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|Truth, Lies, and Engagement Stories|
Jul. 17th, 2007 at 9:57 pm
Donâ€™t you think the truth is sometimes overrated? Everyone knows, of course, that the Church, Joseph Smith, Gordon B. Hinckley (the â€œBâ€ is mandatory), the Republican Party, Especially for Youth (for teens), and roommates (for BYU students), are all true. And thatâ€™s all well and good. But what about truth when it comes to how one went about offering a proposal for marriage?
In his autobiography Leading with My Chin, Jay Leno relates an embarrassing experience he had on the old Dinah Shore TV show. What Leno doesnâ€™t disclose is that the experience did not actually happen to him, but to another comedian, Jeff Altman. Leno thought Altman’s story was amusing, so he paid Altman $1000 so that he (Leno) could claim the experience as his own. (John Leo, â€œThis Story is Mostly True,â€ US News and World Report, December 16, 1996)
I have no problem with this. Most people reading Lenoâ€™s autobiography expect to be entertainedâ€”and he is merely obliging them. This approach provided a perfect solution to a nagging problem Iâ€™ve dealt with for years.
I do not have an interesting engagement story. Had I known how often I would be asked to recount how I went about proposing to my wife, I would have certainly tried to be more creative. But I began to realize that people ask about engagement stories for the same reason people read Lenoâ€™s autobiography: to be entertained. So, following Lenoâ€™s lead, I decided to oblige them. Fortunately, I have not yet published my engagement memoirs, so I havenâ€™t had to pay anyone for the fabricated story I now share when people ask how I proposed. Itâ€™s a fascinating story, compiled partly from a couple of interesting ways Iâ€™ve heard other people have proposed, and partly from my imagination.
Admittedly, at first, I felt a little awkward telling a bold-faced lie to people. But as I reminded myself of the greater good it served, my conscience was gradually set at ease. My false proposal story has brought a lot of joy to people over the years, and I canâ€™t help but feeling an inner peace and satisfaction knowing that my lie has touched othersâ€™ lives for good.
So donâ€™t forget to ask me sometime about my most embarrassing moment. I canâ€™t promise it will be true, but I can assure youâ€™ll be entertained.