I had to do a book report in Mrs. Perez’s English class. I was supposed to make a poster showing my interpretation of the story. I bought the poster board. That’s as far as I went. The night before it was due I drew a boy leaning against a palm tree on it. I drew clouds and rain. I wrote across the top “Billy at Sea.” I made up an author’s name. On the back we were supposed to write a summary of the story. I wrote. “Billy falls off a boat swims to an island. He makes it”
I had to get up in front of the class and give a presentation to the class on my report. I made up the story as I went along. I told them how Billy was tossed overboard for being a stowaway. How he swam to shore avoiding sharks. He collected wood and made a shelter. How he lived off crab and coconuts. He was rescued by a French fishing boat that had stopped on the island to get water. Billy got back to California and wrote his story and became a hero.
Everybody in the class loved it. They complimented my drawing. They told me that that book sounded awesome. I didn’t bother to tell anyone that I made the whole damn thing up. I got an A.
I would make up stories about what I did on vacations and days off from school. I told people about places I had never been to, making up the details as I went along. Things I had done with friends from out of town or uncles I didn’t really have. I wasn’t close to these people so I didn’t really care if they believed me or not. But if they smiled or laughed at one of my stories, it egged me on and the tale would get bigger and bigger. I would make reports on these fake travels in English class. I always got good grades on them. I found out later that Mrs. Perez was friends with my mother. She asked her one day how she enjoyed going to Mexico. My mother told her that she had never been there. The jig was up. I was busted. My mother beat the crap out of me for lying to the teacher. My fantasy life was so much more entertaining then the real thing.
To this day, nothing makes me feel as good as when someone laughs at one of my stories or smiles at something I said.
I did that.
I brought them a little happiness for a second.
It makes me feel alive.
I am such an attention whore.
I continued faking the book reports.