When you like to talk as much as I do, you can rapidly (and accidentally!) enter some dangerous territory in terms of your conversation topics. Sometimes it’s just in the form of telling a story that really didn’t go anywhere, or telling a joke that really didn’t go anywhere, or telling a joke about a girl telling a story about a bus that didn’t go anywhere (ba dum chh), but sometimes a person can get so wrapped up in the art of running their mouth that a secret or two just pops out, and boom, trouble’s afoot. Cartoon characters have it easy, because they can easily grab the slip-up in mid-air and cram it back in their mouths before anyone actually notices that they made a verbal boo-boo, but the rest of us have to either keep talking and hope no one caught our little mishap, or own up to it and get ready for a stream of explanations and apologies to whomever the secret was about. I really don’t try to do this, it just happens! You’ve done worse, I’m sure, like that time you…JUST KIDDING.
On the other hand, there are certain skeletons in my closet that won’t see the light of day for quite some time. Five years, to be exact. You see, while some classified info goes into my mental file cabinet without it’s “Do Not Repeat!” tag, other stuff is highlighted, strung with Christmas lights, and practically set on fire to remind me that it is a major hush-hush topic. I invented the Five Year Secret because was trying to prematurely bail myself out. I figure whatever it is that was done/said won’t hold much importance to whoever it could potentially offend five years after the fact, so it provides a nice buffer for me to forget entirely (thus, avoiding the issue altogether) or we can all share a hearty giggle about our ridiculous selves a half-decade ago.
Let’s discuss which hypothetical secrets that I have zero knowledge about or connection to at all serve as perfect candidates for the Five Year Secret:
Hooking up with a friend’s boyfriend: If you’re a true bitch, you do this type of thing on the daily and therefore could not care less whether or not you’re “friend” finds out about your dismissively slutty behavior. The rest of the world has Jiminy Cricket sitting on their shoulder screaming “Whooore!” right into their ear. Hopefully if this happens, it was an accident, a one-time thing, and you went home and immediately threw up from the guilt. Ideally, you would tell the friend from the get-go, get the fight over with, and go back to being BFF’s at least a week later (Yes, that long. You hooked with her boyfriend ya skank!). However, if you choose to keep it to yourself, you have no choice but to initiate the FYS. The longer you wait, the more the phrases “Why didn’t you tell me?!” and “How could you do that to me?!” will be thrown around in progressively screechier tones, so it’s best to let the entire situation ride itself out. Five years from now, she will inevitably have another boyfriend and your indiscretion can be chalked up to immaturity, and you two can joke about what a loser he was while your little part in the whole ordeal slides under the radar. If you don’t see it going your way, add a year. Or two. Or just make the bed you lie in and stop inviting other people’s boo thangs in there with you.
· Let the record show that I do not condone this type of behavior, and I would recommend that you tell your friend that she is dealing with a horribly conniving prostitute friend as well as an inconsiderate, deceitful douchebag of a boyfriend. It sucks, but as a gal pal, so do you.
Hitting someone’s car: [Assuming no one saw it happen,] regardless of if it was your mom’s SUV while you were pulling out of the driveway or a random stranger’s convertible in the mall parking lot, if you caused significant damage, you keep your mouth shut. These things are very easy to get yourself out of without getting into deep trouble. In the mom’s car situation, all you have to do is quietly drive yourself to a random destination, wait a few minutes, conjure up a wobbly voice and some tears, and call her up with a story about how “Someone must have slammed into it and just driven away while you were in [church/homeless shelter/donating bone marrow/feeding starving ducks] and they didn’t even leave a note!” You’re automatically in the clear, and the imaginary jerk is suddenly the subject of your mom’s scorn. In the mall parking lot, the only option you have is to peel out of there as quickly and stealthily as humanly possible. Some people might think these measures are a little excessive and that five years might be unnecessarily long for something so miniscule, but those people have A) never met my mom’s wrath and B) have never had to pay $2000 for scratching a brand new Lexus parked outside of Subway. After keeping the FYS, your mom probably won’t be able to distinguish an old dent/scratch from a new one, and the poor fella at the mall will have let go of his grudge and learned to park his car in a wide open spot rather than right on the line. Your depth perception might also improve over this time…
Hazing activities: We’ve all heard the myth that in order to initiate into a frat, guys will have to have sex with a goat. We haven’t? Well your eyes just got opened WIDE, didn’t they? Anyway, whether you had to remake the scene from Clerks 2, chug a das boot full of your fellow pledges’ urine, circle jerk, or anything else even remotely homoerotic to prove your allegiance to “the brotherhood,” it’s probably in your best interest to keep it on the DL until you’re out of undergrad. Sure, prospective employers whose connection you received through your fraternity will have allegedly gone through the same thing and will understand your pain, but bros can discuss a lot of ridiculous college events, and jacking off your pledge brother in the darkness of the chapter room is not one of them. This will probably be hilarious to reminisce about after five years, given that Brian didn’t develop some weird bestiality fetish, Greg didn’t get a horrible throat infection from his “cock”tail, and Justin didn’t come out of the closet. What fun would a FYS be without some extra surprises?
Peeing your pants after age 9: You should never admit to this. Not five years later, not ten years later, never. Even if people were there to witness it, vehemently deny it. This is right up there with kissing an ugly person and once having an extra toe; it just didn’t happen. Let’s practice:
“Hey, didn’t you pee your pants in Macy’s once?”
“Nope, not me.”
“What’s up Professor Pee Pee Pants?”
*Look around confused to see who they’re referring to*
“Remember that time you…”
“NO I DO NOT.”
Billy Madison had it completely wrong: you AIN’T cool if you pee your pants. You just ain’t.
There are countless scenarios where the Five Year Secret is far superior to telling the truth. If you don't know, ask. I'm keeping so many of my own right now my brain might explode, which is pretty telling of how embarrassingly nuts my life is. Luckily, we're closing in on the secrets of 16/17-year-old Skylar, so a huge load will be lifted off of my shoulders soon. And depending on how understanding everyone is, a few friends might be lifted off my shoulders as well. Stay tuned!