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Miranda the Fish and Other Things My Dad Lied About

    When my younger sister and I were little, we really wanted a pet. A dog, a cat, even a gerbil! We didn’t care; we just wanted an animal to care for. We begged and begged for the next few years until my dad, to my mom's disapproval, brought home a small 10-gallon fish tank. It

was colorful and full of snails and brightly colored fish; however, my favorite was a small yellow tang named Miranda. Named after the mom of Disney’s Sophia the First, Miranda was a shy yet elegant fish, and her grace caught the attention of my 9-year-old eyes. One weekend, my parents decided to send me and my sister to my grandparent’s house, and after saying our goodbyes to

Miranda, we left. When we got home a few days later, Miranda looked different. Her eyes bulged out of her head, she had grown by at least an inch, and she had small white spots all over her gills. This was not my favorite fish. I ran to my dad and asked why Miranda looked different, but all he said was, “Well, that kind of fish just does that when it gets older.” I was upset with his

answer, but I didn’t question it, so I kept on watching Miranda as she swam around her little cave.


    Last year during the metamorphosis unit in science, I was telling the story of how my favorite fish changed overnight when I realized a fish couldn't completely change its appearance in the span of a weekend. That day after school, I decided to ask my dad about it. It took a minute to remind him which fish Miranda was, but eventually, I learned the whole story. The day after we had left, Miranda bit the dust, and my dad made an emergency run to PetSmart to find a replacement. They were out of the kind of fish Miranda was, so he grabbed the closest fish he

could find and hoped we wouldn’t notice. Learning the truth got me thinking. What else had my dad lied about?

Hannah Montana


    My older cousin was often the butt of my dad’s jokes. In elementary school, her favorite show was Disney’s Hannah Montana. On one specific trip to visit them, my dad took advantage of that.



    “You know I’m famous, right?” my dad asked my cousin, as casually as he could.



    My cousin was gullible, but she had known my dad long enough to be suspicious.



    “That’s a lie.”


    “It’s true, I’m friends with Hannah Montana.”


     “Prove it.”


     My dad pulled out his phone and made a fake contact with “Hannah Montana” saved as the name. He called it, pretended to talk to her for a minute, and then hung up.


     “She said she can’t talk right now, she’s at lunch with Olive and Gilly or something.” My dad said, messing up the names on purpose.




     That seemed to do the trick. During the rest of my dad’s visit, she was desperate to call her idol. Each time she asked, my dad would devise a new excuse for why she couldn’t call. One time it would be “She’s not home, she’s in a fistfight with Mikayla,” and another it would be

“She’s busy, she’s texting her ex.” As my dad was about to leave, my cousin decided to try for the final time. Much to her disappointment, my dad told her the truth.


    “Taylor, I was lying. I don’t know Hannah Montana.”


    She cried.


Uncle Filmore


    As I mentioned in the last story, my cousin often fell for my dad’s lies. On another of my dad’s visits a few years later, she was sitting in the living room of my Papaw’s house, making a family tree.


    “Papaw and Mamaw had one girl and two boys so I have two aunts and two uncles!” she proclaimed.



    “No,” my dad corrected, “You have two aunts and three uncles.”


    “You and Uncle Keith, that's two!” she said, wanting to get back to her project.

    “What about Uncle Filmore?”




    “He’s my brother, he ran away to join the Mexican circus.”


    “That’s not true.”


     “Yes, it is, go ask Papaw if you don’t believe me.”


    She got up from the floor and ran to the kitchen where my Papaw was cooking Thanksgiving dinner.


    “Papaw,” she asked, convinced he would call my dad's bluff, “Do you have another son?”


    He knew my dad was up to something, but he wasn’t sure what.


     “Yes, I do.”


     “Well, where does he live?”


    This is where my dad got really lucky, Papaw guessed, and he guessed right.

    “He lives in Mexico,” he said.




     Papaw agreed hastily, and my cousin ran back into the living room. Her dad, my dad's brother, walked into the room.


     “Dad, do you have a brother who ran away to join the Mexican circus?


    Like Papaw, my uncle knew what my dad was doing, but until he could ask my dad what he told her, he would have to try not to give it away.


    “Taylor, I don’t want to talk about it right now,” he said hoping she would leave him alone. She did, but to this day swears she saw a tear in his eye.


     By the end of the visit, my dad had told the whole family, and the joke grew larger and larger. My dad made a Facebook account for him, and every holiday he would say that Fillmore would be coming to visit too. Even after five or six times in a row of Fillmore “not being able to make it”, she still never questioned it. She believed in the joke so much that a couple of years later, she was going to print out his Facebook profile picture (a man in a sombrero and a poncho) and bring it to school for show and tell. My aunt didn’t know she still believed in that story so

she told her the truth. From that point on, my cousin was more careful when believing my dad.


The Ancient Lie Test


    When my sister and I were younger, we got in a fight over who a stuffed animal belonged to. When my dad came to diffuse the situation, we both said the stuffed animal was ours. He

couldn’t get either of us to tell the truth, so he came up with a plan. He made his hands into fists and stuck them out towards us.


    “This is called the ancient lie test,” he explained, “Put one of your hands over my fist and I will be able to tell who is lying.”


    We both reluctantly agreed. We stood there for a few minutes while he closed his eyes.


    My sister and I glanced at each other, and then back at my dad.


    “Okay,” he announced while opening his eyes, “The ancient lie test has shown me who is lying. Would either of you like to tell me the truth?”


     Still, my sister and I stayed quiet. My dad was losing faith in his plan, but he tried one more time.


     “This is your last chance to tell me who did it before I tell you who was lying,” he said, losing faith in his plan. He was just about to call it quits when a little voice spoke up.

    “If I tell you I did it, will I still get in trouble?”


    It was me. Unfortunately, I was no match for my dad’s lies either.


We’re leaving mom 


    Once, when my sister and I were in pre-school, my family went to visit our grandparents. On our way home, my mom realized she needed to stop at Target. My dad dropped her off at the front entrance and started to find a parking spot while my sister and I drew with our oversized

Dora crayons. My dad naturally decided to mess with us. My sister and I realized something was up when he started to pull out of the parking lot and towards the main road. My sister was the first to speak up. “Daddy, where are we going?” She asked.


     “We’re leaving Mom here.”


     Our shocked silence was short-lived because we started sobbing and begging my dad not to do it, but alas, the car was speeding towards the main road and there was nothing we could do about it. Right before the car reached the main road, we made a sharp turn back towards the parking lot. Relief flooded us; we weren’t leaving Mom after all! All was well. We tried to go back to coloring but were soon stopped by a horrific sight. We were speeding towards the main road once again! As you might have guessed, my sister and I completely lost it. Another sobbing fit followed, but once again we made a turn right when we were about to reach the main road.

We were trapped in this awful cycle of being deceived over and over again, until around 20 minutes later when we pulled up in front of Target and my mom hopped in.


    “Mommy,” we said teary-eyed, “Daddy was going to leave you.”


     My mom looked at him annoyed, and my dad just sat back and laughed, which, not surprisingly, is how almost all of these stories have ended.

Zoey Beets is a freshman at Highlands High School. 

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