I started writing a list about a family I know who lies about who they are, then realized that my family did that too. I just didn't know it until later.
  1. My parents were upstanding business owners in our small town. They were very well respected.
    They owned a motel, the only motel in town.
  2. My dad, especially, knew pretty much everyone in town, and everybody knew and liked him.
    This was a town of about 5,000 in the mid '70s. It's up to nearly 5,200 now.
  3. We were the perfect family. We didn't have a white picket fence, but practically.
    We're talking Ozzie and Harriet here. The Brady Bunch. Father Knows Best. All that.
  4. We were living the American Dream. My folks worked hard to earn enough money to buy a small business and ran it well.
  5. My parents had the perfect marriage.
  6. My parents were madly in love with each other and everyone knew it. They got along like a dream.
  7. Except that they didn't. They weren't.
  8. It turned out that they cheated on their taxes. Bad. Always.
  9. It turns out that they both cheated on each other for years. Repeatedly. And both were bitter about it.
  10. It turned out that they spoke very politely in public but cursed up a storm in private.
    How many times did I get grounded for saying "God" or "Damn?" Many times.
  11. It turned out that my parents drank like fish, but never in public.
    I saw my father have a single beer one time, and he didn't even finish that. I thought that they just never, ever drank.
  12. It turned out that they smoked pot for years and years.
    I got in trouble for knowing what pot was! I was regularly lectured about how bad pot was.
  13. It turned out that my parents didn't even like each other. They'd married young and regretted it very soon, but kids happened before they could get out.
  14. Only after both of my parents had died did I find out that my dad had been married to someone before my mom.
    Why did they hide this?
  15. Sometimes I feel like a lot of my childhood was a lie.
  16. At the same time, I had a great childhood, I loved my life then and I love my life now.
  17. I'm far from perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how I turned out.
    I think I turned out like I did despite my parents influence. Or maybe I chose to be who I am because of how they lived their lives and lies. I'm not sure.
  18. Because of my parents' lies, I try to live honestly. I try to acknowledge my flaws and work on them, and I try not to hide them.
  19. I am responsible for my own actions and learned a lot from my parents.