Pants on Fire

LiarAs I have said many times before, I'm sure it is a sad commentary on Mojo's life that, when faced with some minor anecdote or happening, sooner or later I am bound to say something along the lines of "That reminds me of that scene in THE SIMPSONS where..."

Naturally, I have been watching THE SIMPSONS--albeit with dwindling enthusiasm through the years--since they were interstitials on Tracy Ullman's show. Even the hit-or-miss episodes of today have at least one line that will make me smile, or at least mildly smirk--which puts it far above most commercial television--but they do not begin to approach the genius of the Glory Days of the first ten seasons or so. There were just too many quotes ("Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.") that the Favorite Husband and I immediately co-opted as our own. And Homer, of course, was blissfully stupid, before it became a cliché.

One of the most quotable episodes was in season two, when Mr. Burns required a blood transfusion. (It ends with the terrific observation: "'Maybe there is no moral to this story.' 'Exactly! It's just a bunch of STUFF that happened'.") The only eligible blood donor was Bart, who agreed to the procedure when Homer promised him untold riches that came from helping a wealthy person. They were both disappointed when Mr. Burns merely sent them a thank-you card ("Thank you for your son's blood"), so Homer very angrily dictated one of the greatest reply letters evaar (the phrases "bony girl arms" and "elephant's butt" appear prominently). Marge intervenes in time to convince Homer not to send it, but Bart goes ahead and sends it anyway, which precipitates a montage of Homer trying to get the letter back or destroying it before Mr. Burns can read it. One of these schemes was, Homer PRETENDS to be Mr. Burns, shows up at the post office, and asks the worker behind the counter for his mail. The resulting "Hello. My name is Mr. Burns" has become shorthand in my family for someone who is lying--lying very, very badly.



Why bring this up? Because I am related to the WORST LIAR ON THE PLANET, that's why.

You see, when we were kids, we usually spent two weeks every summer camping at Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine. After literal DECADES of such history, we have a sense of ownership over the island, which might be of mild concern to the eighty gazillion other people who feel likewise. And one of my biggest peeves is, at some point between my idyllic childhood and my crusty misanthropic slide into adulthood, the park made the Loop Road ONE WAY and--horror of all horrors--commenced CHARGING MONEY for it. This is, of course, a slap to childhood Mojo's face, but eh, whatchagonnado.

I'll tell you what you do. You wait until you're middle-aged, you meet your whole family and rent a house in Southwest Harbor (the west side was always OUR hangout), and a bunch of you grown-up should-know-better-by-now kids spontaneously decide to drive Mom's van through the Loop Road for auld lang syne. Mom doesn't feel like going, but hey, no worries--she gave us her senior citizen pass so we can do it for FREE.

Our Intention
(Our intention.)

Not thinking things through--that's kinda the way this family works--it's not until we get up to the guard shack that we figure out Mom actually has to BE IN THE CAR for for the free pass to take effect. (It's stuff like this that's why Mojo has never actively pursued a Life of Earnest Crime.) So as we drive up, we encourage the driver--my Favorite Older Sister, who has enjoyed a SPECTACULARLY CHECKERED past, enough that one would think she would be BETTER at stuff like this--that all she has to do is CLAIM to be our octogenarian mother, and we're in like Flynn. So we all stop giggling for five seconds, we're all sober and serious, we're whispering encouraging things like "You can DO this!" and the Favorite Older Sister hands over the senior citizen pass, all calm, cool, collected and unperturbed, and the poor, beleagered, somewhat skeptical ranger asks, "Is this YOU?"

Again, WORST LIAR IN THE WORLD. As I recall correctly, the FOS's response to this inhuman grilling was "Ummmm..." Which totally destroyed the sober decorum of everyone else in the car; we started all SCREAMING WITH LAUGHTER at her. If there were guns drawn we would have gotten her shot.

The poor ranger rolled her eyes--she probably gets this a hundred times a day--and asks, "Is the owner of this card somewhere in the vehicle with you?" while peering into the tinted windows at the screaming, doubled-over horde. Which just made us laugh all the harder. The capper was my Favorite Husband's voice, from the very back of the car, intoning "Hello, my name is Mister Burns" which had us literally rolling on the floor of the van at this point.

Luckily for my FOS the park service decided NOT to press charges and let us turn the car around. Because we weren't gonna pay no twenty bucks--or whatever it was at the time--to drive a road we had already driven hundreds of times in our lives. We waited the next day, for our Beloved Favorite Mother to chaperone the group and vouch for bail money.

Every once in a while someone brings that up and we all scream with laughter anew as my Favorite Older Sister ponders the inconvenience of jail time weighed against her growing desire for revenge. And at some point in the exchange my husband or I will repeat "Hello, my name is Mister Burns" and we just laugh all the harder.

Again: Worst. Liar. EVAAR.