A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Lies perform a valuable function in our society. They keep us civilized because, without lies, fat people would be fat, stupid people would be stupid and 99% of the rest of us would be obnoxious assholes. Everybody knows that lying works on a sliding scale from “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” to “No, I didn’t shoot Mr. Brown” and we’re content to live somewhere in the middle of that moral dichotomy. Unfortunately, these days, lying is more about Mr. Brown than Mr. Claus, and it’s becoming institutionalized. This isn’t healthy. I’m not talking about politicians or journalists who have been lying to us ever since Cheops the Unwashed told the Cairo Gazette he wanted a small funeral. I’m talking about those everyday lies we all recognize and just have to live with. Here’s a small sampling.
Clothing size – The relationship between the number stamped on the label and the actual size of any article of clothing is purely coincidental. For example, my closet runs from mostly medium through large, extra large and even a few XXLs – and I’m a man. Go to a woman’s closet and you’re going to find a roulette wheel full of size numbers that would make a croupier cringe. Actually, I think that’s how clothing manufacturers determine sizes: they just spin a big wheel and whatever it lands on – “We have a winner!” — that’s the size.
Airline prices – I don’t care what the advertisement says, nobody has ever gone to San Pedro, Switzerland, Swaziland or anywhere else for $99. Nobody! The 99 you see bold as gold in the ad is just the launch code. The airlines use that to launch you and credit card into debtor’s prison.
Calorie count – These aren’t actually lies; they’re just blatant misinformation. When the package says “100 calories per serving,” this is technically true. However, what they don’t tell you is the serving size they’re talking about is a WTF joke! Who eats half a doughnut, for God’s sake? I pig down two before my coffee’s even cool enough to drink!
Microwave instructions – Reading the instructions on a box of microwavable anything is like reading an email from a Nigerian prince: you know it’s a scam, but you just can’t help yourself. Everybody knows there are actually only two settings on a microwave – overcooked and underdone — but we all try anyway.
You can’t miss it – Yes, you can!