a story about trying to
differ between what is real and what is not
this year, a man whom I´d never met before, approached
me in a pub in Hampstead. he wanted to talk and I let him talk.
he told me he was the result of a one night stand between
two people in the back of a car. he told how he, as an unwanted
child, never had had the possibilitiy to meet his own father
and that he only had met his mother once in New York. he had
actually tried to move to NY once for the sake of his mother.
he even got a job in an office close to the Twin Towers. unfortunately,
he lost his job after six weeks for sleeping at work
and here he was, 46 years old, stuck in a rented flat in
Primrose Hill, with six cats, whereas one was as he told,
"genetical" mutated. now, he was even on the brink
of loosing his flat. long story, he said.
he told me he worked in a band and that he had started to
play el-guitar a couple of years ago. he had made a couple
of demos but had never succeeded to gain any contract with
a record company.
he asked me if I was living in London as well. I told him
that I lived in a quiet, residential area of London, close
to Brixton. oh yeah, Brixton he repeated. he remembered how
he, while working as a light designer, once had had the responsibility
to design the lights for Brixton Academy.
he wanted to tell me about his upbringing but was afraid
I would start to laugh. I said no, I am not going to laugh,
I promise. why should I laugh anyway.
-because everyone laughed when he told them about it.
he wanted to check my reaction anyway and said-: "my
father forced me to attend a rabbi school in Jerusalem from
the age of twelve to eighteen. luckily, he continued, I was
able to escape to England were I settled down".
-my life is a wreck , he then said.
through all these stories, I never suspected him of lying,
or more truly; I didn´t even care about whether it was
true or not. I just liked listening to his stories. it wasn´t
before he told me about his degree in physcis and medicin
that I started to react, especially when he asked me to guess
what kind of researches he had done as a medical scientist.
-no, I said, I don´t know, pretty bored by the whole
then he squezzed his eyes and said: -the HIV-virus.
I overdosed. he started to get drunk and his narrations
started to fade.
when going home the same night, I felt puzzled. I don´t
know why, but I felt a strong urge to find out about his stories.
I knew he had lied to me. but how could I know how to separate
truth from lies when I had no access to personal details about
is it for instance true that he was an unwanted child, does
he really work as a musician, does he live in wealthy Primrose
Hill and is it true that he was forced by his own father to
attend a rabbi school in Jerusalem?
I started to do some research the next day on the internet
and began on the word "rabbi school" . I looked
up several pages and found out that if you want to become
a rabbi, you have to feel a strong personal and religious
urge as well as having a broad and deep understanding of Judaism.
as such, you attend the school by your own free will and not
at least your own skills. and further on, most people attending
has already started or even completed their university degree.
there was another flaw in his story here. he told me that
it was his father who had forced him to attend the school.
but earlier on, he told me that he was unwanted and that he
had never seen his father. this story was clearly falsified.
then I made a search on Brixton Academy. I tried to find
his name among the light designers who had been appointed
by this music venue. I couldn´t find it.
I searched his name, but couldn´t find anything.
then I started to search on lying. I didn´t find much
of interest. I searched on ´notorious liers´. I
found less. I started to search on a more psychological basis.
I found a concept that I didn´t particularly like; pathological
liar. I read that a typical feature of a pathological liar
was that they lied for the sake of lying, not because they
wanted to achieve something. one article mentioned a particularly
extreme example from Russia who even lied about where he´d
placed a box of Kleenex.
on a normal basis, people lie either because they want to
hide something or because they want to achieve something.
one can also lie because one wants to get away with something,
not wanting to be confronted with ones own action etc.
what did he want to achieve by telling me all these stories?
was it only for the sake of lying? I don´t know, the
only thing I know is that he was a very good storyteller.
school | ~ | Brixton
Academy | ~ | Henry
James James | ~ | lying
| ~ | notorious
liers | ~ | pathological
liers | ~ | truth | ~ | fact | ~ | reality | ~ | story | ~ | I |