Monday, July 03, 2006

Lies I Lie: 1

Lying increases the creative faculties, expands the ego, and lessens the frictions of social contacts.
Clare Booth Luce (1903 - 1987)

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.
Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)

The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.
Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)

I told a couple big lies in the past 3 days, all to take "mental health" time, to avoid doing something I didn't want to do, to have an hour's peace. In general, I hate liars and the lies they tell, from my mother on the phone to Bush and company. But I am a liar. And generally a good one. I have a poor memory for dates and numbers (hence history) but an excellent social and intrapersonal memory (a novelist's memory) and because of my generally hard line on lying and deception, whether an ad or political speech or a euphemism or a condescending tone, people find it hard to believe I am not telling the truth. I know how and when to keep it simple and how and when to layer it. I am good at finding the uncomfortable detail, the one after which even the nosiest and/or angriest questioner gives in--once I began to describe a dentist cutting into my gum, another time said "It's like pissing acid mixed with nails and screws."

I lie to protect myself, no matter what "protect," "my" or "self" mean at that particular moment in time. I lie to hide in plain view, in defiance, in passive aggressiveness to avoid doing what I do not want to do but do not have the balls or authority or status to refuse. I am a hard-working, generally loyal employee but I'll lie in a millisecond to get what I want or get out of what I don't want. But I don't lie in personal, intimate relationships, no matter how long or brief. I've told the truth no mattter what or kept silent and eventually walked away. Or did what I wanted. Mostly that. If my first internal reaction was "I don't let my own father/mother tell me what to do," distance preceded by or gained with lies soon followed. I've lied about my name dozens of times. I've been caught once. The look he gave me was cold and I gave it back; I always lied about my name in bars, I told myself, because I didn't like being picked up in them. (Everywhere else, though, was fair game.) I've made up mini-histories for a day or half-hour. I did warn boyfriends or fuckbuddies that I'd tell the truth if they really wanted to hear it. Usually, they didn't. Wise.

The guilt is never more than splinter-deep. An hour or so's discomfort. A few head rushes of fear or adrenaline. Then, backstory tucked in a fold of the brain for quick retrieval, my life continues.....

I'm not done with this. I'm really not as sociopathic as all that.

quotations from


Blogger bint alshamsa said...

Honestly, we all lie. Sometimes, I think lying is definitely the kindest option that one can have. If my three year-old niece asks me if I can see the animal she drew on a picture, then I'm going to tell her yes because, above all else, I want her to feel encouraged to keep drawing even if I can't tell one squiggle from another yet.

I try to be ethical though. I think certain types of lies are immoral and I do my best not to venture into those categories even though I'm not always successful at it.

Mon Jul 03, 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

I agree, bint, though it is odd to discuss the "ethics of lying." Like anything else, it is something that cannot be an unchanging absolute, one-size-fits-all, unwavering. I often tell "the lie that tells the truth" (from title of a creative writing book). I think I was trying to get there. I'm still working the teaching/NO life poison out of my system. Well, as much as I can, anyway.

Tue Jul 04, 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger CP said...

I love this post.

The honesty of the lie.



Wed Jul 05, 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

I believe in calling in sick at least once a semester to rest up if you're being exploited in your job. I'm a hard worker and never get sick, and in normal jobs I don't do this. But right now I do not have a reasonable job!

Wed Jul 05, 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger G Bitch said...

Professor Zero--damn straight! I hear you! I don't have a reasonable job either. I've been trying to muster intellectual activity all week and keep coming up blank.

CP--HOOray! You've read my blog! Yours makes me laugh so hard I choke on my margaritas. Yes, the honesty of the lie, the lie that tells the truth....Mottos to live by under my circumstances.

Thu Jul 06, 10:47:00 AM  

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