Oysters are disgusting. And everyone knows it.

I have eaten oysters. I have even eaten them in places on the coast that are known for having “good oysters.” Throughout my experience, oysters are just as bad in Lawrence, Kansas as they are in New Orleans, Charlotte, and Paris. They may be fished out of different bodies of water, prepared by hands of varying skill, and placed on a plate raw, steamed, or fried, but each and every oyster that has slid down my throat has one quality in common: each tasted like saltwater earwax gelatin.

“But Stephen, oysters are an aphrodisiac. That’s why people like eating them so much.” Wrong. Oysters have a high level of zinc, which simply wards off impotence in men. Meaning that oysters don’t facilitate sex, they just avoid preventing it. You know what else is high in zinc? Mutton. You know what has never been said, ever? “Feel like getting some mutton and then taking our clothes off?”

Perhaps some oyster-lovers would claim to consume them purely for health purposes; oysters being allegedly good for you – their only redeeming quality. But if someone told me that I could get all of my essential vitamins from the bark of an oak tree, I wouldn’t put milk on it and call it breakfast. Eat a fucking apple, not a plate of chilled grey matter served within shards of sandy rocks.

What I find most (marginally) interesting about oysters is thinking about the first poor son of a bitch who tried one. The only conceivable explanations of how the first oyster was ingested are, 1) it was a dare to impress a pretty girl, or 2) a man was caught on a desert island with no hope of escape, had been eating his own hair and feces for weeks before finally giving in and trying what he found after prying open what he initially thought was just a rock.

“So, smartass, how do 50 million pounds of oysters get eaten every year in this country?” Easy. People are liars.

No one likes oysters. Ok, maybe I’m getting carried away. By “no one” I mean “almost no one.” Those of you who enjoy the taste of oysters must be the same people who buy black licorice and tapioca.

Let’s at least agree that people who like oysters < people who say they like oysters. This makes me wonder what else people lie about in order to seem more cultured or dignified or impressive. Not the lies that are popular and widely accepted – a woman’s weight, a woman’s age, fart ownership – but the lies that don’t make any sense.

1. Height

I live with my very tall cousin. So tall that he is asked his height in nearly any conversation he has with a stranger. During one of these instances, my cousin responded to the question with, “6’9”. How tall are you?” To which the man answered, “Only six feet.” After a pause, I thought, unless this 5’8” fellow cross-dresses in heels so much that this marks his instinctual response, his comment was a complete lie. Not an exaggeration or a convenient round-up, but an utter, shit-soaked lie. I can see the value in a lie that isn’t easily refutable. But, being six feet tall myself, all I have to do is use my gift of sight, observe that the top of this man’s head is below my nose, and voila: Liar.

2. Movies people have seen or like (same for books)

Me: “Did you ever see ‘My Left Foot’?

Liar: “Uh…yeah! Yeah, I think I did. A few years ago.”

Me: <Thinking> This asshole hasn’t seen it.

Liar: “Who was the lead in that? I can’t think of his name.”

Me: <Thinking> I know this asshole hasn’t seen it. “Daniel Day Lewis.”

Liar: “That’s right! Of course, of course.” Swallowing hard, realizing his deceit has been discovered.

Why do people lie about movies they haven’t seen? Am I or anyone else going to be impressed or disappointed that this guy hasn’t seen ‘My Left Foot’? If he would have answered truthfully, I would have said, “Oh, you should,” and we move on with our day without the shroud of awkwardness hanging over the two of us.

And don’t lie about what you like. Your tastes are your tastes, so stand behind them. I love the pants off of ‘Love Actually’ so why should you be ashamed of having ‘The Help’ on Blu-Ray at home? This is the category of lies that should stop after high school, once your acne clears up and self-confidence starts to bloom.

3. Being asleep when someone calls

Is it just human nature to lie if charged with a question seconds after waking up? It must be, because seemingly no one wants to fess up and say, “Yeah, I was totally asleep when you called just now.” Usually the dialog goes something like:

Liar: <Answers the phone after it falls and clatters onto the hardwood floor> “…Hello?”

Me: “Hey, what are you doing?”

Liar: <Clears throat violently> “…What? Nothing.”

Me: “Did I wake you up?”

Liar: <Hides a yawn> “What? No, I was just…how are you? What time is it?”

What is so embarrassing about being caught taking a nap? It’s not like I walked in on you stripping your pee-soaked bed with no pants on. It’s just a nap and humans get tired and need one from time to time, I’ll understand.

4. Preferring diet to regular Coke

“I have been drinking Diet Coke for so long that I actually like it better. Regular Coke is too sweet.” No you don’t. No one does. You know what else is sweet? Cake, pie and brownies. And I’ve never been to a birthday party where someone asks for a cornbread cake and I’ve never seen someone order quinoa for dessert. The reason: sweet = delicious.

There’s a reason why the Coca Cola people have kept the recipe to Coke Heavy a secret for more than a century. No one is rooting through Coca Cola’s garbage trying to figure out how to make Diet Coke. I’m sure people can tolerate drinking Diet, but there’s no way it’s preferred. That would be like preferring Scion over Lexus, Vizio over Sony, or Die Hard 2 over Die Hard 1.

So, when people ask you if you like oysters, if you’ve seen an obscure movie, or if you were asleep when they called, just be honest.

“Oysters are disgusting but I feel adventurous and erotic when I eat them.”

“No, I haven’t seen ‘Sexy Beast’ and unless it’s on when I get home tonight, I probably never will.”

“Yes, I just woke up. I’ll call you later.”

Ladies, you’re allowed to lie about your weight and age just as I’m allowed to look around disgustedly after I fart on an airplane. Those are the agreed upon rules. But from now on, no one gets to lie about liking oysters.

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