Million little lies no big surprise

The other day I was making a list of things to accomplish before I die (or graduate from college, whichever comes first), and just as I was wondering if I’d ever learn to breakdance, I came to the one realization that every man must face sooner or later: I’ve never watched Oprah.

It’s sad but true: according to a recent survey of my roommates, 97.3% of all men have never seen Oprah – and the other 2.7% don’t count because they were actually my pet fish.

But secretly, all of us men wish we could experience just one Oprah episode in our lifetime.

Imagine if it was socially acceptable for a guy to even know what time the show airs every day (4 p.m.). A conversation like the following might take place someday:

GIRL 1: Like, ohmygod, did you see the latest Oprah?

GIRL 2: Like, totally.

GUY: Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice that you were talking about the woman known as Oprah. I, too, am a fan of her television show, and I must agree with you that her latest episode was indeed most excellent. Perhaps we could talk about this over dinner.

GIRL 1: Like, totally.

So you see, my interest in Oprah was not entirely unwarranted, and neither is my fascination with the recent controversy surrounding one of her latest Book Club picks, James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces.”

Apparently someone found out Frey had “made up” some “facts” about his drug-induced “adventures,” and now people are furious.

And this is understandable because, as we all know, no one in the history of the world has ever exaggerated even a tiny bit just to make their story better (especially not when writing their memoirs).

Maybe I’m just sympathetic to Frey because I get paid to make things up, but let’s be honest: a big reason behind the book’s success is the excruciatingly graphic detail Frey goes into while describing the uplifting events of his life (for example, waking up on an airplane with half his mouth shot off and not remembering how he got there).

We all know the book wouldn’t have sold half as well if, instead of writing a harrowing account of his spiral into despair and destruction, Frey had talked about the time he won a chess tournament in sixth grade.

I can’t be the only person who looked at Frey’s book and said, “That could be me someday; good thing I now know what to do if I ever need to have my teeth pulled by an unlicensed dentist while hanging off the edge of the Grand Canyon with a crocodile biting off my legs.”

But we believe Frey because we want to believe him, and despite our public outcries of indignation (because what other kind of public outcries are there?), we don’t really mind his exaggerations for one reason and one reason only: we’re liars too.

The difference, of course, is that instead of lying about shooting up pure heroin and beating the crap out of someone, we lie about kindler, gentler things, like stealing bananas and borrowing t-shirts and “forgetting” to give them back for six months.

It is not uncommon for me to say something like, “Yeah, sis, sorry about forgetting your birthday for the third year in a row. My goldfish knocked over his bowl and it totally soaked my calendar, and then I ran out of paper towels because I lent them to my neighbor because HER goldfish is rambunctious as well.”

Don’t believe me? Buy my book.

Jim is busy writing his own memoirs, soon to be published under the title “Awesome Man.” E-mail him comments at [email protected]