OK, we’ve all bent the truth a little. You know the sort of thing I mean: retelling the story not quite as it happened, but as it ought to have happened. That snappy one-liner you thought of as you walked out the door? Edit it in. (or if, indeed, you walked into the doorframe instead, edit that out). But here’s a top tip – wait until you’re telling the story to someone who wasn’t actually there at the time. That way you might get away with it.
Take yesterday morning when a girl got on my train with her mobile clamped to her ear, and proceeded to ruin everyone’s journey by giving some poor Vodafone call centre operative a piece of her mind. It seems she hadn’t paid her bill and was objecting to having her phone cut off. She had a couple of companions with her and every time she got put on hold, she proceeded to relay to them the conversation she’d just had, only with all her lines made much snappier, and a few new ones chucked in for good measure. So ‘Well, I work nine to five and there isn’t a Barclays bank near me so I can’t get down there today’, became ‘So I said to her, I have got a job you know, you tell me how I’m going to get to a Barclays.’ Presumably in her head that’s what she actually did say. Instead of just what she wished she had.
Of course, neither of her friends called her on it, just made all the appropriate noises (oh dear, yes you tell them, gosh how terrible, poor you) and went back to ignoring her as far as that was possible. It was left to me stand up in the middle of the carriage and, to the applause of the assembled passengers, announce that she was a self-aggrandising toe-rag who should just pay her phone bill when she gets it and not make the rest of us suffer. I was then carried off at shoulder height in triumph and given the freedom of the city. Or I would have been, had I not only just thought of it just now.