They say you can’t con a con man (there is a more colorful version of that saying involving a bull but I want to keep this blog above boards for anyone nice enough to be reading it.) In my case that is very true. I am a storyteller, so I deal in fiction all the time. I am very good at re imagining the truth, speaking of things that do not exist, pulling words from thin air, or to put it more bluntly I can lie like a Persian rug. Be able to “tell stories”, also has given me the ability to tell when others are “telling stories”. This ability has served me well and for the most part has kept me out of trouble. It is very hard to lie to me without me picking up on it. As a rule I am hardly ever fooled. Of course with every rule there is an exception.
His name was Christopher and he was four. He was one of the the preschoolers I taught in my former teaching life. He was always the last child to be picked up, and with me working the end of the day shift, he and I spent a lot of time together. It was kind of cool having one on one time, because we got to hang out and do things without all the the other kids pulling me in a million different directions.
Chris was a very chilled out kid, so for the most part we would sit at a table and draw, or play with play-dough, or build stuff with Legos (by the way getting to play with Legos was one of my top 3 three reasons for wanting to be a preschool teacher!) As we hung out, we would talk about different subjects like cartoons, or dinosaurs, or superheroes. It was fun, but also a little disconcerting when I realized I had a lot of the same interests as a four year old.
One of Chris’ favorite things to talk about was his dog Lance. He loved that dog, and told me all about him. Every day he would tell me about a cute thing that Lance did or a funny anecdote about him. He talked about him playing in the yard with Lance, giving him a bath, teaching him to fetch, and a whole host of other things relating to a boy and his dog.
For a couple of days one week, Chris and I chatted but he didn’t mention Lance at all. On the third day, I became a little curious and a bit concerned, so I gently asked how Lance was. Chris looked up at me with very sad eyes and told me that Lance was very sick. He said they had taken him to the vet and he may have to have an operation. Having lost a dog recently myself, I knew what he was going through, so I comforted him and told him things would be okay.
When his mom came to pick him up, I pulled her aside and told her that Chris was a bit upset and told her I felt bad that their dog was sick. She looked at me completely baffled and uttered a very drawn out “Whaaat?” In that moment, I realized I was lied to, and felt kind of silly. I said “Wait a minute, your dog isn’t really sick is he?” She smiled and said “No, but that’s just because we don’t have a dog!” For the first time in a long long while I was rendered speechless. Chris’ mom had a good laugh about the whole thing, and all I could do was shake my head. As I watched her and “Keyser Soze Jr” leave the classroom I realized you can con a con man, and sometimes all it takes is a four year old with a very active imagination 🙂