Sunday, July 26, 2015

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

I've come to suspect that everyone lies.

Oh, I know, you're sitting there thinking smugly, "I never lie, never have, never will."

Well, perhaps you're right. Perhaps, you consciously try not to lie these days, but I can almost guarantee you that you have lied at some point in your life.

Anyway, a lie is not always bad. After all, it never even made it into The Big Ten Commandments.

The fact of the matter is that sometimes a lie can be an act of great consideration for other people's feelings.

Say you run into someone whom you haven't seen for a while, and you realise that that person has gained upwards to 100 pounds. You don't give them the aghast look and say, "Good grief, how'd you get so fat?!"

No, you say, "Hey, you look great. Been working out?"

OK, you might not say that part about "working out," but I'm sure you catch my drift. Some lies are well-intentioned and really almost an act of kindness.

Let's take another example. Say that your best friend, Hortense, who is married with three children, is messing around with someone on the down low.

Now, I'm not sure what "down low" means, but I like the phrase ... kind of fits my thinking right now.

OK, well, let's say that Hortense is messing around with someone on the down low. She's meeting Big Willy, just some random guy, after work at the Motel Sex, and they're doing whatever it is you do on the down low — probably something low down, as I'm sure you can imagine.

You discover this little affair, when Hortense spills the beans and tells you all the gruesome details, including the fact that Big Willy certainly comes by his name honestly.

At first, you are embarrassed, ashamed, revolted, horny — well, who knows how you are feeling — but the thing is that Hortense swears you to secrecy. Most of all, she implores you not to tell Fabio, her husband, who, despite his name, is apparently not so fabio in bed.

Yes, I know, the irony of the three children is not escaping me. I considered changing that, but I figure, what the hell, sometimes you just have to let little things float. No, not like a dead goldfish. More like a balloon full of hot air.

"I didn't mind at first," Hortense tells you, "but I'd get tense and almost angry just before bedtime. Fabio would expect me to perform, when, really, there was so little to perform with. When I'm with Willy, my gawd, the world turns upside down."

Now, I'm not sure what she means by "upside down," but I must say, I quite like how Hortense is also being true to her name.

And so, you are faced with a dilemma. You are being asked to maintain this little charade for the sake of your best friend. And later that week, when Fabio offhandedly asks you, "Do you think Hortense is having an affair?" well what are you to do?

The honest answer is to say, "Why, yes, she's riding some Big Willy like a bull-buckin' champion in the El Paso Rodeo."

But you don't say that, do you?

Instead you say something like, "Oh, don't be ridiculous, Fabio."

Is that a lie?

It's a dodge of sorts. More importantly, it's what people call a "lie of omission." You left out the truth, even though you knew what the truth was. So you lied. Simple.

Of course, now you'll want to say to everyone here, "Sometimes a little bad can do a lot of good."

And maybe you're right. After all, you don't want to be the reason why Hortense and Fabio get a divorce. You don't want to be the one who backs a haystack of unhappiness into their driveway. After all, there are three kids (now so nicely floating by) who will be affected as well.

No, you hold back the truth because you don't want to hurt other people's feelings and possibly ruin their lives.

Most people would call that a "white lie," but I suspect we had better not call it that here. You attach "white" to anything these days, and every other race and sexual orientation will want their own colour of lie as well. Before you know it, we'll have "black lies," "mocha lies," "yellow lies," maybe even "rainbow lies."

Whatever our terminology, I must say that I support your decision to lie. You lied to protect everyone involved, including yourself, from a whole heap of heartache. After all, when the shit hits the fan, everybody gets a little stinky.

The simple fact of the matter is that we can't have people running around like a bunch of punch-drunk prophets trying to reveal the truth to everyone who might listen. We all live with a certain amount of illusion about ourselves and the people we love. Demanding the absolute truth is simply uncouth. So, we must all mind our manners. Otherwise, the world will crack like an egg on its way to becoming chiffon.

Of course, the real liar in our little scenario is Hortense herself. No matter how much you sympathize with her dilemma regarding Fabio's faucet, you have to admit that she is deceiving her husband in the worst possible way. Adultery is usually based on a whole g-string of never-ending lies. No one simply goes to his or her spouse and says, "I've decided to go and get laid by someone else, and I'll see you sometime after dinner to watch The Voice with you."

That just doesn't happen. No, there is a whole lot of sneaking around involved, a whole lot of late nights at the office or shopping trips to the Outlet Mall out on the Interstate.

Sure, it's exciting at times. Sure, it's pleasurable, especially if you use that contraption that makes the bed vibrate. Sure, it awakens all kinds of liberating and youthful sensations in your head. Sadly, however, it is also living in the heart of a lie.

And worst of all ... if you betray someone who trusts you to be monogamous, you are not only lying to that person, you are also lying to yourself. Before long, you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and see something different about yourself, something dark and vulnerable in your eyes, and something really hot burning up the crack of your ass.

Oh, that last little anguish? That would be your pants of fire.



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