Saturday, September 20, 2008


Regulars to the blog will recognize our first party gal from an interview last month. Stephanie Kuehnert is celebrating the summer release of her book I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, which has gotten rave reviews. Welcome, Stephanie!

I'm so psyched to be over here celebrating the release of Death by Latte, a book which I know I'm going to love because A. Linda Gerber is an amazing writer and B. It takes place in Seattle, my favorite city! Linda's MC Aphra lies to her dad that she's going to visit a friend when really she is going to Seattle to search for her mom. Clearly, lying to achieve a greater good and Linda asked us to tell about a time when we told one of those kinds of lies.

Personally, I've been racking my brain for days trying to remember such a lie, but it seems I've just told little white lies to protect people's feelings and then I lied a lot when I was a teen to get out of trouble. Like I told my mom that I had to go to Saturday detention because I'd been tardy a couple times and there was a computer glitch that recorded those tardies as absences. Yeah, really I was ditching class. A lot. But still managing to get straight A's, so I was saving my mom the trouble of thinking I was a delinquent. Right? But no, let's face facts, it was all for my personal gain because I didn't want to get grounded.

Then I remembered a lie for the greater good that I planned to tell, but then didn't have to because it turned out to be true. I figured that would be a good one to share. Okay, so my best friend had a kind of troubled home life in high school. She decided that to get away, she would actually ask her parents to send her to boarding school. Of course, she thought she was going to be sent to some place glamorous. Scotland was where she really wanted to go, but she would have settled for the East or West Coast. Her parents couldn't afford that, so they decided to send her to a Quaker school in Iowa. Obviously my friend balked at this. She would have been willing to say goodbye to her friends in order to escape her family if she was going some place where she'd get some culture and a real learning experience, but Iowa, not worth it. She told her parents never mind, but she'd done such a good job selling them on the boarding school idea in the first place that they'd made up her minds that it was what she needed.

She was completely miserable. We talked on the phone 6 hours a night. At first she talked to her boyfriend, too, but then he dumped her for this other chick. I never liked him anyway and thought she was too good for him, but this just made her further depressed. Seriously depressed. Like she wasn't eating and then they would force her to eat until she was sick. And she told me that sometimes she banged her head against the wall hoping she'd pass out. I could tell she was going to self-destruct. So I begged my dad to take me to visit her since it was just a four hour drive. I plotted out with my friend that once I was there for a day that I'd call her mom and tell her what a horrible place it was. My friend told me that people managed to sneak booze and get drunk a lot, so I decided I would exaggerate that and tell her mom that I'd seen someone doing serious hard drugs there, like coke or heroin. Her mom trusted me (the whole straight A's thing made up for my other delinquent tendencies to most parents) and I would use that trust and get my friend home in time to go to the Rancid concert with me the next weekend.

As it turned out, I didn't even have to tell the lie because when my friend and I were walking down to town from her school the next day, we saw some of her hallmates hanging out in the cornfields. One of them, a girl who was drunk when I met her (she said, "I'm Sasha and I'm drunk. I luuuuhve being drunk. Ya'll wanna drink Mad Dog with me?") called out to us to join them. They were smoking something that smelled totally acrid. Sasha thrust a tinfoil pipe at us and asked, "Ya'll wanna smoke some Crystal?" Crystal as in Crystal Meth.

"Uh, no," I said quickly before my friend could even ponder it in her depressed state and I dragged her away. So I didn't even have to lie to my friend's mom. And I wasn't even the only one who told her mom that my friend needed to leave immediately. As soon as my dad picked me up, I told him that we'd be offered Crystal Meth at the school and I wanted to tell my friend's mom about it. He agreed 100% and offered to speak to her too!

My friend left her boarding school four hours after I did and the next weekend we were slamming in the pit at the Rancid show. If I had had to lie, though, I would have. It probably wouldn't have been nearly as convincing as the truth was, but I would have tried because my friend needed my help.

What things have you done for friends who were in a bind? Tell us and you'll win a signed copy of my book I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, which has strong friendships―and lies to protect friends―at the heart of the story.