THE GREATEST LIE I EVER TOLD

  1. My wife and children had flown to my parents' house in Boston several days before I was to arrive for our summer vacation.
  2. I called my wife from Los Angeles to see how things were going. She was in a state of high anxiety.
  3. "I have these little red bumps all over my legs, and so do the kids," my wife said.
  4. "Uh huh," I said. "Who cares?" I thought.
  5. "I think there were bedbugs in the fabric of the airline cushions," said my wife.
  6. "Holy fucking shit," I thought. If my wife has brought bedbugs into my mother's house, I saw the following things happening:
  7. 1) Upon hearing the word "bedbugs", my mother would lose her mind, and then pump several apocalypses worth of bug poison into her house.
  8. 2) My wife would also lose her mind, throw away everything she brought on vacation, move her and the kids into a hotel, and never set foot in my parents' poisonous house again.
  9. 3) Things would be very awkward once we all met up for two weeks in a small beach rental on Cape Cod.
  10. Here comes THE LIE:
  11. "Bedbugs?" I said. "No, those are flea bites. I saw a few fleas on the dog yesterday."
  12. From 3000 miles across the country, I felt her anxiety melt away.
  13. There were no fleas. I LIED.
  14. THE LIE WORKED. Compared to bedbugs, a few flea bites are nothing. Even to such world-class over-reactors as my wife and mother.
  15. When I told my dad about the lie he was very impressed. "My proudest moment in 40 years as a parent," he said.
  16. (Thinking back, I have no idea what caused the little red bites all over my wife and children's legs.)