3 Dangerous Lies


We all lie: it’s built into our psyche.  I’m pretty sure that somewhere back in caveman days, somebody looked around and said, “Does this sabretooth pelt make me look fat?”  And her mate grunted the equivalent of, “No, darling!  It’s perfect.”  Thus our species continued populating the Earth.  Personally, I think lying is an essential part of civilization.  It gets us through social situations, keeps our friends and enemies in line and helps us not look like jerks – most of the time.  Plus, in general, lying is no big deal.  The rewards are large and the consequences quite small.  However, sometimes lies can be dangerous.  These are the lies we tell ourselves.  Here are just three examples.

1 – Remember, back in school when Brittany, Class President, hooked you into helping with the Annual Charity Drive because “It’ll be fun!”  And remember how is wasn’t because, while she and her friends were up at the dance, “collecting” non-perishable food items, you spent the evening down in the school basement, working your ass off, sorting cans of tuna and packages of macaroni.  Remember that?  So how come you’re phoning everybody in the family (on both sides) and saying, “We’re doing Christmas at our house this year.  C’mon over for dinner.  It’ll be fun!”

2 — Normally, this lie comes right after some celebrity TV know-it-all has created a beautiful gingerbread sculpture shaped like the British House of Parliament.  You watched them fashion this marvel — from finding fresh ginger at the local farmer’s market to carving out the wooden molds on a lathe.  They’ve spun sugar to a transparent sheen for the windows and even installed battery-operated lights – all in less than 30 minutes!  So, you say to yourself, “That looks easy” and go out a buy a Gingerbread House kit from the grocery store.  Two weekends and three Gingerbread House kits later, your own mother won’t speak to you, the kids have filed a restraining order and whatever’s left of the gingerbread mess is sitting in the corner – where you threw it.

3 — Once again, this lie started in school.  Your term project was due at the end of the semester, and that was three months away.  Three months!  That’s a lifetime when you’re a teenager.  So, you decided to do a kick-ass/best ever treatise on the Pre-Cambrian Shield – complete with rock samples, charts, hand-drawn illustrations and a working model of a Canadian glacier because, you say to yourself, “I’ve got plenty of time.”  And you keep saying that for the next 2 months and 27 days while your project slowly melts away like that glacier you’re never going to build.  Finally, you end up with 10 pages (double-spaced) that you borrowed from an encyclopedia (no Wikipedia in those days) a Xeroxed copy of an aerial photograph of Ontario and couple of stones from your garden . . . .

Well, folks!  Today is the 4th of December, and Christmas is exactly three weeks away.  Just sayin’!


Lies We All Live With


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.

And finally:

You can’t miss it – Yes, you can!

People Lie!

LyingPeople lie.  It’s as natural as breathing.  Sometimes we do it for a good reason, but mostly we do it just because we can.  Here are a few examples:

At the dentist:
What they say — “You might feel a little discomfort.”
What they mean — “Welcome to Doctor Mengele’s Emporium of Pee-Your-Pants Pain.”

At the gynecologist:
What they say — “Just relax and let’s take a look.”
What they mean — “Brace yourself, honey. We’re on a quest to find the source of the Nile.”

When you ask directions in a strange city:
What they say — “You can’t miss it.”
What they mean — “I have no idea what you’re looking for, but I know most of the stuff in town is over there — somewhere.”

At a dinner party:
What they say — “I tried something new.”
What they mean — “Your food is going to taste like socks.”

Talking to the computer salesperson:
What they say — “It’s got 8.00 GB usable 64 – bit OS and 1.60 GHz.”
What they mean — “You’re so stupid I could sell you a dead donkey if it had an Apple logo on it.”

At the grocery store:
What they say — “Organic.”
What they mean — “Twice the price and half the taste.”

Internet Travel Advertisements:
What they say — “Hawaii! Airfare from $299”
What they mean — “Hi!  We’re just here fishing for idiots.”

Internet Travel Sites:
What they say — “Hawaii, airfare from $299”
What they mean — “Caught one!”

At family gatherings:
What they say — “It’ll be fun.”
What they mean — “Come on over.  The uncles are going to fight with each other and their kids are going to act like a troupe of deranged orangutans.”

Telephoning the Government:
What they say — “Your call is important to us.”
What they mean — “The department you want is playing Candy Crush right now, but how about a 3 hour rendition of Wagner’s Ring Cycle for flute and bassoon?”

Talking with friends:
What they say — “We’ve been friends for a long time.”
What they mean — “I want to borrow money.”

Arguing with friends:
What they say — “Let’s agree to disagree.”
What they mean — “I can’t believe I’m friends with you — you moron.”

Talking with friends of friends:
What they say — “Yeah, I’ve known him since high school.”
What they mean — “I’m a way better friend than you are.”

Arguing with anybody:
What they say — “That’s racist.”
What they mean — “Wow!  What a logical and concise argument.  This conversation is over.”

Talking with the boyfriend:
What they say — “Hey, love!  What ya thinkin’?”
What they mean — “Any chance of getting laid?”

Talking with the husband:
What they say — “Hey, love! What ya thinkin’?”
What they mean — “Any chance of a sandwich?”

Talking with the girlfriend:
What they say — “Does this dress make me look fat?”
What they mean — “It better not, or the only thing you’re going to be touching after the party is yourself.”

Talking with the wife:
What they say — “This dress makes me look fat.”
What they mean — “I gave up Andrew, that drop-dead-handsome lawyer for you. The least you can do is have the decency to lie to me.”