We can all learn a lesson from Manti Te’o — or at least try to

Manti Te’o, a remarkable college football star at Notre Dame, and his complex imagination have recently been under fire. The thing is that I don’t see the big problem with this. In fact, this burst of creativity is the kind of spurt most people could really use these days.

Being more of a cat and yoga kind of guy, I admit when the story first broke about  T’eo, I blew it under the rug. Brian to football is like Taylor Swift to a steady relationship — they just don’t mesh well together. But when I was told in clear detail about his fantasizing of the death of an imaginary girlfriend, I realized Te’o and I, we’re basically the same guy, except his life has been successful.

Manti  Te’o, I completely understand. I’ve done this plenty of times. I still do it every Christmas. When my family pesters me why I am perpetually alone, my “girlfriend” is “overseas with her family in Kosovo,” or “serving time for soliciting herself to an undercover officer.”

More than often I pull the inverse Te’o — instead of making up a girlfriend, I actually deny her existence to the general public.

“Why hello, beautifully proportioned waitress. Yes I will give you a ridiculously inflated tip. No, I do not have a girlfriend. Who’s this sitting next to me? My sister, of course. You saw us kiss earlier? We’re European, it’s a cultural thing. You saw us kiss extensively over the course of a minute? The deep south of Europe.”

Or perhaps I just have commitment issues.

This story reminds me a lot of old friend from high school, Steve Kneeve. Steve Kneeve was a compulsive liar, a habit that developed early in his childhood where he was raised on a potato farm with his parents and three siblings.

Steve would lie constantly out of habit and dug himself into holes that were impossible to climb out to the top. His holes just got deeper. The most remarkable trickery he ever pulled was at his job at Choo-Choo’s, a sandwich shop transformed from the caboose of an abandoned train. Don’t Google that because it has since shut down and there is no traceable evidence of its existence.

In an instance during the summer, he requested a week off to return home for his mother’s birthday. Steve forgot that he told his manager that his parents were dead. The birthday of his mother was to mourn graveside in the weeklong tradition of his religion, a branch of Islamic faith called Cthulhuism originated in the late 1700s.

His manager was a huge H.P. Lovecraft fanatic and called Steve Kneeve’s bluff on the phony religion, which Steve rebutted with, “it’s not my fault! I have epilepsy!” and fell to the floor faking a convulsion. He was promptly fired.

This was the tragic tale of Steve Kneeve’s life, until he was eaten by a pack of wild bears. Bears that invaded the treatment center where he was undergoing chemotherapy. For butt cancer. Cancer of the butt cheek.

I couldn’t go to his funeral because it was the same day as production night.

To be honest, I’m thinking of, you know, dedicating this semester to Steve Kneeve. Writing the best I can write. Just trying to do my best to help my newspaper be honest and truthful. Just like Manti Te’o.

Contact Copy Editor Brian Figurski via email at [email protected]