Decades ago, the Peanuts comic strip ran a storyline where Snoopy broke his leg tripping over his supper dish, but invented this whole narrative about getting injured saving a group of stewardesses (“flight attendant” wasn’t yet a thing) on runaway horses.
Hang on…is group the proper collective noun for flight attendants? I’m thinking “flock” might be better.
Anyway, so Snoopy created this flock of flight attendants because, in his own mind, the real story was…what? Not exciting enough? Embarrassing? Just not as fun to tell?
Since there is very little in real life that can’t be funneled through the filter of Charlie Brown and the gang, I thought of this while daydreaming in the car on a recent road trip. So here’s the question: why do we lie so much? To ourselves and others? About routine stuff even?
I think hero fantasies come from boredom. No matter what we’ve got going on, sometimes our own lives just aren’t that interesting to us. When we tell someone else an anecdote we feel pressure to embellish for fear they’ll think we’re as boring as we do. Why should it be different when we talk to ourselves? Why shouldn’t we want to entertain ourselves as much as we want to entertain others?
Who doesn’t have a hero fantasy? Mine involves saving the day – sometimes the whole universe, sometimes just a baby- and includes helicopters and explosions. I don t tell people I’ve actually done this (unless I’m scrounging for free drinks), but the scene unspools on my own little planet where the sky is whatever color I want and I’m always taller than everyone else and don’t have to worry about that extra ten pounds.
We all do it. Hero fantasies are like ear wax. We’ve all got some, but we don’t usually share them.
So let’s have it. Fantasize about curing cancer? Cool. Daydream about camels, candlelight, and chewy caramels? Bring it on. Living inside an arcade game; riding moose across the Serenghetti (not indigenous, but what the hell? It’s your fantasy.); or sailing across a sea of sharks while fighting off tanks on pontoons manned by machine-gun wielding alien Amazons. It’s all good. Whatever that little brain-adventure is that makes real life a little more bearable for you, let me know in the comments below.