Lying was one of my finest skills as a child.  Once, during Black History Month, I proudly proclaimed to my first grade class that my Aunt Karen was married to a black man.  I am part of an interracial family! I shouted, all blonde hair and no teeth. This was news to my Uncle, however, who was a 200lb Russian Jew from Newton, Massachusetts.  From then on, I knew my family could never be allowed to come to graduations, recitals, soccer games.  My entire class would find out my dark secret— I had lied—all to stand out during my first grade Black History Month lesson.  It was now my sworn duty to keep the story of my fake black Uncle alive.  I couldn’t let Aunt Karen be a widow, after all.

When a seven year old is racked with the guilt of lying to her entire class about her fake black Uncle, the only thing she can do is binge eat.  So I sat, crying in the family kitchen, devouring Oreo after Oreo until I swore I’d never eat another Oreo again. But there are always more Oreos, and when I found another box hidden in the butler’s pantry I began to shovel more in mouth, hoping not to be spotted by my mother.

Of course my mother found me, though, either out of looking or because she had needed something from the pantry.

Alison, how many Oreos have you eaten!!?

I looked at her with the utmost confidence (lying was one of my finest skills) and told her just one. It was then that my mother gave me my first lecture on honesty being the best policy.

Being seven, I assumed this now meant I had to be honest all the time.  From here on in, no matter what was asked of me, I would spare no detail.  I was going to be rigorously honest.  No more just one Oreo.  No more fake black Uncle.  Just the truth.

My mom, quite frustrated that I had eaten all the Oreos which were intended for both me and my brothers, decided to drag me to the nearest grocery store to replenish our supply of snacks.  She insisted we use the bathroom first, because in addition to a problem with incessant and unnecessary lying I also had the embarrassing problem of peeing in cars.  I had peed in my brother’s brand new cranberry Nissan after my Grandmother made the mistake of tickling me while singing “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid.  Bathroom trips before leaving the house were now a routine.

While using the facilities my mother had decided to go too, and this is when I noticed something peculiar: something resembling a rope hanging from between her legs.  I asked her, openly and honestly, about the curious equipment she seemed to be stashing in her nether regions.  This, Alison, is a tampon.  We’ll talk about it when you are older.

I decided to put away all the questions I had about this tampon for a later date.  My mom had assured me that honesty was the best policy, and if she swore we would talk about it when I was older, I knew we would get to it.  Maybe when I was eight.

My mother and I were off to the market to replenish the stock of cookies I had devoured back in my lying days. We navigated the aisles for Oreos and potato chips, and with each snack thrown in the cart I felt like my earlier sins were being washed away.  I’m Alison Segel, seven years old, recovered binge eater and liar.

We made our way to the check out. Dolores the grocery bagger, a large, mannish woman who used to tell me I’d grow up to be something someday, asked me how I was doing.

Perfect! I thought.  A chance to practice my honesty.

With a booming voice, ready to tell my first truth, I exclaimed: I’M DOING OKAY BUT MY MOM HAS A STRING HANGING FROM HER VAGINA!

My mom simply proclaimed I’m sorry, my daughter is a liar, and dragged me out of the store.