Below are three stories about my life. One of them is true, but two of them are total fabrications. Can you guess which one is true? Can you answer the question…
Am I Lying?
I spent the summer of 1998 in Zagreb, Croatia, working for the United Nations. I was a UN Peacekeeper, and at the age of 22, I was the youngest peace keeper there. We lived in a small barracks on the edge of the city of Zagreb, which had been badly damaged in the violence and wars that had taken place in Croatia in 1991-1992. It was our job to oversee the building of schools, repairs of bridges and streets, and to supervise the police. There were certain roads we were not allowed to cross because of the fear of landmines that were still buried in the ground. I spent that summer afraid that any moment I would step in the wrong place and be killed.
I met a seven-year-old girl named Marija while I was there. Two of her siblings had been killed in the fighting, and she spent most of her time collecting bottles and cans that she could sell at a recycling facility. On my last day there, I went looking for her to tell her I was leaving, but I could not find her. I never got to say good-bye.
I got in serious trouble during my last days in high school. We had finished our exams and had only a few days to go before graduation. I was up at the school just to finish up a few loose ends—cleaning out my locker, paying my last tuition check, that sort of thing. One of my buddies, Joel, a little pencil-necked kid who always was starting trouble, dared me to climb the belltower. He said that the principal and dean were both gone for the day, and that we could make it all the way to the top without getting caught.
Well, I went first, naturally. I climbed up the steel brackets on the inside of the bell-tower and quickly reached the top. I couldn’t believe how high I was in just a few minutes. And when I looked down, hoping to see Joel applauding my heroic deed, but instead saw our principal, Brother Chris, staring at me with his mouth open.
As punishment, they made me mow all of the grass on the campus before I was allowed to get my diploma. The worst part was that the entire time I was mowing, a week after everyone else had graduated, my friends were driving up and down Walnut Grove, honking and laughing at me.
My band was playing a show in Chicago. We thought we were going to be playing in a real nightclub, but when we showed up we found that we were supposed to play in the dingy basement of some punk club downtown. I set up my equipment—a big, heavy Hammond organ and a Wurlitzer electric piano on top of that—at the edge of the “stage.” It wasn’t a stage, really, just a pallet covered with a fake carpet.
A few songs into our set, I noticed that my feet were wet. Somebody had spilled something on me, I thought. There were a lot of people crammed in that little room, and it smelled bad. But they were into the music, so I forgot about everything and just kept playing the piano.
A few songs later, I knew something was really unusual. I was standing in a puddle of something, and was afraid that my power cords were going to short out. But I kept playing, hoping I wouldn’t be electrocuted.
By the time we were done with our set, I looked down to see what I was standing in. It was sewage. The bathrooms upstairs had backed up and it was puddling up from the drain in the basement. It was all over my pants, shoes, everything. I was covered in it!
I took off my pants, shoes, and socks and threw them away. While the rest of the band went out to eat, I sat in the tour van in my underwear. It was the worst show ever.