The problem is, I think, that people want their stories to be interesting but most of us don't really lead lives that are interesting, so when it comes to telling stories, you could do one of two things:
A. You could lead a more interesting life, like go sky-diving or invent hydrogen or something, or
B. You could find a way to tell about your boring life in an interesting way, at least.
Confronted with those two options, 100% of the people who tell stories that I hear or read opt for
C. LIE THE CRAP OUT OF THINGS.
They embellish their lives, invent details, or simply flat-out make up a story, whether that story be a fake 'scavenger hunt break-up letter,' or a spurious claim that one kept a cheeseburger in one's pocket for 14 years. And you can always always tell that these stories are made up, not that the Internet and its echo chamber of faux-news operations (and real news operations that can't tell the difference between an Onion headline and what Obama actually did) care about it: if something is on the Internet, the rush to point out that it is on the Internet takes precedence over determining whether it is true.
Take the Guy Who Bought The Pies, a story that I saw on Gawker this morning:
I read that because of the headline -- I'm always curious as to whether a kid is really "shitty" or if it's just some idiot adult who for some reason is swimming in a family pool meant for kids but doesn't feel as though kids should be there, -- and quickly realized that the entire thing is fiction, and not very good fiction, at that.
Let's walk it through to see why this guy is clearly lying. (He took down the post on Reddit because so many people accused him of lying, but that didn't stop Gawker from reposting this as a thing that was true, because Gawker does that, and in fact Gawker declared the author of this fictional piece their "hero.")
First off, you don't get a name, or location? The Gawker article doesn't have one, and I couldn't find any article that did. So this guy is either so important or so afraid of the repercussions of posting this that he can't give any identifying information by which this could be tracked? For Pete's sake, Edward Snowden gave his name. Is this guy more important or in more danger than Edward Snowden? Any anonymous story that does not involve revealing that Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush have a death ray poised over Tulsa is a fake story.
Second, where's the evidence? This is the era of smart phones with cameras, and hence pictures of food and receipts and restaurants. Everyone who does something they think is cool in a restaurant snaps a picture of it, but this guy (who is tech-savvy enough to post on Reddit) didn't bother getting a picture of his 23 pies, or the crowded food court, or even the receipt showing that he purchased 23 pies?
|One-quarter of all server space in the|
world is taken up with images of
fast-food receipts. Fast-food receipts
are quickly replacing porn as the
majority of information on the Internet.
When they develop "Fast Food Receipt Porn,"
the world will end.
Third, consider the details. Let's assume a Burger King in a crowded food court really does have a trainee "on cash," which is not a thing people say, during the lunch rush. That could happen (it didn't, but is at least theoretically possible, unlike the rest of this story). Here is the guy's whole story from the Reddit post
So a while ago I had decided to treat myself and go to Burger King. I hadn't had the greatest of days and I had a headache coming on. It was a very long line and I was at the end of it waiting patiently. When behind me comes this woman yapping on her cellphone with a little monster of a child. This kid was out of control, screaming, punching his mother throwing around a gameboy whenever something didn't go right in the game. The mother didn't seem to pay any attention to him and his continued yelling of 'I want a Fucking PIE'. After about 5 minutes of the line with these people behind me, I had gone from a headache to a full on migraine, but nothing was going to stop me from getting those burgers. I calmly turn and ask her nicely if she can please calm or quiet her child down. Immediately she gets up in my face telling me I can't tell her nothing about raising her child and to mind my own business. I nod and turn around, shes still yelling at the back of my head when the child cries out again how he wants a pie, the mother consoles him, calling him sweety and ensuring they'll get pies for lunch because she loves him so much. Things immediately go back to the they were and I wait another 5 minutes before getting to the front of the line. It turns out it was so slow because they had 1 trainee on cash during the lunch hour rush. All I can think of is how the people behind me ruined my splurge and gave me this headache. I then decide to ruin their day. I order every pie they have left in addition to my burgers. Turned out to be 23 pies in total, I take my order and walk towards the exit. Moments later I hear the woman yelling, what do you mean you don't have any pies left, who bought them all? I turn around and see the cashier pointing me out with the woman shooting me a death glare. I stand there and pull out a pie and slowly start eating eat as I stare back at her. She starts running towards me but can't get to me because of other lineups in the food court. I turn and slowly walk away.
Let's also assume this guy was in fact the soul of politeness as the kid threw around the Game Boy and Mo yapped on her cell phone. (Game Boys aren't made any more, though, so keep that suspension of disbelief working; apparently Mom is raising a retrogamer.)
Here's a problem: the mom and kid are right behind the guy, who stands there and orders every pie they have. But neither Mom nor kid hear him do this? What, did the guy whisper? "Psst don't tell awful mom behind me but I would like every pie you have."
AND, Mom and kid do not see the sole trainee "on cash" loading up 23 pies for this guy into a bag or on a tray? That is probably because they are so distracted by the fact that they can only afford toys made in 1997.
This guy then manages to order 23 pies, get them put on a tray or in a bag, pay for them, carry several bags worth of pies away from the counter through a crowded food court, (kudos to him for doing that all with a "migraine," because when my mom used to get migraines she spent 2 days in a dark room throwing up, not dispensing appley-delicious justice at the local mall), all without Mom and kid noticing, but is still able to hear the Mom demanding to know what happened to all the pies, in the least credible way possible:
I hear the woman yelling what do you mean you don't have any pies left who bought them all?
That is not a thing people say. Have you been in a restaurant that ran out of things? Remember, Mom's bewilderment means she did not know Reddit Guy bought them all. Which makes her question very strange. I was in Panera the other day, and they had run out of coffee (side note: Panera exists to sell coffee. This store was not fulfilling its basic function as a thing. That is another reason I hate people). When I learned that they were (temporarily) out of coffee, I didn't say "What? Who bought all the coffee?" I simply said "Oh. Okay, I will wait." I did that because I am a real person in real life, not a made-up person in a story on the Internet.
What really might have happened is the trainee "on cash" would have said "Oh, we're out of them it'll be a few minutes for those we have to cook some more," which is something that actually happens/gets said at fast food restaurants which have temporarily run out of something here in this universe where things are real and fast food restaurants have food which they can cook and serve to people. Or are we to believe that Reddit Guy bought every pie in the store, even the frozen ones in the walk in?
Perhaps. Because in Fake News Gawker Hero Land, what supposedly happens is the trainee "on cash", points out the offender, doing so even though this person is so befuddled by his/her job that he/she cannot even wait on people in a timely fashion, not even those people who are in a hurry to splurge before migraines set in. This trainee, so poorly skilled in the work required to be "on cash" (and apparently unaware that Burger King can simply cook more food) is nonetheless able to keep track of where prior customers went in a crowded food court, and accurately point them out as the offender who has bought every single thing this Burger King ever had, possibly even the chairs.
Gawker's Hero is not fazed by being outed, though. In fact, he's so unfazed that he doesn't bother to explain why he's still paying attention to Mom's conversation and is close enough to hear them. Maybe he waited around to find out what happened, the way serial killers will stand at the crime scene or dogs will eat their own vomit? Anyway, Gawker's Hero Reddit Guy is so unfazed that when pointed out as the Pie Bandit, he calmly pulls out a pie and starts eating it.
What did he do with the burgers and the other 22 pies he was holding?
Don't those pies come in boxes or wraps? Did he (in a crowded food court) juggle several bags of splurgerific Burger King pies while also unwrapping the pie and eating it slowly to taunt the woman (while suffering from a migraine, no less!)?
...to taunt the woman who not only immediately abandons her kid to attack him but is somehow completely unable to negotiate this crowded food court?
start eating eat as I stare back at her. She starts running towards me but can't get to me because of other lineups in the food court.
So to be clear:
1. Trainee "on cash" points out Gawker Hero, who is at least two "lineups" (i.e. other restaurants in the food court) away.
2. After being pointed out, Gawker Hero has time to unwrap and slowly start eating a pie while also engaging in a staring contest.
3. Woman only then starts running at him.
4. "Other lineups" close ranks and cut this woman off entirely, doing so so effectively that...
5. ...Gawker Hero can "turn and slowly walk away."
And woman can do nothing!
It could only be more perfect if the Burger King was exploding behind him.
|Actual footage of Gawker Hero (22 remaining pies not pictured.)|
Gawker is a gossip site, and is mostly filled up these days with stories about how cool the Gawker people think the Gawker people are, so it's not as though they've committed some kind of serious journalistic infraction here. You have to be a journalist, first. But if Gawker is going to name an author of a fictional piece their hero, they could at least pick a good author of a good fictional piece.