Little lies

Practically every time I’m out for a training run I see the same elderly woman with a walker, getting her daily constitutional. Several months ago, she paused for a long time on the sidewalk.

Thinking she was in distress I stopped and asked if she was okay. In a thick accent she responded, “resting.” So I went further. “Is it your heart?” She nodded. “Do you have any nitro?” I continued. I was genuinely concerned. She looked at me quizzically.

And this is where the lie began.

It was innocent enough, designed to not offend her. “My mother carries nitro. She has a heart condition and she uses it for chest pain.” The truth is, my mother doesn’t have a heart condition. My GRANDMOTHER had a heart condition, and if my grandmother were alive today, she’d be a hundred years old. My mother is 67 (sorry Mom, I had to make the point…). You see why I said “mother” instead of “grandmother,” right?

My new friend was fine, and now every time she sees me she yells “how your ma?” I’ve considered telling her I misspoke, that it’s my grandmother, not my mother. But instead I respond “good, thanks, how are you” and keep running. Nice of her to ask after my mom, and remind me every time that I’m a liar, isn’t it?

I share this story in light of Yahoo’s latest CEO casualty Scott Thompson. Seems he told a little lie too, only his was on his resume. And it seems he got caught, by activist investors just looking for an opportunity to get on Yahoo’s board. Oops.

There are always consequences.