I don’t lie but my imaginary friend does

The other night Ted was jabbering on and on about some ridiculously unlikely experience he was claiming to have had. And then and then and then. Finally I looked up from the computer long enough to say “Those are all lies. Just bunny-flavored lies!” He didn’t deny it.

Ted tells stories. Makes them up on the spot. I think he has the same role in my adult family as I did in my childhood family—the one who tries to make everyone feel okay. It’s really sweet, and as outlandish as these bunny flavored lies may be, they’re always entertaining.

Perhaps the thing most fascinating about Ted is that he has a wilder imagination than I do, even though he’s my imaginary friend. His character has grown over time, and as with any character I create*, I put myself inside his brain. And it seems these days that Ted is where I store my most unbridled creativity, perhaps my most interesting plot ideas. So it makes sense to dedicate my professional writing blog to Ted—that’s his photo at the top of this post, in case you hadn’t guessed.

But there can be a dark side to bunny flavored lies. Even the phrase itself is based on a lie–there is no such thing as a bunny. It’s a colloquial term for rabbit, separating what we eat from what we think is cute, the way moo-cows are eaten as beef. Bunny flavored lies start off innocently with comforting tales of the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and God, created to convince children that everything is okay. Nothing scary anywhere, just glittery eggs and presents and someone watching over you all the time. These decorative lies can be manipulated for evil: God is the perfect example, whether you believe in Him or not. I imagine the manipulative lies told in His name out-number all the rest put together. Many adults believe, for instance, that God hates gay people, even as they forget about the Easter Bunny.

Nope, bunny flavored lies aren’t just for kids anymore. The worse the world gets, the more people want to pretend it’s okay. Lots of folks are desperate to believe there is no global warming, that the US government is on the side of right, that Kim Kardashian is important, that everything’s gonna be fine if they have enough apps. It’s cool to put aside some time to forget about the bad stuff for a while, but pretending that the world isn’t going to hell in a hand basket, is believing the bunny flavored lies, drinking the Kool-Aid, falling into the trap of complacency. And I’m just not down with that.


*Official props to Suzanne Lander for originating the character of Ted 25 years ago, and to Matt Goldman and Camille Atkinson, who have helped me mold his personality along the way.