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MoPOP at dusk, Seattle

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fibber

I always tell the truth, even when I lie.
Tony Montana

I have mentioned that I am slowly wading through Dan Ariely's book on dishonesty. Interesting read, believe it or not.

And wouldn't you know it, being the political season and all, lying is big news these days. Ben Carson is insisting he once tried to whack his friend or his mother, forgive me if I forget which.

General Westmoreland invited the good doctor to join West Point on a free ride scholarship except that he didn't, that was merely the case of the ghost writer fleshing the memoirs out.

And not to be outdone, Ted Cruz's father didn't fight with Castro. And on and on and on. The John Edwards syndrome. Don't people realize that they are going to get publicly dissected?

Now normally I would scurry over to google and find some instances of democratic truth stretching, so as not to be accused of partisan slander but frankly I am just back from a trip, barely tolerable thank you, and don't have the energy. So if you feel pressed to even the scorecard have at it with my blessings and encouragement.

I have been thinking about the lying thing lately because honestly, I lied like a son of a bitch when I was a kid. Boy have I told some whoppers.

Like the time I told my parents I had a fish hit my line when I was seven and I didn't even have a hook on the end. Or the great dumb story I told in boarding school when I was fourteen about seeing bigfoot.

There are many more of them of course, along with an early penchant for cursing, shoplifting and misdemeanor assault and battery. But this is not Doctor Phil, so I will chill out on the personal expose stuff.

As with most little shit juvenile delinquents, somewhere along the line I had an epiphany about the merits of being honest and accountable, to the best of my ability anyway, and I straightened the hell up.

"A man says that he is lying. Is what he says true or false?"
Eubulides of Miletus

I was discussing the matter with the afternoon coffee group a few weeks ago, breaking the ice by disclosing some of my most egregious whoppers and asked them to recount a few of their own. Guess what? None of the group, male or female had ever told a lie in their entire life.

Well, one gentleman who shall remain nameless due to statute of limitations concerns, stole someone's lumber in his red wagon once, in order to make a fort, although I am not so sure that that constitutes an outright lie. Everybody else, positively saintly. I felt so dirty amongst these hallowed souls.

But the more I have pondered the matter the little use I have for individuals who are not capable of a truth stretch or two in opportune circumstances. Sometimes lying is called for, damnit.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/eqn/the_useful_idea_of_truth/


For instance, your wife, paramour or girlfriend says,"How do I look in this dress, honey?", perhaps the honest truth is that her ass looks the collective width of the Green Bay Packers offensive line in this particular skirt.

Should you mention that? Fuck no you don't mention it, the right answer is "Babycakes, those culottes look like they were custom made for your statuesque body and profile, you are second to none in the beauty department and are you sure you aren't losing too much weight?

Or the nazis are pounding on your door and want to know if you are harboring any jews or subversives? You going to say yes?

The truth does no one any good in these sort of hypothetical scenarios. You must be capable of selling a lie and occasional palter. Truth is one thing, but don't be a sap.



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