I teach a character education class at my son's school. And this month, the character trait is honesty.
So I'm explaining, "you always have to tell the truth, never tell a lie and certainly never cover someone else's lie."
Unless you're involved in a surprise party. And then get ready to lie, deny, cavort, cahoot, conspire and spin your way into an unbelievable web of lies worthy of a black widow spider.
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See, my girlfriend's husband plans this surprise 40th birthday party for her - huge party in their backyard, with dinner, bonfires, a band and 150 of her closest friends.
Great. Just give me a time, and I'm there, right?
You'd think. But this is one of those convoluted surprises with many working pieces.
Starting with, her birthday is in December, the surprise party is in November but he tells her he's taking her on a surprise trip in January.
Sit with that one for a minute.
The day of the party, her sister comes to town for a morning of antiquing and then a day at the spa, to be followed by dinner with the whole family.
But the dinner is really a ploy to throw her off from her decoy surprise party... a Birthday Girls Night Out. You still with me?
So now there are seven of us girls planning a fake night out on the town, Googling nightclubs, because all of us have kids and don't have a clue where to tell her we're going.
It gets better.
We're to pull up to the spa in a limo, have the driver walk up to her and say, "Lordy, Lordy, you don't look 40" (I didn't write that) - and then we all yell "Surprise! Girls' Night Out!!"
Then we drive her all over town on a scavenger hunt - blindfolding her and reading clues about where we're going, spewing ridiculous notions about how we're going to be dancing on tables, while really making our way to her house for the real surprise.
At which point we lead her blindfolded down the driveway while a song fades up over a loud speaker.
And when it gets to the chorus we rip off the blindfold just as 150 people sing "Sweet Caroline" in unison.
Suffice it to say, I have lied, white-lied and told every kind of half-truth to keep this from a girl I speak to every week.
And so have more than 100 other people, including her sister, parents and her unbelievably sweet husband.
While it was a huge success, I think I speak for all of us when I say, we feel a little dirty.
The little girl in front of me is wrapping up George Washington's ordeal with his cherry tree.
"And just like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie."
Yeah, well, we'll see. Just be glad all your birthday parties are at Chuck E. Cheese's.