The First Lie

Posted: November 3, 2009 in Threat Quality

LiarSomewhere between the release of The Invention of Lying, the recent study that dogs are capable of deception (though NOT good ol’ Molson, who only WISHES he had a two-year-old child’s intelligence…or at least one more treat), the constant barrage of retarded and yet somehow accepted untruths regarding (oh just to pick a topic) healthcare reform, and Patton Oswalt’s (highly recommended) latest comedy special, a thought occurred to me:

What was the first lie?

And I don’t mean the simple version your average toddler can come up with (saying “no” instead of “yes” – though, man, if you want to boil a lie down to its simplest form, that’s pretty much it, isn’t it?). I mean something a little closer to Oswalt’s “sky-cake dodge” that created religion in order to keep the thugs in line (while clever and hilarious, I have the feeling it’s not exactly historically based).

What would have been important enough for the human brain, at its relative infancy of cleverness, to come up with the premeditated idea, “If I say this thing that’s not true, and the person I’m telling it to believes me – and why wouldn’t he, since up until now I have only said things that were factually accurate as I understood them? – …then I will get what I want.”

Sometimes my jerk brain makes me think about these things instead of getting any real work done. It is the part of my brain that wonders about the first person to snatch up a lobster and think, “I’ll bet this horrible mutant sea-creature’s got some tasty meat underneath this shell, if only the proper amount of fire were applied to it…also, I should go ahead and invent butter.”

(I know, it probably didn’t happen this way, though I now also wonder how proud the first person to stick lobster meat into melted butter must have been.)

((Also who the hell could look at a clam and see food. But I digress.))

I have absolutely no good answer to this. If pressured, I’d take a guess that it had something to do with mating, but in the end, hell, what doesn’t? But my guess is still rooted in the “sky-cake dodge” argument – that a weaker specimen came up with some means of tricking a woman into choosing him over the big strong provider who had actual applicable skills.

(Come to think of it, I might have been wondering about this since seeing Year One, which is actually a lot better than the reviews gave it credit for.)

Anyway, if there has to be a point to this, it’s that even cavemen had a tough time dating.

Sigh. Not every entry is going to be a gem, folks.

Here, by way of contrition, enjoy the Patton Oswalt bit I was referencing:


(PS: Out here on the porch at close to midnight, I can hear people honking randomly, and somewhere far off, a “Woooo!” I guess the Phillies won. )

  1. braak says:

    I think the entire history of food can be described with two guys, one of whom is a complete lunatic.

    “Hey, Ooga!”

    “Yeah, Booga?”

    “You know that white stuff that comes out of cow tits when you squeeze them?”


    “I drank some!”


    It was delicious.”

  2. braak says:

    Also, the first lie was clearly this one: “I’m a grower, I swear.”

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    “No, I wouldn’t say you’ve got a PROMINENT brow, Zooga. It fits your face.”

  4. Tad says:

    Molson is extremely uncapable of deception!

    And yes, Wooo!!! The Phillies did win!!

  5. Tad says:

    Upon review, that was probably too many exclamation points, but I regret none of them.

  6. Dave says:

    “Of course I love you, Lilith…”

  7. Erin says:

    Lying predates homo sapiens. Some monkeys will shout fake warning cries to scare others away from food.

  8. braak says:

    That may be true, but could you find a funnier way to say it?

  9. Jeff Holland says:

    “Monkeys: Assholes of the jungle!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s