Australia was angry in December about Kitty Flanagan outing lying parents all over the country by saying Santa is not real on The Project. There were divisive views about this – the belief that she should have to apologise over upsetting children and the belief that those parents who lied to their children about Santa in the first place were doing the wrong thing. I don’t know where I stand on that one, to be honest, as I don’t recall ever believing Santa was real. I have a strong suspicion my mother never told me he was, although she still insists we write letters to Santa every year and still calls herself Santa when she hands out presents, writing on the tag that it’s from Santa. But then she also writes on tags that certain presents are from each of the cats, so she’s not exactly a paragon of accuracy when it comes to gift labels.
But this whole debacle got me thinking about the other lies my family have told me over the years. Santa being real may not have been one, but I really did believe spaghetti grew on trees (they had photos to prove it!) and bananas were curved because all bananas trees were planted on the side of a hill.
My brother told me I was adopted and during the night foxes were going to come into my bedroom to take me away, and my mother told my cousin our uncle had birds in his beard, which my cousin passed on to me, and we were both terrified of him for years to come.
My brother had me convinced, convinced, that when actors in movies are shown to be missing limbs the actor has had that limb actually removed for the role and I shouldn’t become an actor unless I’m willing to sacrifice a limb for a role. This was prompted by the woman in The Witches who is missing her thumb, and me asking if she was really missing her thumb or if it was just makeup. Why I asked my brother, I’ll never know, he’s always been one to tell me whoppers, but I think it took me quite a while to catch on.
Then there are the lies I suspect a few of you might be familiar with – don’t sit over a pool filter or your intestines will get sucked out through your bum. A visceral image if ever there was one. Swimming within 30 minutes after you eat will result in you dying (I was never entirely clear what it was that would cause this death, but it was a clear death). If you make a face and the wind changes your face will be stuck like that. And the big one – our parents are always right, they have everything under control and they’re totally grown up.
I have a strong suspicion our parents lie to us more than we realise.
Did your parents lie to you? Do you still believe in Santa?