Bending reality as if it’s your job. Because you don’t have another job.

“We need to see other people.”

Because 2/3 of the words in this sentence are monosyllabic, their meaning is obvious. (Short words are too brief to hide a lie!) Only the phrase “other people” harbors double meanings. Your partner may be saying “people,” but he actually means the opposite of people. He is hinting that you should get a pet, preferably together. This pet is best given as a gift, and as a surprise. How surprised your beloved will be!

Caitlin CavenCaitlin Caven holds a BA in Anthropology, writes weekly for, got some jokes printed in Psychology Today, and briefly edited and translated for French music blog La Blogotheque. Her hobbies include sitting in cafes and begging her houseplants not to crumble to dust in her hands. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her twenty-five imaginary cats.

Editor: Saad Shaheed

“I’m sorry, but we have to cut our creative team in half.”

Recite this sentence while walking around your desk in a counterclockwise motion. Which foot did you end on? Your left? Your left foot is controlled by your right brain, which is the center of creativity. Of course! Your boss may be saying one thing, but her hidden message says something else: The less your contemporaries appreciate you, the more your art will be valued in the future. So just follow your heart—finally build a fort out of ham. You’ll show them.

Now is a great time to invest in that yacht.

“Oh, why can’t you be more like your brother?”

Look outside your window. How many pigeons do you see? If [total pigeons] is a prime number, your parents are acknowledging that you are successful in your own extra special way, and thus you don’t need their flimsy approval. If [total pigeons] is not prime, riches are in store. Your brother may have your parents’ “respect,” but you get their fine china. That’s right: They’re telling you that you are the only person in their will. Who’s Mom and Dad’s favorite now, Stuart?

“I didn’t say I don’t want to spend Thanksgiving with your family. I just said your family is exhausting.”

The word “exhausting” and its three-syllable cousin “Thanksgiving” collide in the air immediately after being spoken. They are self-nullifying. She doesn’t want to spend what with your family? Your family is what? She is really going to have to be more specific if she wants some of your mom’s famous Jell-O salad.

“While you were at work, I took our golden retriever, Elliott, to live with a nice farm family. I know it’s hard, but he’s happier this way.”

There is no deception here. Elliott is chasing a rabbit as we speak. He is very, very, very happy.


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