Danielle Ariano is not a fictional character. Nor is Danielle Ariano a fiction writer. She is just a girl who likes to write about things that happen to her or to other people. Sometimes the way that she writes about the things that happen to her or to other people resembles the way that a fiction writer would write about a fictional situation, but Danielle Ariano assures you that this is not fiction; this is nonfiction-fiction because all nonfiction is fiction. Danielle Ariano assures you that if you read this nonfiction-fiction piece closely, it will reveal all kinds of true things about Danielle Ariano. This assurance should make you feel better because Danielle Ariano is not a liar. In fact, most people think that Danielle Ariano couldn’t tell a lie if her life depended on it. Once, Danielle Ariano applied to the Delaware State Troopers and she made it all the way through the application process—through the part where she had to run and do sit ups and even through the part where they interviewed her and asked her how she would handle all kinds of made up situations, but then she failed the lie detector test. The reason she failed the lie detector test was because she lied during the test. Actually, she had to take the test twice because the first time the results were inconclusive, which meant that she almost fooled a lie detector test, which she supposes could mean that she might actually be a really, really good liar, but then she failed the second time. Conclusively, she failed, which meant that her hopes of becoming a state trooper were dashed, which was probably, ultimately a good thing, because Danielle Ariano doesn’t really like driving. In fact, she hates driving and troopers have to do a lot of it because that’s what they do. She also doesn’t like confrontation, which is another reason why it’s probably a good thing that she failed that test because if she’d passed she’d have to confront a whole lot of people about why they’d done bad things like speed or drive drunk or worse. When Danielle Ariano was applying to be a state trooper she’d told herself that she’d get over the parts of the job that she didn’t like, like the driving and the confronting because she’d figured that she’d get used to doing something she didn’t completely love, because she’d gotten used to doing a lot of other things that she didn’t completely love over the course of her lifetime, like taking out the trash or doing the laundry or listening to the guy she worked with who often told her the same stories the same stories the same stories again and again because he couldn’t remember that he’d already told her the same story the same story the same story and she was too polite to interrupt him and tell him that he’d already told the story to her on three different occasions. Also, Danielle Ariano thought that if she were a state trooper maybe one day she’d get to fly a helicopter, which seemed like a lot of fun and Danielle Ariano had always believed that having fun could make doing things that she might not have completely loved much more tolerable. The thing Danielle Ariano lied about during her lie detector test was the drugs she’d used in her life. The reason she lied was because she’d tried mushrooms once in college and mushrooms were on the list of drugs that led to automatic disqualification if you were applying to be a state trooper or any other kind of cop. Danielle Ariano knew this because she had a friend who was a cop. She also knew this because before she’d moved to Delaware, she had once started the application process for the Maryland State Police, and she had told them the truth about her drug use on an initial evaluation sheet. After telling the truth, they asked her to write a letter explaining the circumstances surrounding her use of mushrooms. In the letter she told them that she’d been young and dumb and that she’d tried mushrooms once, just to see what they were like, which was true. What she didn’t tell them was that she’d put them on a cheese sandwich the way that you’d put lettuce and tomato on a cheese sandwich, and then she’d gobbled them down. She also didn’t tell them that after she ate the mushrooms she’d ridden down to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor with some guys who had also eaten mushrooms and that they’d spent the day oohing and aahing over every little thing they saw, especially the Imax movie about whales that they’d gone to see at the Science Center. Another thing that Danielle Ariano didn’t tell them was that while she’d been tripping on mushrooms, she’d thought that she understood everything about everything in a way that she’d never understood anything about anything ever before, but then when it was all over she couldn’t remember any of what she’d understood so deeply and profoundly and it had always seemed slightly tragic to her, the way that she had felt all the secrets of the universe unlock only to have lost sight of them afterwards in a cloud of sobriety. Danielle Ariano also did not tell them that she often wondered why things couldn’t seem as beautiful without mushrooms as they had with mushrooms, but even with all the things that Danielle Ariano didn’t tell them, the Maryland State Police rejected her after she’d sent that letter, and that was when she first found out that applicants could try all sorts of other drugs but not hallucinogenic drugs because hallucinogenic drugs supposedly stayed in your system for life and anyone who had ever tried a hallucinogen, even once, was a liability too big for the police department to take on. So during the lie detector test for the Delaware State Police, Danielle Ariano admitted to having smoked pot on a number of occasions, which she had, but she lied about the one time she had used mushrooms and she almost lied well enough to fool a lie detector test, but not quite. Danielle Ariano knows now that she would’ve been an awful state trooper, that she probably would’ve hated the job, what with the driving and the confronting and probably with the shooting if she’d ever had to do that. Danielle Ariano isn’t entirely sure that she could ever shoot someone. She supposes she could if she had to, if it were a shoot or be shot type of situation, but she isn’t entirely sure. She’d killed a couple of things in her life: bugs, of course, and also a lizard that had bitten her finger and sent her into a deep panic during which she’d flailed her arms around wildly until the small lizard flew off and tried to scurry away at which point Danielle Ariano stepped on it and then dragged her foot across the concrete, something for which Danielle Ariano had felt a great deal of remorse, so much so that she’d once written a terrible essay about her remorse. Danielle Ariano had also killed her best friend’s pet frog when she’d accidentally left it in a coffee can on a hot summer day. When she’d come back for the frog, it was turned over on its back and its legs looked crispy and dry, the way you might want them to look if you were going to eat them. Danielle Ariano had felt some remorse over the frog but not as much remorse as she’d felt over the lizard because she hadn’t meant to kill the frog but she definitely, definitely meant to kill the lizard. Danielle Ariano never wrote a terrible essay about that dead frog, but she did go to a pet store with her mother where she bought her friend a new frog, but only after she’d told him what had happened to the old frog, even though he probably would’ve never known if she hadn’t told him and she’d just put the new frog in the tank and pretended that the new frog was the old frog the way they did on T.V. sitcoms, but she didn’t do that. There were probably a few other things that Danielle Ariano killed that she cannot remember, probably some fish or something small for which she felt no remorse but she can’t really remember, and the point is that she’s not really good at killing, which maybe means she would’ve been a great state trooper because you don’t want troopers who are great or even good at killing, but Danielle Ariano doesn’t think she would’ve been a great trooper, she suspects that she probably would’ve hated it, but she still sometimes wonders whether she would have been able to deal with hating it as long as she got to fly a helicopter. Danielle Ariano still thinks that flying a helicopter would be fun enough to make up for a good bit of misery. Another reason it was probably a good thing that Danielle Ariano didn’t become a state trooper was because shortly after failing her lie detector test, she met the love of her life. Danielle Ariano had never been able to call anyone the love of her life until she met the love of her life and after that it had been easy, but the love of Danielle Ariano’s life lived in Maryland (not Delaware) exactly 3.4 miles away from where her mother lived in Maryland (not Delaware) which is pertinent because the love of Danielle Ariano’s life was something of a momma’s girl and being a momma’s girl, the love of Danielle Ariano’s life would never have moved away from her mother, to whom she spoke every day, sometimes twice, which is why it was a good thing that Danielle Ariano didn’t pass her lie detector test for the Delaware State Police because as it turned out, Danielle Ariano hated long distance relationships. She especially hated talking on the phone, which was sort of a necessity if you were going to engage in a long distance relationship, unless of course you were technologically savvy in which case you might use FaceTime or Skype but Danielle Ariano had never been technologically savvy, so Danielle Ariano would’ve had to either quit her job so that she could move to Maryland to be with the love of her life or stay in a long distance relationship, which probably would’ve never worked with her hatred of the phone and such or she might’ve had to throw her hands up in the air and walk away from the love of her life and chalk it all up to bad timing, but as you know by now, after reading this essay and reading the 54 truths contained in this essay by Danielle Ariano about Danielle Ariano, who is not a liar, at least not a good enough liar to fool a lie detector test, walking away from the love of her life is just not the kind of thing that Danielle Ariano would do. You know this, or you think you know this because you have almost finished reading this essay by Danielle Ariano about Danielle Ariano and maybe you should feel like you know this because Danielle Ariano is not a liar but Danielle Ariano wants you to know, that despite what you may or may not think you know, you actually know nothing or next to nothing about her. The reason you know nothing or next to nothing about her is because people are so vast and big and so much more than the sum of the things they’ve done or the things they might remember to tell you in an essay that may or may not be true, so rest assured that you know nothing or at best, very little and if you think about it you will know that this is true because it’s hard enough to know yourself, who you’re with every second of every day and if it’s hard enough to know yourself, who you’re with every second of every day, it’s goddamn impossible to know another person, even if you’re with that person every second of every day, which we all know is impossible, but if it were possible, you still couldn’t know them because you couldn’t be in them and that’s why we have wars, because nobody can understand anybody, but everybody thinks they understand somebody. True story.
About Danielle: Danielle Ariano is a writer and cabinetmaker who lives in Lutherville, Maryland with her wife and their two Golden retrievers. Her first book, Getting Over the Rainbow, is available on her website.