“I taught Slash how to play that”
December 7, 2010 6:23 AM   Subscribe

"I was really excited to get the chance to finally meet these pandas, but when I asked to see them, I was told (after a lengthy pause) that they had grown too big, and her mum had sent them back to the zoo only the week before." Billy Bullshit celebrates the tall tales that we all pretend to swallow until the teller is well out of earshot.
posted by mippy (29 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
These are funny but mostly sad.
posted by ChrisHartley at 6:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I totally had a secret ostrich AND an iPhone when I was 9 (in 1972). But my mom wouldn't let me take them out of the house because it would blow our cover as time travelers from the 21st century. I swear.
posted by briank at 6:40 AM on December 7, 2010

God I love this site.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:44 AM on December 7, 2010

Well, I had two, so there.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:44 AM on December 7, 2010

So, I wonder if I can submit some of the business bullshit that I've been exposed to. "Sure, it has that feature / it will be in the next version" in particular.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2010

As also embodied by SNL's Penelope (except some of her claims occasionally turn out to be true).
posted by hermitosis at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2010

I used to have a whole schtick about having been a circus roustabout or a roadie for Black Sabbath or a Soul Train intern. I'd get all into it, just saying the most outlandish stuff I could think of, building it to a climax, making it (I thought) really obvious that I was lying, all just for fun. But I got so much honest, real disappointment from my listeners that I decided it wasn't fun anymore.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2010

I had a boss that claimed he once dropped watermelons on his High School's homecoming football game from an ultralight... while wearing a gorilla suit.
posted by xorry at 6:52 AM on December 7, 2010

He also claimed to have some simulator software that would crash when he did some XX thing. He then was apparently building some contraption to reproduce this crashing and ??? profit
posted by xorry at 6:56 AM on December 7, 2010

I always wondered if these people believe the stories they tell. Maybe they construct a warped personal reality and believe it whole heartedly. I had a friend that would tell me my own stories as if they happened to him, he was unshakable in the belief that it was him and not me.

As for general bullshit in college I got tired of telling people I studied computer science. I started telling people I was a divinity student, studying to be a monk.I told them that Immediately after graduation I would have to take a vow of silence due to a contractual obligation to the monastery and that I had already taken a vow of chastity in order to get the money for college from the monks.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:10 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Before high school? Kind of innocent and cute. After high school? Probably you're a pathalogical liar.
posted by tehloki at 7:11 AM on December 7, 2010

A girl at my school went on holiday and told us that she went out with the 22yr old Spanish waiter, Julio. (We were in Year 8.) Then she said she thought she might be pregnant, and she was waiting for Julio to write to her so they could 'discuss it'. As the story developed, she became worried - there was a chance it may be 32yr old Fabio, or even 48yr old Manolo.

At which point the cracks started to appear in her story - not because it was unlikely that a pre-teen girl would have had group sex with three Spanish waiters at a family resort, but who heard of someone called Manolo? So to avoid the 'Did you have sex with Barry Manilow' comments, she told us she would prove it ONCE AND FOR ALL by bringing in pictures in together. The next day, a Boots photo-album appeared with Kimberley with her arm round a very scared and awkward looking man in an askew bow-tie. They were shot on 110 film, but even through the red-eye we could tell that this wasn't the first time that a teenage girl had tried to get him away from collecting sangria glasses and half-eaten plates of chicken and chips ('none of that foreign muck, Juan...') to pose for photos to show their friends back home.
posted by mippy at 7:13 AM on December 7, 2010

Oh, an ex once told me (we were 16) that his ex had gone into a cloakroom in a party, found him asleep thinking he was someone else, and began to 'get freaky' with him while shouting someone elses name. So imagine my surprise when my local video store finally got a copy of Clerks. THANKS FOR RUINING KEVIN SMITH AND HIS SLACKER HUMOUR.
posted by mippy at 7:15 AM on December 7, 2010

In third or fourth grade (I was 9 or 10), my best friend and I convinced a large group of students in our class that my house (built in the 80's) was haunted by the ghost of a little girl who died there hundreds of years ago. We constructed an entire life around this girl, and she would leave me notes and items in one spot under a specific tree in my back yard. I would take these things to school and we'd try to use them to communicate with the girl's ghost. A lot of the kids were convinced, and one of their parents actually ended up calling my mom to ask her to get me to stop, because her daughter was having nightmares about the ghost, who we named Emily. We found the whole thing hilarious, which in retrospect seems a bit mean. But hey, I was only a kid.
posted by routergirl at 7:20 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Scrolling down to the one about Bilal, I couldn't help but think of this song.
Language NSFW
posted by Madamina at 7:27 AM on December 7, 2010

I, too, knew a girl when I was in high school who "got pregnant" by "her boyfriend" who lived in Canada lived in the next town over and who we never met or even saw. Then she went to Florida with her family for a weekend and supposedly had the baby, gave it up for adoption, and was back at school on Monday.

We all knew she was a liar but all of this was more or less fine until she started saying that she saw one of our teachers kissing another student, whereupon it turned into a gigantic clusterfuck that ended with the administration involved. I think she meant to portray this imagined relationship as some great romance, but it was just an all around skeevy concept. I hated that teacher and he was a complete asshole, but I still went in and told the principal the truth about her fucking crazy ways, because he didn't deserve to get fired over her melodramatic bullshit.

I think the whole experience has really soured me on "tall tales," to be honest. Even when it wasn't damaging someone's reputation, it was never cute or funny, just shit we put up with because none of us were secure enough to be comfortable losing a friend.

The following year she moved away and I stopped speaking to her entirely, but every now and then she tries to friend me on Facebook and I cringe.
posted by marginaliana at 7:28 AM on December 7, 2010

A friend's boyfriend told me that he had once been travelling by train, ordered some tea and biscuits from the guard, only to find that the complete stranger opposite him started to help himself to said biscuits. Too shocked (and English) to say anything, he took one of the biscuits himself, to assert ownership. The stranger responded by taking another biscuit. And so it went on, each taking a biscuit in turn, looking stone faced at the other, until the packet was empty. It was only when the stranger got off, that he realised his biscuits had fallen to the floor, and they were the stranger's biscuits all along.

Quite a funny story, but he lifted it from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
posted by Major Tom at 7:47 AM on December 7, 2010

In 6th grade David Wexler told us that he had a minibike. We were at his house and we asked to see it, but he told us that he was being punished and that it was locked in a closet in his basement.

Am I doing this right?
posted by fixedgear at 7:49 AM on December 7, 2010

Oh whatever. Wexler? We're supposed to believe his last name was Wexler? You're not even trying.
posted by Babblesort at 8:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure I can do this story justice, but permit me to make an attempt.

The receptionist at the printing plant where I used to work is a friendly sort of person. The office workers and the art department had lunches at the same time, so we chatted quite a bit. She told me about her boyfriend, whom she'd met in school when he was an exchange student from England. One time, he flew a helicopter from England to Louisiana to pick her up for a date. He was a country-music songwriter (wish I could remember the names of the songs) who had loads of money.

Then one day, she was sad: He has AIDS! He asked her to marry him, but in spite of all his riches, she's a simple girl who likes simple things. She doesn't want to spend the best years of her life looking after someone who's dying. So, she had to cut our conversation short (chatting with her about her love life was often the highlight of my day) because he was picking her up in his helicopter.

Not too long after the last helicopter visit, she was sad again. He'd died. Nobody I know had ever seen the guy, though few of my coworkers ever saw my significant other for what that's worth (wish he had a helicopter).

For years after the guy's death, she received flowers on every major holiday. I guess the story is that he left instructions in his will for somebody to go to the local Price Chopper on the 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day and whatnot and send her a cheesy themed floral arrangement.

Now let me tell you about my ex-boss, who played the piano so much she doesn't have fingerprints anymore. Bless her heart.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I heard the biscuit story recanted in Quentin Crisp's diaries too. Maybe it's passed into apophycra.

The thing is, nobody believes me when I say that I read at an adult level by three (which sounds unlikely, but is entirely true - to the point where I thought it was normal and couldn't work out why friends' little brothers couldn't be entertained with books). But Mark Langtree believed me when I told him that the rudest words in the whole of the English language were 'vaudeville' and 'burlesque'. He possibly still does.
posted by mippy at 8:47 AM on December 7, 2010

This site delivers. I especially liked

"Ian Rush doesn’t even have a real moustache. My uncle makes them for him.”

He also once claimed John Barnes was in the Crips, and was in hiding in the UK. To back this up he said “all Crips are good at rapping, and so is John Barnes.”"
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2010

In elementary school I had a good portion of the student body convinced, or at least not entirely sure I wasn't an alien. I wish I remembered the name of the planet I claimed to be from. To back this up after school while waiting to be picked up by my dad, I'd "try to remember how to fly," which meant flinging myself repeatedly into the air and subsequently to the ground.

Now, though I know two guys who are in their mid twenties who still do this, though without any sort of consistent story (I had people going for four years, the amateurs). One of them is really not very artful or determined. He'll give it up when you call bullshit on his story about how he witnessed an organized battle between bands of cats and raccoons, complete with formations and flanking maneuvers. Annoying, but not really pathological, I guess. The other guy, though, knows Welsh! and Latin! He dressed as a samurai for halloween because he was a fully trained samurai who couldn't demonstrate anything because his skills were "meant only for killing." Also, he's bad at rock band because he keeps hearing notes for which there are no buttons, but does not claim to playa real guitar. Oh yeah, he's got a manuscript over at Penguin Publishing that they're about to pick up. Penguin Publishing!
posted by cmoj at 11:43 AM on December 7, 2010

Having no middle name myself, I felt left out at school. So I constructed my own middle name, using the surname of my mum's boss - Dawson. It lasted about 3 weeks before I got bored with it.

One year my Mum sent me to "summer camp" with one of my friends. We didn't know anyone else there, so I was introduced to everyone as Felix - note: my name is not Felix ;) It confused the hell out of the camp organisers.
posted by robotot at 11:44 AM on December 7, 2010

I know Welsh and Latin! Although about the only thing I can say in Welsh is 'Dw'yn hoffi...' which is great if you want to be really positive about everything but not so much for actually doing anything useful. Luckily, the work we get at work that's in Welsh comes with a translation.
posted by mippy at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2010

So I haven't thought about this for years, but back in junior/senior year of high school, I had this friend named Erin. Erin was involved in some local small-time modeling and acting stuff (church/community theater level, not professional), and she was pretty nice, and had always seemed really normal and down-to-earth. So when she came to school on the Monday after spring break and slipped me a note during French class that said she had big news to share, I of course took the bait.

At lunch that day, Erin told me that she'd spent the week of spring break down in Florida with her family, visiting some distant relatives. And one of these distant relatives just happened to be the former college roommate of the casting director for Speed 2. (At the time, Speed had just recently been released on home video and the sequel hadn't been announced yet.) Erin spun me this story about how her relative, through the old college roommate contacts, managed to get her an audition. Over lunch she told me all about how she got to meet Keanu Reeves and how the part she auditioned for was the role of the governor's daughter, and how she had to do a scene with Keanu where they're at a ball at the governor's mansion and he's there to find a bomb but he has to be undercover so he's dancing with her, tra la la whatevs.

Because I'm the kind of person who will go, "Really?!" and look out the window if you tell me it's snowing in July, I totally bought it. Over the next few months she spun this elaborate tale -- really, the amount of effort she put into it was shocking and almost impressive if it weren't so damn sad. She'd take a day off school here and there and tell me she'd been at more auditions, and then as news reports about the actual plans for Speed 2 began to hit magazines and entertainment news outlets, she claimed that they'd "decided to go a different direction" and her role was of course scrapped. But that didn't mean her career in Hollywood was over, nor her budding friendship with Keanu Reeves!!

Over Memorial Day weekend I was supposed to go to her house to hang out, but when I called on the appointed day her mom said she was sick and couldn't come to the phone. Tuesday, back at school, Erin said she was sooooo sorry she'd missed my call, but Keanu had shown up at her house out of the blue and wanted to have her take him sightseeing. "I tried to call you so you could come with us, but you weren't home," she told me.

That's when I finally started to cotton on to the epic snowjob she'd been pulling. (I mean, sure, in the back of my mind and down deep in my guts, I'd always known she was lying. But I really wanted it all to be true, not only because it was cool and exciting but also because I didn't want to think my friend was a liar.)

Over summer I didn't see much of her, but when we got back to school she had a pretty great "how I spent my summer" story concocted. She claimed she'd been "on tour" with Keanu and his goofy band Dogstar on the handful of dates that summer, but that because she wasn't quite 18 yet she'd been told by the band's manager that she shouldn't take pics or "publicize" that she'd been on the road with them, for propriety's sake. Oh, and she had a new potential film role lined up, as the young daughter damaged by a horse in The Horse Whisperer. This time, she said, the role was basically in her pocket, as she'd also spent time over the summer chumming it up with Robert Redford. And this time, she said, there might be a part for me!

The rest of the school year pretty much went like the end of the previous year: Erin would disappear for a couple of days every month or so, then return to school claiming she'd been in L.A. for more auditions, or she'd just been visiting Keanu as their friendship had "blossomed" into something more serious, or he'd been in town to see her and he'd wanted to come by and meet me, her dear friend, but there just wasn't time. Since I'd stopped believing her months prior, it was just kind of fun for me to sit back and watch her craft these weird little tales. I felt sorry for her, because it was plain that she was making all of it up, but I couldn't figure out why she was doing it.

Eventually she just sort of... stopped. No real explanation, no jarring denouement. It just stopped. It was like none of it ever happened, and I was so weirded out by her behavior that I just let it go, and once we graduated I never saw or heard from her again.

I heard through the grapevine maybe a year or two later that she'd actually been pregnant throughout our entire senior year of high school and that she gave birth not long after graduation. But I never found out if that was true, either, and a quick flip through Facebook just now did not unearth her. So who knows, honestly.
posted by palomar at 1:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe Keanu was the father!!
posted by rifflesby at 1:50 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

god, one can only hope.
posted by palomar at 1:52 PM on December 7, 2010

Quite a funny story, but he lifted it from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


Props to Adams and Smith, but these are both urban legends that circulated years before they were appropriated (I understand Adams had come to believe it had happened to him, or swore thus).
posted by dhartung at 8:58 PM on December 7, 2010

« Older Y'know, your normal everyday celebrities and...   |   Corpses on Everest Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments