America Is A Big-Ass Alternative Fact

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first time I lied on my dick was the summer between 5th and 6th grade, when realizing that lying about the dispossession of my virginity to impress veteran non-virgins and fellow rising sixth graders (and, more than likely, fellow liars) Aaron Ray and Anthony Allen was much easier than finding a willing partner to attempt to have sex with.


We were all playing Contra on the Nintendo attached to the television in my bedroom. Well, I was playing Contra while Aaron and Anthony were playing H.O.R.S.E. on the Nerf basketball hoop above my closet door and talking about girls they had apparently fucked. I don't remember many specifics about their stories, but I do remember Aaron pausing mid-conversation to reach into his pocket and pull out what I then thought was a packet of Oodles of Noodles beef seasoning but later learned was a condom. (Maybe Aaron was telling the truth after all.)

I forgot exactly how the conversation between Aaron and Anthony segued to "It's your turn now, Damon, to tell us about the girls you've boned." But it did. And since I didn't possess any stories to tell, but did possess an inappropriately active imagination and a pamphlet about Pittsburgh Park pavilion peak rental times, I concocted an elaborate, inconceivable, and literally impossible yarn about this girl from Homewood YMCA summer camp I fucked in the deep end of the Highland Park swimming pool in July while the counselors and lifeguards weren't paying attention. I also shared that I ejaculated quicker than I anticipated — which I hoped was self-depreciating enough to give the lie more believability.

As mentioned earlier, this was literally impossible. And there were three levels to this literal impossibility.

1. This girl from the Homewood YMCA summer camp (her name was "Keisha") did not exist. I already felt bad enough about lying, so I didn't want to compound the guilt by lying on a real actual girl I knew. Plus, there'd be no way to confirm the veracity of my claim if there was no chance Aaron or Anthony would ever meet her.

2. At this point in my life, I am a veteran sex-haver. (Yay me!) Despite this well-earned status, having sex in a pool (or a bathtub, or a really big cooler filled with lukewarm La Croix, or the Ohio River) is still quite difficult logistically. And there's no way in hell an 11-year-old me — and whomever an 11-year-old me would have convinced to have sex with him — would have been able to pull that off.

3. I could not (and still can not) swim.

To my surprise, neither Aaron nor Anthony appeared to question my truth. Aaron actually stopped mid-H.O.R.S.E. to dap me up and gave me a condom from his seemingly bottomless reservoir of pocket-stored prophylactics. (Which, again, I thought was a packet of Oodles of Noodles beef seasoning. I was very confused about why Aaron seemed so concerned about the spice level of my Ramen. But when trying to sell a convincing lie about fucking, you don't ask questions about food.)


Encouraged by the success of the lie, I continued lying on my dick for the next six years; inventing and crafting increasingly elaborate narratives and sagas about sexual escapades until I eventually got around to actually having sex. It was a no-brainer. I had no apparent incentive to be honest, the culmination of lies made telling the truth exponentially more difficult, and the buffer the lies provided me shielded me from having to conquer or even acknowledge the fears I possessed about girls. Of course, I'd realize later that the lies were self-sabotaging. Perhaps, if I would have been honest with myself and others — or, better yet, less in need of fabricating an identity — I would have been able to be less anxious and more me around girls. But lying was so fucking addictive and intoxicating. And I'd become so ensconced in this artificiality that I wasn't able to abstract it from reality. It wasn't until maybe a full year or so after I started having sex that I realized that I wasn't actually lying anymore when people asked if I had. The lie had become so essential that there was no distinguishing it from the truth.

In the 75 or so hours since Donald Trump was inaugurated, both Trump himself and his representatives have done nothing but offer the America public a cascade of blatant, unabashed, and unapologetic lies. Some, like the size of inauguration, were relatively insignificant and only made significant by their shamelessness in perpetuating it. And some, like the lies Trump shared in his inaugural address — where he reimagined America as a dystopian hellscape that only he has the remedy for — are just plain fucking scary. Ironically, the only confirmed truth from this administration was KellyAnne Conway admitting that the lie about why Trump hasn't released his tax returns was, in fact, a lie. (And then, this morning, she apparently walked that truth/lie/truth/lie/truth/lie back.)


It is also Conway who coined the term "alternative facts." Which we've all had quite a bit of fun with, as there has never been a more apt way to encapsulate this president, his administration, and his supporters. The entire alt-right movement, in fact, is constructed on alt-facts, and their leader — their president — is essentially an 11-year-old creating plush and labyrinthine portraits of his singular prowess, convincing those who are barely paying attention of his truth, and pretending to fuck people who don't exist while jerking off into his tiny hands.

Possession of these qualities would seem to make Donald Trump unfit to be our President. But another way of looking at it — an alternative fact! — is that this makes him specifically qualified. Our entire foundation is built on the alternative fact. We were founded and led by great and preternaturally just and principled men who owned other humans being as slaves, which makes their greatness and justness and principles alternative facts. The Constitution? An alternative fact. The Bill of Rights? More alternative facts on top of a previously cooked batch of alternative facts. The concept of Whiteness? An alternative fact. Our laws — well, the arbitrary application and enforcement of these laws? Alternative facts. The wars we're currently fighting? Based on alternative facts. Our nation's belief that we're a singular force for justice and rightness and decency and duty? An alternative fact. In fact, you can argue that Donald Trump is the Americanest President America has ever Americaed. He is the supreme distillation of century's worth of alternative facts; congealed and culminating into an alternative fact Neo.


No lies were told here today. Except, of course, the lie that the truth fucking matters.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Damon, you knew dudes who were potentially phecking as rising 6th graders? All I know is if one of my kids think they're boning anything (beyond up on those math skills) at that age and I find out…

Jesus be a fence. And I'm a Jew.