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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Bright spotlight has exposed deception

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

There's an old saying about telling a lie. It says if you're going to tell a lie you might as well make it a big one because people will believe a big lie easier than a small one. That warped logic was not lost on a Missouri couple who concocted a tale of sextuplets to help gain donations for their mounting financial crisis. After all, if you're going to lie, make it a big one!

Sarah and Kris Everson announced in early March that they had just become parents of six newborns - four boys and two girls. The babies remained in some unnamed hospital getting care - so the Eversons told the public. They even had their photos made with six tiny baby outfits and proudly displayed photos of an obviously pregnant Sarah Everson.

Of course the story was a complete hoax. No sextuplets, not even one baby. No mysterious hospital where they were receiving care. Just a plea to the public to assist them financially with their sudden burden of six newborns. And the money and gifts indeed began to flow.

A newspaper was fooled into the hoax and an Associated Press writer was on the verge of announcing the miracle to the world. Then the lie unraveled.

The Eversons claimed absolute secrecy because of yet another lie about a family member who wished them and their newborns harm.

It took police about a hour of questioning before the couple conceded that the entire tale was a hoax. They have yet to offer an explanation for their lie except the obvious benefits of receiving gifts and money for a new family that actually existed only in their minds.

Their Web site soliciting donations has been removed. The Eversons are not talking to the press. And a newspaper reporter is in trouble with his boss for not checking the facts more closely.

A fancy tale about triplets would have probably received the same attention. But the Eversons are probably not the sharpest knives in the drawer so why settle for triplets when you can have sextuplets? Sounds good to me.

There's a story here beyond the obvious. Stupid people tend to do stupid things. Let's assume for the moment that the Eversons are stupid. You probably won't find too much argument with that assessment. But it does make you wonder what goes through a person's mind at the very beginning, when the lie is first conceived. Did they not imagine that perhaps one day, someone might actually be interested in seeing these six bundles of joy? Did they not imagine that someone, somewhere, someday would actually check with a hospital to learn of the details of such a spectacular birth?

The Eversons - or anyone for that matter - can lie about anything they choose. Under most circumstances, there's no law against lying. But someone should have told the couple that the bigger the lie, the brighter the spotlight. In this case, the Eversons took an early lead in the Dumb Duo of the Year award.

And right now, their lie will be hard to top.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen