Dear U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch:

First, our heartfelt apology. If you haven’t already, you’re about to receive a request from our governor, Paul LePage, that you’ll probably dismiss at first glance as some kind of poorly executed high school prank.

It isn’t. You see, Madame AG, our governor is crazy as a loon.

What’s worse, he’s a compulsive liar.

And now he wants you, of all people, to bail him out of his latest whopper.

I know. You’re a busy woman. But please, hear me out. I think you can actually be of assistance here.

The story, in a nutshell, goes like this:

Three weeks ago, at one of his tell-it-like-it-isn’t town hall meetings, LePage regaled the crowd with the tale of a junior at Deering High School in Portland who overdosed on heroin three times in one week and was revived with the lifesaving drug Narcan all three times.

“And the third one, he got up and went to class,” LePage claimed. “He didn’t go to the hospital. He didn’t get checked out. He was so used to it he just came out of it and went to class.”

It never happened. The governor made it up.

This week, under pressure from Portland legislators to man up and apologize for maligning the state’s largest city and one of its high schools, LePage went on public radio and instead dug himself in deeper.

“It turns out it was one shot in the school and two shots outside,” he said, saying he got the story from a school resource officer. “And now they’re denying that. So what we’re going to do is, I’m thinking of calling this afternoon, trying to get ahold of the Attorney General Lynch and ask for her investigative arm to come up and look at the school systems in Maine. … I think it’s time maybe we start investigating our schools.”

Geez, Madame AG, do you really have an “investigative arm” that you can actually detach and dispatch, just like that, to faraway Maine?

Or was LePage referring to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which last time I checked already has offices in Portland and Bangor?

Either way, as Maine Public Radio moderator Jennifer Rooks asked the governor, “What would be the federal issue that they would be looking at?”

“Well, it’s a law enforcement issue,” LePage replied. “I think it’s … it’s not being transparent. I can’t be told … I’m suspect now that I’ve been told there were some drugs in the school and now they’re saying, ‘No, that’s fabricated.’ It’s not fabricated. This is an actual conversation I had. The police chief was even in the room.”

Sounds a little rattled, doesn’t he? It’s what happens when a lie starts to unravel and the compulsive liar, rather than simply fess up, starts to backpedal … and backpedal … until finally he trips over himself and lands in a pile of sentence fragments and sharply conflicting assertions. Not pretty.

But back to LePage’s request that you loan Maine your investigative arm. Honestly, Madame AG, there’s no need for it.

Portland’s acting school superintendent, its police chief, a high school principal and a school resource officer all say Gov. LePage took an anecdote set in a local park – no school, no student – and twisted it into something not rooted in reality.

Trust us, Madame AG, it’s not the first time he’s turned the truth into a pretzel.

As documented by reporter Eric Russell in Tuesday’s Portland Press Herald, LePage once claimed that Maine students had to take a special placement exam before they could apply to The College of William & Mary.

Not true.

He once insisted that a wind turbine at the University of Maine at Presque Isle ran on a “little electric motor that turns the blades.”

Wrong again.

He even alleged that Bangor-based author Stephen King, whose love for this state puts LePage to shame, spends most of his time in Florida to avoid paying Maine income taxes.

Lie about Stephen King? Who does that?

So what’s wrong with this guy?

I think he has a textbook case of “pseudologia fantastica,” which is a fancy name for pathological lying.

I came across an article about it in the The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, which describes the core characteristics of pseudologia fantastica, or PF, thusly:

“While the theme of lies can be stereotyped or varied in nature, they are almost always dazzling or fantastical, and often develop into a complicated system of deception. The imaginative fluency of the lies tends to capture public attention, at least in the short term. The lies must keep a certain reference to reality, and though they are often unlikely, they are not beyond the realm of possibility (e.g., ‘I communicate with aliens’). Under close scrutiny the lies can often be easily discredited, and for this reason the lying in PF is frequently noted to be destructive to the liar.”

Now, I’m sure, Madame AG, that you come across pathological liars all the time in your line of work. First as a federal prosecutor and now as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, you can probably spot one of these bozos a mile – or even 600 miles – away.

So rather than investigate Maine’s high schools for surreptitious (not to mention totally fictitious) Narcan resurrections, you could truly help us out here by sending us two simple items from your surplus equipment stockpile:

A portable polygraph machine and an ankle bracelet.

Deering High School, you see, is home to a ton of bright, innovative young minds.

The way I figure it, their top science class could easily retrofit the polygraph for easy attachment to Gov. LePage every time he goes out to speak in public.

At the same time, the kids could run a small electrical current from the polygraph to the ankle bracelet so that every time LePage tells a tall one, he gets zapped. Nothing painful, mind you – just enough to make him reflexively hop off the ground, a silent signal to his audience that he just wandered off into fantasy land.

In a perfect world, Madame AG, Gov. LePage eventually would modify his behavior (like the lab rats do), stick to the truth and stop having to borrow your investigative arm.

But as you and I both know, this is anything but a perfect world.

So we might as well be entertained.


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