As I child I was bored, persuasive, and suggestible. The facts of my personhood were uninspiring so I was prone to self-invention, with little regard for plausibility or consistent back story.
I once told my friend Dan that I knew how to teleport. When he demanded proof, I asked him to leave the room, crawled under my bed, wedged myself into the box spring, and held myself there for a couple of minutes. If my arms and legs had been stronger I might have spawned a lasting urban myth, but gravity eventually won out and I was revealed as a liar. The bizarre part was that in the small window of time between Dan leaving and returning, I thought I might actually crack teleportation. I knew the initial claim was groundless, but I figured the pressure of the moment might spur some profound leap in human potential.
Worse still was the summer I spent at Ninja school. It started simply: I told my best friend John that I had encountered a man who had accidentally locked his keys in his car. Being a Good Samaritan, I’d used my lock picking skills to pop the lock and return his keys to him. Now, obviously, I did not have lock picking skills and there was no man… but by my standards it was basically true. The trouble came when John believed me, and was impressed. Feeling the rush, I casually mentioned that while jimmying the man’s lock, I had noticed a masterwork Katana in the back seat and had been sworn to absolute secrecy…but I told John, because he could be trusted. Always make them a confederate.
Over the next few weeks I let slip various details about my growing friendship with Jacob, the Katana wielding mercenary, who traveled the world solving crimes and assassinating people. I initially went with just assassination, but when weeks passed and no one had died in Brockville I had to invent an additional sideline. My lock-picking skills and steady demeanour had so impressed Jacob that he decided to train me in various martial arts, stealth, and the manufacture of poison. Adult John would have likely assumed that I was being groomed by a pedophile, but eight year old John asked the question that I hoped he would: “Are you becoming A ninja?”. I was, John, I absolutely was.
To sell the lie I told him I had to go to a Ninja training academy in the mountains and wouldn’t be able to see him for a while. I spent the next two weeks of that summer hiding in my house, so John, who lived across the street, would assume I was in the mountains. So it felt less of a lie, I did the best I could to train martial arts and stealth maneuvers in my basement. My poison skills were left untrained. When I saw John two weeks later he’d forgotten that I’d told him I was going to Ninja school, and confessed that he’d only gone along with it because he was also bored. No lesson was learned.