When the VCR catches you lying

“Always tell the truth.  That way, you don’t have to remember what you said.” —Mark Twain

Photo by Flickr user mercenario, click through for moreWithin a 24 hour period the other day, I received over 100 emails and attended 5 hours of meetings.  During that time, I got asked a lot of questions that required answering and I had more than one opportunity to stretch the truth or flat out lie about something to make myself look better.  This would have been a really bad idea because people remember when you don’t tell the truth.

For example, I never ask my Dad what time it is for this very reason.

You might remember my Dad from the Golden Trashcan story. Growing up, there was a basic conflict in our house where I was an only child: Mom and I aren’t “morning people”.  Dad, irritatingly, is.

So once, when I was a teenager, the three of us were getting ready to take our annual family vacation.  The night before, we all agreed that we’d sleep until we woke up naturally, load the car, and make the 2 hour drive to the beaches of San Diego.  Pretty simple.

The next morning, my Dad opens my bedroom door and tells me it’s almost 10 so we’d better get going or else we wouldn’t have time to make the drive, check into the hotel, and get a decent beach day in.  Groggy, I peered over at my clock and it said 9:50 am.  Despite feeling like I needed some more sleep, I had to agree with him so I rolled out of bed and started putting on my clothes.

The oven and microwave digital clocks both said 10:05 am by the time I got downstairs, as did the analog clock above our entertainment unit in the family room.  I sat down on the couch in front of the TV and started to put on my shoes, when I glanced up at the VCR and saw it:

6:35 am

“DAAAAAAAD!,” I screamed at the top of my lungs.

Seeing as it was 1987, only the teenage boy in the house (me) knew how to reset the clock on the VCR.  If it were up to Dad, it would flash “12:00” all day, every day.  All the other clocks he knew how to change, although upon interrogation he later admitted the toughest one was when he snuck into my room and altered my alarm clock without waking me.

The thing is, he got what he wanted.  By the time we confronted him, both Mom and I were wide awake, and we left the house before 7:00 and were on the beach by 11:00.

But never since have I trusted my father, one of my biggest heroes in life, with telling me the correct time because I’ll never forget when he betrayed me on it.  And that’s why when someone asks you a question at work, you should tell them the truth.  Utlimately, you are building long term relationships with people and they have long memories.  Something that reflects badly on you today will be remembered tomorrow.


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2 Responses to “When the VCR catches you lying”

  1. Tac Anderson Says:

    Or, just know how to change the time on the VCR 🙂

  2. lucidTipster Says:

    Aha … now I know why all the clocks in our house were analog 🙂

    Good story … I have personally experienced this on my project where one particular individual always said the task was difficult and would required blah blah blah and the estimates were always very inflated. This happened for every task … small or big. We eventually lost trust in the individual and realized that the estimates provided by him did not hold any value. We started giving him deadlines to complete the tasks instead of asking for estimates.


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