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  #1  
Old 10-24-2011, 12:59 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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Why are people such lying liars?

Reading the "Worst lies" thread has me boggling (though on somber reflection, I can't say I'm truly surprised) with some of the fantastic yarns people will try to pass off as honest-to-God truth. A couple common themes that I see (in that thread as well as elsewhere):

- Military lies. People claiming all sorts of wild careers as "snipers" or "assassins" in the military who never did any such thing, and may not have even been in the military at all.

- Celebrity encounters. Tales of personal relationships with celebrities that never existed, having things owned by celebrities, etc.

- Not so much in that thread, but from personal experience people like to make up all kinds of ridiculous shit about "supernatural/paranormal" experiences they've had and pretend it's stone cold truth.

And there's a lot of other stuff in there that just makes me wonder how stupid people think their audience is when they try to pass this kind of shit off. I get that people are always trying to impress others and raise their social status, but it's hard for me to get over how outrageously bogus they are willing to go in doing so. I mean, what the fuck? If I ever meet someone who tells a crazy lie like that, I can never again trust or believe anything they say. Don't they realize how they're destroying their own credibility? Do they really think people buy their B.S.?
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2011, 01:09 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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I've wondered the same thing about people who tell the obvious outrageous lies. I wonder if they think everybody is lying all the time. They may be mistaken about the concept of 'bullshitting' where people hang around the bar and tell exagerrated stories not meant to be taken all that seriously. I always find the dividing line where people insist they are telling the truth even if their clear contradiction with established facts is pointed out.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2011, 01:21 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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It is the need to feel powerful and important in a world where they don't have any.

HEY LOOK AT ME!!!
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2011, 01:25 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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I guess I'm lucky, because just don't know anyone like this. I used to work with a guy that told some tall tales, but he was very consistent with them.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2011, 02:01 PM
Prelude to Fascination Prelude to Fascination is offline
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When I called out my friend on some of his lies, he shot back with, "Well, 90% of it's true!" In his case, he was pretty insecure about his background (he's very intelligent, as are his parents, but they're farmers, and he felt, I don't know if ashamed is the right word, but that or near that, at least in my opinion).

I've known other people who tell more mundane lies, but I knew the people well enough to know they weren't deliberately lying--they honestly believed what they were saying, so they were closer to being self-deluded than actually lying.

Other people I've known were in the realm of bullshitters, closer to conmen than friends who lied.
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:45 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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It's not the outrageous lies that get to me. I see quite readily that they're outrageous, and I either go with it or roll my eyes and move the conversation on. The wool has not been pulled over my eyes, and so no harm no foul is my general reaction.

What gets me are idiotic lies, like the one that started the "Worst lies" thread. Claiming to forget someone's name when trying to get some mail (presumably addressed to said someone) forwarded is just idiotic, and it makes want to both laugh and cry.
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:58 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
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It's not really their fault. It's like I was saying to Barack and Michelle the other day, the people who tell these ridiculous lies simply lack the inner reserves of mental strength and discipline available to those of us who served three tours with the U.S. Navy SEALS before spending five years in Tibet studying with the Dalai Lama himself and then going on to start our own multi-million-dollar international consulting firms.
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  #8  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:01 PM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
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I do think that most of them do it to try to make themselves feel special.
I haven't knowingly met one of those guys who pretend to be veterans, but I have encountered women who claim to have "psychic powers".
A part of me wants to ridicule them for being stupid enough to think that such a thing could ever be true and/or deceiving the gullible who actually believe them, but another part of me does feel kind of sorry for them. It must be a sad life, if you have nothing real to be proud of and have to make up ridiculous lies to impress people.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:06 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
It's not really their fault. It's like I was saying to Barack and Michelle the other day, the people who tell these ridiculous lies simply lack the inner reserves of mental strength and discipline available to those of us who served three tours with the U.S. Navy SEALS before spending five years in Tibet studying with the Dalai Lama himself and then going on to start our own multi-million-dollar international consulting firms.
Yeah, that's the ticket!
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  #10  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:30 PM
surrounded by literalists surrounded by literalists is offline
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I will admit to having stretched the truth on more than one occasion (or two, or three, whatever). I think I did it because I like to entertain, to have the attention that telling a good story gets me. However, I do not think of myself as a 'liar' since I do not try to hurt, deceive, or subtract from anybody elses truth. I understand this could be a flaw in my personal moral code.

I would never lie in an answer to a direct question. I would not lie to save my ass but I might lie (and have) to save somebody elses ass (as in taking the blame when unjustly accused). For the most part, I am not smart enough to keep up with lies I have told and found truth to be simpler.

As for others, I value those who will be brutally truthful with me. I have a friend who, because of some brain damage suffered as a child is almost incapable of telling a lie. Many times what he says is painful for me to hear, but I find I am so much more able cope with his brutal truth than others kindhearted lies.
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  #11  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:31 PM
Bam Boo Gut Bam Boo Gut is offline
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It's a good question. When I was a hotel rep I got to reception one day, all the staff were giggling. One of my guests had confided in most of the staff, one by one, that he was an undercover SAS or whatever and expecting a VERY important phone call, but was unable to talk about his work. Pompous git, everyone went between laughing at him and feeling sorry for him since he was actually quite a nice guy.
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  #12  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:50 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Well, on the other side of the coin...

Watching one of those "stupidest criminal" shows today.

Two cops trying to question this woman. Missed what happened, but she tries to tell them that she's an undercover narcotics officer. They end up taking her down hard, complete with the whole "beat her while screaming at her to stop resisting" thing.

Turned out that she WAS an undercover narcotics officer.

Then they mentioned that she turned in her badge over the incident.
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  #13  
Old 10-24-2011, 11:32 PM
ShelliBean ShelliBean is offline
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I posted in that thread about my ex-husband. Since I have a relationship with his brother independent of him, I had some insight into what was real and what was not (later on, when I started asking questions - it's a big ball of intertangled friends so it's not like I had the brother there to verify a lot of the things I believed all the time).

Part of having that independent relationship means I had some verification about things that happened to him growing up and more back story than a lot of people get when they are involved with a liar.

My ex was shuffled around quite a bit, I believe he was abused due to more than one of his mother's relationships, and his father died when he was 14. He had a "hard coming up" as they say. He became someone that lied to make himself whatever he needed to be in the moment. When I got involved with him he was a very metro computer and graphics guy that spent his time going to pride parades and downplaying his military career. Within the relationship he began to become more of a "traditional southern boy" that grilled on weekends, had boots, rode horses and four wheelers. His military stories grew as he let me in on "the real story".

When I got pregnant he was the most wonderful person in the world who managed to lie enough on his resume to get a job as whatever the hell he was working in an American Family Care. He told them he was in nursing school. He gave shots. Yeah, it's their fault for not checking but damn, how scary is that? He also managed to work in a Lab that services all the major hospitals and doctor's offices around here. He never stayed at one place terribly long. When my son was born he decided he "always wanted to be" (a recurring phrase) a truck driver. He got a CDL and hit the road. We were divorced not long after that. He had a pregnant girlfriend up north and spun a tale of woe the likes of which you've never heard.

I've seen him be a metrosexual guy, a hippie, a biker, a truck driver, a nurse, a cowboy, a computer nerd, a troubled vet. It's just weird to me now.

He just always was what he needed to be at the time. I think he learned it growing up. His mother is a notorious liar and I guess that's how he learned it.

It's sad. I don't know if anyone knows the real him. I thought I saw flashes of it sometimes, and it was a very scared little boy (most notably when his brother had an accident and was at death's door in ICU - he clings to his brother like a lifeline). I know so many of his secrets and he has no idea (confrontation with proof of lies is like handing him a loaded gun and asking him to shoot you, which he has threatened before when I called him on a military lie). He just... grew up wrong, I guess.

I believe he is seriously mentally ill, and he scares me. But if he showed up on my doorstep tonight, I can almost guarantee he'd figure out how to charm me into something (not bed, I'm in a monogamous relationship), but at least a kind word. He's good at that. Very, very good.

Last edited by ShelliBean; 10-24-2011 at 11:36 PM..
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  #14  
Old 10-24-2011, 11:58 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surrounded by literalists View Post
I will admit to having stretched the truth on more than one occasion (or two, or three, whatever). I think I did it because I like to entertain, to have the attention that telling a good story gets me. However, I do not think of myself as a 'liar' since I do not try to hurt, deceive, or subtract from anybody elses truth. I understand this could be a flaw in my personal moral code.
Lying for entertainment purposes is called fiction. We'd have a dull world without it. I make a lot of outrageous statements meant to be amusing, and should be recognized as such by most reasonably intelligent people, but occasionally some people are clueless and claim that I'm a liar because I couldn't possibly have served in the Civil War. But if no one laughs, I try to indicate in some way that I'm joking. And if any one asks "Is that true?", I'd definitely answer no.

It is a lot easier to be misunderstood online because I'm not fond of emoticons and the 'listeners' can't see my facial expression.

Anyway it's not immoral to lie about anything if the person being lied to does not have a moral basis for expecting to hear the truth, thus lying to the Nazis looking for Jews hiding in the attic is not immoral.
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  #15  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:09 AM
Sam Lowry Sam Lowry is offline
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Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
<snip>And there's a lot of other stuff in there that just makes me wonder how stupid people think their audience is when they try to pass this kind of shit off. I get that people are always trying to impress others and raise their social status, but it's hard for me to get over how outrageously bogus they are willing to go in doing so. I mean, what the fuck? If I ever meet someone who tells a crazy lie like that, I can never again trust or believe anything they say. Don't they realize how they're destroying their own credibility? Do they really think people buy their B.S.?
I think that for some people they feel inferior, and that they need to have amazing stories to impress people. And for some others they already feel superior to everyone, and enjoy looking down on everyone who believes their stories and doesn't know that they're lying.
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  #16  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:25 AM
highrollinwooded highrollinwooded is offline
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My husband bullshits, and catches me up in his shit!! I stand there,correct him,and get the dirty stare!! LOL
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  #17  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:36 AM
MissesA MissesA is offline
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Some people are just compulsive liars. But usually compulsive liars are really good at lying.
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  #18  
Old 10-25-2011, 07:50 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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I used to lie. Now I exaggerate for effect. It's all part of the growth process - when you get to the age where you are seen as a stolid, respectable citizen you can get away with all kinds of shit.
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  #19  
Old 10-25-2011, 07:57 AM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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What I hate is being told a lie I would have to be as dumb as a box of rocks to believe. Not only am I being lied to, but I am having my intelligence insulted. It is really sad the amount of time our society spends verifying every thing because lying is so common. Also, time spent documenting anything you say. I avoid dealing with people I have caught in a lie as much as I can.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:22 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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I have a cousin-in-law who worked at NSA - that was true. He liked to be all mysterious about it, hinting but never saying anything. When I got a job that involved having to deal with NSA, among other 3-letter agencies, I found out cuz was little more than a glorified accountant/bookkeeper. Other than knowing what sorts of things NSA was spending money on, he had no connection to their spook work. So while it wasn't a lie, it was still pretty pathetic, I thought.
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  #21  
Old 10-25-2011, 09:43 AM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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I've never understood the minor lies told for no apparent reason. The ones that don't make you look good. The ones that don't save your ass or give you an excuse for doing or not doing something. Something like "I went small college X" rather than small college Y that you actually went to. And there is no difference in the two!

Now thats a cronic liar when they apparently lie just for the hell of it. Then again, maybe those types actually can't keep track of reality.
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  #22  
Old 10-25-2011, 02:20 PM
ShelliBean ShelliBean is offline
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Well, just got a call that he has prostate cancer. It's amazing how he's alive. He's already had two brain tumors and a heart attack (he's now 31).

I told the friend that called to tell me that I'd believe it when I saw him in a bed in a hospital and had checked to make sure it wasn't one of those old-timey Western towns with store fronts set up against stilts.
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  #23  
Old 10-25-2011, 04:35 PM
Springtime for Spacers Springtime for Spacers is offline
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ShelliBean, I feel very sad for your ex, from what you say his lies are primarily for protection and he doesn't know any other way to be.

When I was quite young I learned a valuable lesson about lying to impress. My mum had suddenly been taken into hospital (with mental problems) and I had a rather unusual and bewildering day. My aunt intercepted me on the way home for lunch to tell me mum was going to be away in hospital for a while and to serve me strange food (not really strange of course, just different). Then in the evening her husband, my Uncle Harry, took me to the park. I realise now that there must have been a family conference going on that they wanted to get me away from.

Now I really liked my Uncle and we had a good evening. We went to the park in his car (probably a nice one but I still don't know shit about cars) and took his dog, a beautiful golden retriever, called Ricky. Just as we were getting out of the car a boy from my class came by called Lance. A boy that I had a bit of a crush on who also happened to be to be one of the coolest kids in school.

Bearing in mind that in 60's Britain both nice cars and pedigree dogs were much rarer commodities than they are now, Lance sounded really impressed next day at school when he asked "Was that your car? Was that your dog? Was that your Dad? There was probably only a short pause but I remember the great temptation to say "Yes" and bask in the reflected glory in lovely Lance's eyes. Two things stopped me: the thought of being scared for years about being caught out and, more significantly, how hurt my Dad would be if he'd found out that I'd denied him. So I just said "Nah, that was my Uncle Harry" (and his car and his dog Ricky). And Lance said "Wow" anyway and I got to bask in the reflected glory etc.

I do like to impress people with good stories but over time I've built on that lesson: it's better to impress with the truth and even to understate things at times -- yeah, I saved a kittie's life, he'd probably have been OK if they'd waited to get him to the vet, and so on. I still exaggerate sometimes but it embarrasses me to overdo it so if I catch myself I fess up immediately. So, anyway, when I hear about people like Shellibean's ex I have that there but for the grace of god feeling.
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  #24  
Old 10-25-2011, 04:46 PM
bump bump is offline
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Bullshitting is one thing; out-and-out lying is another. Both have an element of falsehood, but the real division is the situation and the purpose.

For one thing, bullshitting is correctly done as hyperbolic embellishment of a real story, and done to make a point or for comedic effect. The point is that you generally know when someone's bullshitting you, and it's usually not meant to put anyone down, or seriously mislead anyone.

Making stuff up entirely from whole cloth with the intention of seriously misleading someone is flat out lying.

For example, if you're talking about your high school football days, and the other team's star defensive lineman is now 6'6" and 350 lbs instead of the actual 6'2" and 240, so you can describe just how you got your ass handed to you in a particular game is bullshitting.

Saying that you played football when you didn't at all is lying.
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  #25  
Old 10-25-2011, 04:59 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
I have a cousin-in-law who worked at NSA - that was true. He liked to be all mysterious about it, hinting but never saying anything. When I got a job that involved having to deal with NSA, among other 3-letter agencies, I found out cuz was little more than a glorified accountant/bookkeeper. Other than knowing what sorts of things NSA was spending money on, he had no connection to their spook work. So while it wasn't a lie, it was still pretty pathetic, I thought.
That's not that strange. I have friends who work at NASA and the CIA. One's an engineer (NASA) and the other is an accountant (CIA). Even though neither is anywhere close to "national security" info, they're both forbidden from discussing exactly what it is they do for a living.
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  #26  
Old 10-25-2011, 09:49 PM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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Bullshitting is one thing; out-and-out lying is another. Both have an element of falsehood, but the real division is the situation and the purpose.

For one thing, bullshitting is correctly done as hyperbolic embellishment of a real story, and done to make a point or for comedic effect. The point is that you generally know when someone's bullshitting you, and it's usually not meant to put anyone down, or seriously mislead anyone.

Making stuff up entirely from whole cloth with the intention of seriously misleading someone is flat out lying.

For example, if you're talking about your high school football days, and the other team's star defensive lineman is now 6'6" and 350 lbs instead of the actual 6'2" and 240, so you can describe just how you got your ass handed to you in a particular game is bullshitting.

Saying that you played football when you didn't at all is lying.
Reminds me of a conversation by a couple of my uncles. They were talking about a third brother. The one said ''the trouble with Wayne is that he exaggerates.'' The other said ''No, he just remembers big.''
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  #27  
Old 10-25-2011, 10:17 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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That's not that strange. I have friends who work at NASA and the CIA. One's an engineer (NASA) and the other is an accountant (CIA). Even though neither is anywhere close to "national security" info, they're both forbidden from discussing exactly what it is they do for a living.
I guess I didn't convey exactly what I wanted. I know about jobs where you can't say what you do - I've held few of those over the years. It was more the way my cuz-in-law acted - as if to convey his mysterious super-secret job when, in fact, he wasn't a spy or an agent or an operative or whatever else you want to call it. He was an accountant who dealt with the organization's budget. Not that it was a job to be ashamed of either - but he wanted everyone to think he was a super spook. It's hard to explain how close it was to a lie if you don't know the guy.
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  #28  
Old 10-25-2011, 10:18 PM
voguevixen voguevixen is offline
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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
It's not really their fault. It's like I was saying to Barack and Michelle the other day, the people who tell these ridiculous lies simply lack the inner reserves of mental strength and discipline available to those of us who served three tours with the U.S. Navy SEALS before spending five years in Tibet studying with the Dalai Lama himself and then going on to start our own multi-million-dollar international consulting firms.

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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Yeah, that's the ticket!
I think we should start a thread called "Yeah, that's the ticket!" and try to make up the most outrageous lies possible.
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  #29  
Old 10-26-2011, 03:57 AM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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A combination of boredom, inferiority, narcissism, and a lack of conscience.

I think that narcissistic people tend to assume that others think below their mental "wavelength"--even narcissists with low IQs. So someone who's spinning a military yarn expects their listeners to be credulous, because they're the most important person in the room/company/world: "How could anybody ever doubt my integritah!?" etc

Personally, I feel vastly superior to liars, simply because I don't feel the need to tell massive, impossible, self-aggrandizing lies. I'm not sure why liars don't get the same satisfaction out of refraining from lying as I do. Maybe they're just way more bored than the average person?

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 10-26-2011 at 03:58 AM..
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  #30  
Old 10-26-2011, 04:11 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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I think we should start a thread called "Yeah, that's the ticket!" and try to make up the most outrageous lies possible.
Here you go!

Last edited by Malacandra; 10-26-2011 at 04:12 AM..
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  #31  
Old 10-26-2011, 03:37 PM
ShelliBean ShelliBean is offline
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Originally Posted by Springtime for Spacers View Post
ShelliBean, I feel very sad for your ex, from what you say his lies are primarily for protection and he doesn't know any other way to be.
I think it started as protection, or to "fit in" with his family (whatever it was at the time) or to fit in at school, but now it's just to get what he wants. His lies include: telling me he had a vasectomy (I am now raising the child he abandoned); he has (depending to whom he is speaking) been stationed in Germany, non-specific African area, Iraq or Afghanistan; special forces; meeting with the mayor on a big project for the city; having been the only one available to drive to NYC to identify a body from a wreck that closed down the GWB (while he was, in fact, spending the weekend with the other girl he got pregnant [we were still married at this time] and was basically leading a double life).

There are many, many more. I could start a whole thread about his lies. It's true entertainment at this point.

My point was that all of these lies were to lead to him getting what he wanted at the time, no thought of consequences and not really caring how it affected others (for example, he talked the pregnant Catholic girlfriend into getting an abortion). I agree that he doesn't know any other way to be, but to answer the question about why people are such lying liars - in my case I believe it's because he may truly have no conscience.
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  #32  
Old 10-26-2011, 03:49 PM
Death of Rats Death of Rats is offline
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
I have a cousin-in-law who worked at NSA - that was true. He liked to be all mysterious about it, hinting but never saying anything. When I got a job that involved having to deal with NSA, among other 3-letter agencies, I found out cuz was little more than a glorified accountant/bookkeeper. Other than knowing what sorts of things NSA was spending money on, he had no connection to their spook work. So while it wasn't a lie, it was still pretty pathetic, I thought.
Well, sure that was his cover. They couldn't talk about all the amazing James Bond stuff he did.

I knew a guy in college who tried desperately to spin these amazing tales of the wild life he had left behind. None of it was remotly believeable and could not have possibly fit into any timeline that does not involve time travel or warping the laws of space/time. The sad thing is that when he wasn't trying to be his alter ego he was actually a pretty decent guy, but most people never got a chance to see that.
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  #33  
Old 10-26-2011, 03:56 PM
Moonlitherial Moonlitherial is offline
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Originally Posted by Malacandra View Post
Here you go!
SPOILER:
Curse you! I clicked on the recursive link 3 times before I figured it out!

Last edited by Moonlitherial; 10-26-2011 at 03:56 PM..
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  #34  
Old 10-26-2011, 04:34 PM
Hyperelastic Hyperelastic is offline
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The fact that most people spend hours each day watching TV shows and commercials can't help.
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  #35  
Old 10-26-2011, 07:27 PM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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DOG FOR SALE :

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in
front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale.' He
rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the
backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador
retriever sitting there.






'You talk?' he asks.

'Yep,' the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says
'So, what's your story?'





The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I
was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA.

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting
in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would
be eavesdropping.' 'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight
years running.





But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting
any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the
airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and
listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a
batch of medals.' 'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just
retired.'

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for
the dog.

'Ten dollars,' the guy says.

'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so
cheap?'

'Because he's a liar. He's never been out of the yard.'
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  #36  
Old 10-26-2011, 08:25 PM
chorpler chorpler is online now
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Well, on the other side of the coin...

Watching one of those "stupidest criminal" shows today.

Two cops trying to question this woman. Missed what happened, but she tries to tell them that she's an undercover narcotics officer. They end up taking her down hard, complete with the whole "beat her while screaming at her to stop resisting" thing.

Turned out that she WAS an undercover narcotics officer.

Then they mentioned that she turned in her badge over the incident.
Wait, I don't get it, why did she turn in her badge? Did she do something wrong?
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