I’m always late to the party.
It’s not that I’m incapable of lying. It’s just that my lies are mostly of the white variety designed not to hurt anyone’s feelings.
“No, no, you’ve got it all wrong. Yes, your hairdresser did cut more off than probably necessary, but it actually makes you look younger. Thinner even!”
My lies always sit on the edge of that gray, murky precipice where sincerity is loosely connected to compassion and truth.
Take love, for instance. Back in my dating days, where some guys were marked as cads by making bald-face lies to end a romantic relationship, I opted trying for diplomacy; I was trying for at least an honest version of the truth. The end result was no different than those other cads — I still ended up looking pretty much like, well, a cad. But I did take some solace — manufactured completely out of whole cloth, btw– that while those other guys probably didn’t give a damn about their predicament, I at least did…
.. or thought I did. Or maybe faked that I did.
Will you settle for a sum of the parts?
But oh, Lordy, I had no idea lying how fashionable lying would suddenly become in this decade. Had I for one moment realized that someday the flimsiest and most transparent of lies could be given full consideration and even acceptance in some quarters, I would have worked harder at developing some decent chops. Other than my miserable attempts with the opposite sex, really my most flagrant violations with the truth were in tabulating statistics for library visits back during my career as a librarian (the custodian who changed light bulbs got counted each time he came down the ladder).
I at least felt guilty about such nuances. But what we’re now witnessing on a daily basis at the highest levels of our government is so brazen, I’m certain Ron Ziegler himself would probably blush. A “third rate” blush, but a blush all the same.
For instance, my mouth is still agape since the president accused President Obama of tapping his phones during the last campaign. What I found utterly fascinating is how Mr. Trump had very few compunctions about tossing his own staff under the bus after he made his comments. He seemingly never cared in how they would go about actually proving the accusation. All that week it was like watching a bad film noir, with White House spokesmen and women attempting to clarify those tweets of his.
In one of the tweets, Mr. Trump had the strange temerity to actually mention Watergate. Again I think of Mr. Ziegler, but I’m fairly certain that this president wouldn’t know who he is.
I’ll leave it to other bloggers to chronicle these moments in a more comprehensive way. But I do feel I’d be remiss to not also mention the new EPA Administrator’s denial of the link between human activity and climate change. I suppose one could say that he was simply stating his opinion and not actually lying. However, if so, this flies in the face of the science presented on his own agency’s web site (still posted as of this date, 3/12/2017). This man, Mr. Pruitt, is to the environment what Captain Beatty in “Fahrenheit 451” is to books.
As a kid I was an absolutely terrible liar. My parents and teachers were able to spot my fibs even before I finished speaking. The last time I attempted a bald-faced lie of any great proportions was right after I graduated from college. I had devised a half-cocked scheme to launder money given to me by my mom and dad. I don’t recall the details of the plan, but I do remember their cross-examination of me as I stood mute at the living room witness stand. My testimony was shredded within seconds. I realized that any future shading of the truth would have to be painted in white tones only.
Fast forward to today, I now realize that I simply had really bad role models. I admired people who possessed a high degree of integrity and moral purpose. While I may not have successfully followed their example to the letter (ahem, we can perhaps explore that another time), it’s now apparent that their teachings put me at a severe disadvantage for this millennium.
I still cling to that antiquated virtue known as truth, nobly represented by established facts, verified science, and historical precedence. It’s at best an unhealthy reliance and also ill-suited in this current environment of “alternative facts.”
So damn those earlier elders and betters of mine. They left me unprepared to survive in this climate. Worse yet, I am decidedly unfashionable. Maybe if I had studied chemistry instead of history and politics, I’d be better at creating new potions and versions of the truth.
Fortunately I have a pretty good internal bullshit barometer. There’s so much of it flying around at the moment, and the bar thankfully is set so low for what’s being said (and tweeted) that you’d have to be in a pretty, ‘er, deplorable shape to accept it all at face value.
But do feel free to take ME at face value because I’d never mislead or otherwise lie to you. Besides, that outfit you’re wearing? You look fabulous and it makes you look at least 10 years younger.
Until next time…