Rule #71: Fake Memory Loss

fake memory loss

I definitely would have remembered if I said anything about saving for your college education. You're thinking of someone else.

We all do it. We promise our children things that, upon later reflection, turn out to be impossible to bestow.

Like telling your son you’ll build him a tree fort if he sleeps past 7 on Saturday morning.

First, you don’t know shit about tree forts other than they require planning, nailing and hammering skills, and the only planning, nailing and hammering skills you possess involved several coeds as an undergrad.

So, yes, the tree fort promise was a buffoonish move, but it’s also a parental move. We’re in the habit of offering things that simply cannot happen once clarity takes over.

And, naturally, children always have clarity. They remember your every word. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to…in fact, it’s your prerogative to forget everything.

If a Parent Falls in the Woods…

The key element of faking memory loss is incredulity and fashioning a look that says, “Son, I’m trying to comprehend what you’ve just told me, but as you can see by the mad scratching I’m doing to my head, along with the tugging and rendering of my loins, you’ve clearly lost me.”

Once the look is flashed, lying takes over. Some common situations and appropriate responses

Scenario #1

Your daughter, Brandy: Mommy, you said you’d buy me a pony if I stopped hiding your smokes.

You: Listen, Daphne…

Brandy: Mommy, it’s Brandy. My name is Brandy. Remember, you named me after your favorite drink.

You: Oh, that’s right. Well, Brianna, honey, mommy hit her head on your fat daddy’s chin-up bar, and I don’t remember much of what I’ve said regarding, well, anything. (Heavy head rubbing) Now, run along Tiffany. Go feed your pony.

Scenario #2

Your teenage son, Nathan: Dad, remember when you said you’d let me train for the Ultimate Fighting Championship if I didn’t tell mom about that woman who used to sneak into our house through the garage door when mom was napping?

You: (violent head scratching) Nathan, was I ever a touchy-feely minister or preacher of
some kind?

Nathan: No, dad, you were never a minister or preacher. What about the UFC?

You: (loin tugging and rendering) Was I ever a massage therapist who did special favors for the ladies, if you know what I mean?

Nathan: No, dad, you were never a massage therapist.

You: Good. I was worried, because those are the only two things I remember about the past 10 years. I must have hit my head on the garage door or something. Now what’s this talk about you getting a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken?


  1. Cindi F says:

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