“I’ll check that out!”

I’m not going to check that out. Yes, I’m sure you like it, and I’m sure you recommended it to me in good faith. To you, the 80 uninterrupted seconds you spent gushing over its merits was time well spent. You believed that the dozens of billboards and online advertisements I’ve seen promoting it were somehow not enough. You thought that what I needed was a personalized recommendation from a casual workplace acquaintance. Ultimately, you hoped a thing that moves you — that ignites your soul and kindles your sense of wonder — would do the same for me. And perhaps it would. But I cannot bring myself to find out. Maybe I fear the unknown. One thing is certain, though: I will not check that out.

“No worries.”

I am paralyzed with worry.

“I’m good either way.”

This is not true. I actually have very deep preferences about the course of action our group chooses to take this evening, but I’m keeping those preferences private because I fear conflict more than I desire happiness.

“Great! How was yours?”

There are two lies here. First, my weekend was not great. While I enjoyed sleeping in and not being at work, “great” is a ludicrous stretch. I did watch The Thing and get drunk by myself Saturday night, which was excellent, but Sunday was mostly spent doing laundry and thinking about my friends who are younger and more successful than me. The second lie is that I care how your weekend was.


I didn’t do anything wrong here, OK? After you entered the break room, it was you who picked up my notebook, mistaking it for your own, and so the fault rests entirely with you. I’m not sorry. In fact, I only said “sorry” before informing you of your error because I know virtually no other way to begin a potentially awkward exchange. Fuck you.

“7:30 works!”

It would be much less stressful for me if we did 8:00.


The fact that you and your spouse are having a baby fills me with unease. In just a few years, I will be your age. How can you possibly afford a child? Either you’ve built a solid financial foundation on which you can raise a family (something I seem unable to do), or you’ve cultivated a happy, carefree attitude that permits you to take risks (something I also cannot do). Teach me. Please.

“Let me know if there’s
anything I can do.”



OK, so there’s no real, affirmative proposition being put forth here, so it’s hard to see how this can qualify as a lie. But the fact is I didn’t want to say it.

“I’m flexible.”

I am a coward.

“Not bad.”

This kind of depends on how you define “bad.” Nothing is physically wrong with me, and I make enough money to be comfortable. I haven’t had any big falling-out with my family or anything. I have friends. But it’s been a long time since I’ve felt happy, if that makes sense. It probably doesn’t make sense. I’m so stupid. I see a therapist. It’s not that I never feel good, is the thing — it’s more that I should feel better. Yeah. There’s no reason for me to be feeling this way, and that makes me feel guilty, which makes everything worse. I’m afraid of taking medication. That thing about there being nothing physically wrong with me isn’t quite true. My arm has started hurting because of how I sit at my desk at work. Remedying this feels utterly beyond my power. I also don’t get enough sleep, which can make me irritable and sad. So, yeah, not bad, I guess. I don’t know.

“Sounds good!”

This one’s true. Tacos sound great tonight.