If there’s one thing that characterized a ’90s childhood, it was lies. In an age before Google could pretty much debunk any false claim, kids took turns one-upping each other’s bullshit just to seem cooler, richer, or both, than everyone else in school.
Of course, the advent of the Internet made our teenage years even doubly angst-ridden. Not only did we have to contend with hormones and crippling insecurity, we had to find out that our classmate did not really see the Gokongwei snake-child lurking in the basement of Robinson’s Galleria.
Takeshi’s Castle for Nintendo
Takeshi’s Castle was a Japanese game show that was pretty much a video game brought to life. Which made the release of a Takeshi’s Castle for the FamiCom a foregone conclusion and the source of several years of anguished envy.
A classmate said that he got one for Christmas and tortured me for weeks with stories about the various challenges that he had to play through.
He never let me borrow the game overnight–or at all–and he never really gave proof of its existence, but I spent many sad nights playing my sad, sad 32-in-1 ready to trade my immortal soul for a copy of the game.
Years later, Amazon, Ebay and Sulit proved Mike Tagasa (Ateneo Grade School ’95) a liar, but not before said immortal soul was traded. Luckily, not even the devil could find a copy of the game, making the contract null and void.
Dino Riders Ice Age (Real Ice Included)
Dino Riders was a hit cartoon show-toy line with guys riding dinosaurs outfitted with lasers and rockets. So, you know, it was every boy’s wet dream come true (on the TV screen, anyway): dinosaurs and high-tech weaponry. That may have been an exaggeration, we were incapable of wet dreams at the time. But still, these things were pretty cool.
Of course, dinosaurs eventually met their end when the Ice Age came, or when the fundamentalists denied their existence, whichever came first. And so, Dino Riders: Ice Age was born.
Because mammals were not as bad-ass as dinosaurs, the new toys had an awesome, awesome base that had real ice…that really melted. This, at least, was what one neighborhood kid said. Disregarding the physics of the thing, it was still pretty impressive. And fucking false.
The Ultimate Warrior pops a vein
Not having any real use for newspapers, I guess we pretty much made up current events as we went along.
Take for example the classic match between Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior. Someone somewhere claimed to have seen the actual match where Ultimate Warrior died when he popped a vein trying to body slam Andre.
This was gospel truth to everyone else who didn’t have cable or the Far East Network because that bit of news could easily have been blocked by government censors in their campaign to stifle kick-assery. Our president was a mother herself, so, you know, it was possible.
Andre the Giant died years later, while Ultimate Warrior is still alive. Although he’s not much of an ultimate in anything now. So, I guess President Aquino wasn’t part of some Anti-Wrestling Agenda after all.
Far East Network
The Far East Network (FEN) was a TV and radio network that served the American bases in Clark and Subic, and was allegedly the source of awesome wrestling shows (read: NOT Glorious Ladies of Wrestling) and soft-core porn.
Everyone at our school claimed to have FEN on their sets, which you could supposedly get by turning your TV antenna (what’s that?) a certain number of degrees in some vague direction and then fiddling with your TV’s v-hold.
While FEN actually existed in areas close to the American bases, personal experiments proved fruitless in getting a signal in Manila.
Which does not mean that it was a lie, per se, but the supposed method to get access was definitely bogus. It’s just as likely that everyone else was lying just to keep up appearances.
Dolphins in the pool
My girlfriend’s classmate once bragged that she had dolphins in her pool. Now, this was before things like environmental awareness and bullshit meters, so this was not impossible. It is also not impossible that they died from all the chlorine in the water or from the boredom of seeing nothing but tiles all day.
A similar story was told by a classmate at around the time the dolphin show came to Manila. Apparently, his parents were the organizers of the event, so the dolphins stayed with them on their days off. Personally, I would rather go to the mall or something on my days off, but that may be why dolphins are not the dominant species and why I am so poor.
Years later, I met a mountaineer who claimed to have eaten both dolphins and babies. They supposedly taste the same. Being a mountaineer, I didn’t know whether this was true or not. Since this was in college when the world was more enlightened, it was a pretty douchebag thing to say even as a joke.
You made Mother Mary cry
In a heated argument, one grade school kid in my school supposedly cursed at another kid. Cursee was able to dodge the tangina mo, though, so it hit the statue of the Virgin Mary behind him instead.
This supposedly made the statue weep real tears.
This being the Philippines, it was not at all impossible, and maybe that was the last straw in a decade filled with French nuclear tests, the Vizconde Massacre and the Metro Manila Film Fest scam.
Everyone in my grade claimed to have seen it. Much like class picture day, I guess I never got the memo.
If memory serves, this caused a minor media circus and a forced our headmaster to come out with a letter to parents about the non-incident.
It’s easy to shrug it off now, but take into account that the kid that supposedly did the cursing never made it to our high school. True story.
A friend’s classmate once told her of getting a chance to ride in a kangaroo’s pouch.
Despite being the daughter of the late Dr. Raymundo “Doc PB” Punongbayan, debonair scientist, said friend fell for it.
Thusly,her belief in the goodness of man was shattered horribly.Vowing never to be fooled again, she put all her trust in science and devoted her life to the study of the rational and provable.
She would rarely, if ever, laugh again.
While lies to impress were pretty normal in the ’90s, it seems they weren’t universal. A friend from the Xavier School (for Extraordinarily Rich Humans) had this to say, “I don’t remember (any lies), because those Chinese didn’t have to lie about what they had.”
What about you, Indolent reader? What terrible lies were you told by your friends? What terrible lies have you told to impress your friends?