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Is your name really Tape Recorder?
This week’s episode of Louie was pretty spectacular, and this moment reminded me of a similar conversation I had with a similar girl. In this scene, Parker Posey tells Louis that her name is Tape Recorder, and she’s clearly fucking with him, but she’s so intense and manic that she sells the bit until he believes it, only to undercut him when he seems to be sympathetic about it. Now, she had JUST told him a harrowing true story of a childhood illness, so he was pretty much on the hook to believe anything she told him. When he realizes that she’s pulling his leg, it brought back such a vivid memory for me.
I was a junior in college, hanging out with my friend Bree. She was the most unpredictable person I’d ever met. She’d lie, steal, play pranks, and she was the funniest people at my school. She also had uncharacteristic moments of honesty that she’d let slip out, and if you were privy to them, you felt like the luckiest person in the world. And she was just adorable enough to get away with anything.
One day, Bree started a rumor that she was actually a seventeen year old genius and former competitive figure skating phenom. She cooked up an elaborate story about how she’d advanced through high school on some accelerated program or something. I’m sure the exact details are more clever than the broad strokes, but my memory is failing me. All I remember is that she convinced a few friends of ours about this, and I was so enamored with the story when I found out.
After I’d heard that she’d fooled a mutual friend, she and I were sitting on my bed in my dorm room. I remember having some long conversation with her and slipping in at some point that I knew she had fooled this guy. I told her, “that’s pretty hilarious that he believed you, by the way.” She stopped and turned to me, not in shock, but with slight confusion. “Believed me about what?” She genuinely looked like she didn’t know what I was talking about. “You know, the figure skating thing,” I replied.
Now, at this point, I wish I had video of the conversation. She blinked a few times and got pretty quiet. “What are- wait what did he tell you?” She really seemed concerned about this, and didn’t indicate that she was kidding. “Come on,” I protested. “I know you started that rumor that you were some sort of skating genius and that you’re like four years younger than you are. I can’t believe you convinced him. It’s fucking impressive.”
After that she just started to slowly lose it. “No, no, no. I didn’t want-” She trailed off and tears were starting to form at the corners of her eyes. Real deal, shameful tears. I couldn’t believe it. This girl is such a bullshit artist. There’s no way… And that’s when she collapsed on my bed and started sobbing. Big, deep sobs. Her back started to heave. Had I really struck a nerve? This girl was one of my closest friends at school and I felt instantly like I’d betrayed her trust somehow. I was so confused, but overcome with the desire to protect my friend. I put my hand on her back to comfort her, and that’s when her sobs turned into huge, hysterical belly laughs.
She sat up quickly and pointed at me, her cheeks wet with fake tears. “AAAAH HAHAHAHA! YOU IDIOT!” I had to admit, she got me, and I should never have believed her in the first place. But I wanted to, so I did.
I know how you feel, Louis.