Well, as I said I would, I let Bob break the news to my father about the truck, and unfortunately he chose to go with the "We were cut off, and couldn't get a plate number" story. I was really hoping he'd opt for the truth, because I hate lying, even if it is a white lie.
You may be thinking it's too big of an event to call the situation a "white lie", but to think about it, the van is still running, its wounds are ugly but cosmetic, and both accident scenarios, real and made-up, involve a single party and a guard rail on insurance papers, if we do decide to file a claim. I guess that's why Bob decided to go with it. He's known my Dad since their first day in Catholic school in the first grade, when each had accidentally worn the other's jacket home, and he can gauge his reaction to the situation better than I could. I know Bob's main intent wasn't to deceive my Dad, but it's more to keep our general circle of family, friends and co-workers from becoming a tense, paranoid clusterfuck, because that's what it very well could have become if Dad had been given the excuse of "I just put my eyes down for a second." He'd be watching all of us like a hawk. One person fucks up, and he'd be over all of our shoulders for months, which is beyond annoying, because he's a noisy breather and he's usually chewing something like an apple, cashew or piece of gum very loudly. Yes, all of our shoulders at once...I don't know how he does it, I just know he can, because he's done it before.
It'll be ten times worse if he finds out that what we told him wasn't true.
Still, that's not what bothers me the most. What bothers me is lying itself. I hate being lied to, and I hate lying to others. Even if it's a white lie like "no, those pants don't make your ass look huge," because even though you've saved that person's feelings for the moment, you've let them leave the house looking like they've got a rear end bigger than a Buick.
My Dad was so cool and understanding after Bob told him that story, that it just made it worse. Here comes the guilt and the paranoia. I realized that he may pick up on the fact that my behavior is not really acurate. If we truly had been cut off and forced into the guard rail, I'd be pacing all day long, fuming that I hadn't gotten the asshole's plate number. As it is, I just told Dad "Yeah, I didn't realize what was going on until the very last second, and still don't quite understand what happened," which is true, but still misleading, and I haven't brought it up since.
The whole explaining my point of view and then dropping it is completely out of character for me. I've been known to never let shit like that go. I should be bringing it up repeatedly for several weeks, and then again at odd times in the months that follow saying stuff like "Do you remember that asshole that made us scuff up the side of the new truck? I still can't believe he got away with it!" but I won't do it. I'm not going to build on this lie. I'm just going to have to deal with it, and hope it dissipates without incident.