You’re probably familiar with the term “little white lie.” It’s possible that you’ve even told one or two in your lifetime. At their simplest, these little misstatements of fact are harmless and could even be considered helpful if they spare someone a dose of undue pain or suffering.
But what about those little white lies gone bad, when they lead to lie heaped upon lie to the point where you’re boxed in with no escape? Many television shows and movies have been built on this premise, usually with comical results. In real life, though, these situations are not always so funny.
Consider the case of Bill Henry, an 83-year-old Floridian whose obituary last fall told of his exploits as a major league pitcher. It outlined his 16 years in the bigs, including a couple of games in the 1961 World Series. He would drag out an album of baseball cards to show friends, a cardboard shrine to his colorful past.
But none of it was true. The real baseball playing Bill Henry is still kicking around his native Texas at age 80.
How and why the Florida Bill Henry assumed his false baseball playing identity is still a mystery, even to his wife, who met him after the deaths of his first two wives and his children.
"I just took his word that that's who he was," she told the Lakeland Ledger. "I was married to somebody that maybe I didn't know."
Keep that in mind if there are little white lies lurking in your family history. It’s better to come clean now before some snoopy reporter uncovers them or your heirs are embarrassed by an erroneous obituary.