Little kids have no idea what’s going on. You can make them do pretty much anything by telling them they’re being timed, and at least half of them harbor a fear of being sucked down the bathtub drain. This makes it ALL TOO EASY for parents to take advantage of their offspring’s hilarious naivete. We haven't slept in a race car bed for years, and we’re STILL trying to tell fact from fiction when it comes to the crazy stuff our folks tricked us into believing. Here are a few of the craziest lies our parents told us:
Rebecca Jane Stokes: My father was—and continues to be—a devious, devious fellow. There was a local mechanic's shop in my hood growing up called the Grease Monkey. My dad had me convinced that the aforementioned shop was in fact a theme restaurant where monkeys in mechanic outfits served you food. We, of course, could never go because it was very, very expensive. I am ashamed to say that I only realized it was a lie when, while in HIGH SCHOOL, I suggested the Grease Monkey as a potential location for a friend's 18th birthday party. Yeah. That happened. I am still secretly sad to know that a restaurant staffed by monkeys in costume is not a reality.
Josh Sorokach: When I was younger I was afraid of two things: vampires and Elvis Presley. A fear of vampires makes sense. They hang out with bats and bite people; it's borderline reckless NOT to be petrified of them. An Elvis phobia is admittedly kind of peculiar. I had watched a TV special that posited that Elvis Presley had faked his own death. So, naturally, I convinced myself that he was not only alive and well, but he clandestinely observed me watching this series. In my mind, Elvis knew I was the only one possessing the mental acumen to decode his most cherished secret: not being dead. Without exchanging so much as a word, Elvis and I both knew there was only one way to keep me quiet: murdering me. My mom calmly listened to my concerns and then rationally informed me that leaving my bedroom closet light on at night would prevent both vampires AND Elvis Presley from killing me in my sleep. Now that I'm older and wiser, I realize that my mom lied to me. Sure, my closet light would certainly prevent vampires from entering my bedroom, but Elvis Presley? If I know Elvis, a little light would never stop him from protecting his secret.
Brandon Specktor: Hanging out with 4-year-old me must've been like hanging out with 14-year-old Draco Malfoy, as my parents assured me early on that I was, objectively, the "best kid in the world." Who was I to deny it? Seemed right to me! So I'd share this knowledge with the lesser children on the playground at my Jewish preschool, mounting the jungle gym like a boogery Moses and adorably turning up my best-nose-in-the-world every time someone got on some Torah study "there is no best kid; we're all the best kid" balderdash. Psh! Savages. Needless to say, it was a crushing blow when I eventually learned that my parents had lied to me, that I wasn't the best kid in the world, about a week ago when I Googled my own name.
Melissa Albert: Like all red-blooded children, I hated peas. They’re green, they’re squishy, they smell vaguely like, well, pee…you don’t need me to tell you that peas are gross! My dad’s method of getting me to eat them was equal parts ridiculous and effective: he would take a big bite and say, “Yum, these taste like Easter eggs!” When that didn’t work, he’d tell me his big lie: that if I ate the peas, I would get so big and strong, I’d be able to climb the tree in our backyard. “By tomorrow?” I’d ask suspiciously. With LITTLE TO NO HESITATION, he would confirm, probably assuming I would forget by the next day. But I didn't, and would repeatedly try and fail to climb that stupid tall tree. This went on for months! When I confronted my dad with this lie the other day, he was unimpressed: “You can climb trees now, right? It worked!” Thanks, dad.
Bo Larkin: You know that bump at the non-stem end of a banana—its nipple, if you will? My mom convinced me that a Monkey Spider lived inside it, and that eating it could harm my health or worse. Why she would believe such a thing is still a mystery, but to this day I discard this potentially venomous piece of potassium for fear of death by Monkey Spider.
Bailey Swilley: When I was 12, my family traveled to Chicago. My dad gave my brother and me the tour of the city—we walked around, looked at buildings, ate good food, and went to DisneyQuest. Then, we finally got around to what I wanted to see the most: the SEARS TOWER (now the Willis Tower), which, up until this year, was the tallest building in America. As we walked by, my dad noted that there was a loooong line to get in, and quietly directed us toward the John Hancock Center instead. Once at the top, I noticed that I could still see another building that was taller, but my dad said, "Nope, not possible. We're in the Sears Tower, the tallest building in America!" It wasn't until years later that I found out the truth. Burn.
Anthony DeVito: When I was young my mom told me mobsters sent Bruce Lee to an island and injected something into his brain. And that’s how he died. I’m not one hundred percent sure this isn’t true, but it seems weird. I think she told me the lie because she panicked and couldn’t answer the question of how Bruce Lee died. This was before Wikipedia.
Alicia Thomas: When I was younger, I was a ham. I wanted everybody's attention, and I was willing to look like a total goober to get it. I would dance and sing and—the source of my parents' big lie—I would make funny faces. Then came the fateful day when my parents told me that if I made funny faces, my face would get stuck that way. THE HORROR! I imagined sitting in church with my eyes crossed and my tongue sticking out and promptly stopped my attention-seeking face twisting. Little did I know they were big fat liars, or my fan club would probably be a whole lot bigger by now. Sigh.
Jason Saenz: When I was a kid and didn't want to take a shower, my parents would tell me to take a "rinse off" instead, which was a shower without washing your hair. But as soon as I got in there, I'd just wash my hair anyway. They got me every time! I was a dumb kid.
What's the biggest parental lie you ever believed?