
They don't teach lying in school, but they do force it, putting children in positions in which the truth isn't good enough, in which only a lie will suit them and a world of escape is eagerly sought by twisting truth through small, sweaty-handed ringers. My natural ability flourished under their guidance. I'm a master of looking you in the eye and reading what you want to hear.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by this paper and asked if I'd like to write a column for a bit. My friend Exene Cervenka had been giving advice, and she's perfect for it–gentle and intelligent, charming with just a touch of left-handed wit. But I'm more of a talk-you-into-a-dangerous-corner guy who'll see how long it takes for you to get out. I wouldn't take advice from me.
“I'm sorry,” I replied. “As much as I love to entertain, I don't give advice, but I do lie–how about that? How about a weekly story instead, or a cliff-hanging tale that weaves its way through an issue or two.”
“Well,” was the response, “that sounds interesting, but what would you write about?”
"I'd write about things–about boys and girls, lies, and cheating. I'll write about alcoholism and love, about shows and disappearances, about violence and regret. I'll write about everything I've been through, and all that I'm about to jump into.”
"So you're going to write about you?”
"No, I'm going to lie. It might be about me, and it might not. I might change a name or two, or I'll put a person in one story when they really belong in another. You see that's the wonderful thing about being a liar: You can air your dirty laundry in public, and no one thinks it's real.”
Jack Grisham is an author, psychic, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column is his weekly excuse to tell you a story that may or may actually not be true, with characters who may or may not be real.