“Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It’s your combination, sinners, your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards who dishonour the vices and bring them into bad disrepute.”
—1954 The Matchmaker Act 3
“Great liars are also great magicians.”
According to some fellow named Webster who wrote this great best-seller called Webster’s Dictionary (a highly recommended read, I might add), the term “lie” is defined by the following:
As a noun: it is a false statement.
The sky is green – a false statement.
As a verb, there are two definitions:
- To recline on a horizontal surface – a person being flat on their back.
- To say something that knowingly is untrue – a forty-year-old person saying they are twenty-five
Direct Quotes from Webster’s Dictionary College Edition Online
Now the form of “lie” I am talking about? The action form, the verb, to have told one. Now is it always wise to tell the truth? Jim Carrey sure showed us in the movie Liar Liar just how tough it is to live up to the promise he made to his son, to tell the truth – the full truth – for 24 hours as he was a notorious liar to everyone. And just to prove the point:
The last time I told one – and I freely admit I did so – was when I was applying for jobs. It was called “stretching the truth.” We have terms for lying, you notice this? “Stretching the truth.” “Twisting the facts.” “Embellishing.” “Telling a Tall Tale.” “Making up stories.” “Lying by Omission” is another one – then it’s fraternal twin, “Lying by COmmission.” Then there’s the old classic, “The fib.” But in my case? I was stretching the dates on my resume to hide the gaps or making the gaps in my employment to appear, well, a bit smaller than they were. Then comes…the story behind those gaps. Part of the story was due to my mother’s final days of life due to Alzheimer’s and its complications, not the least of which was probate – thank you, Mom, for not making a will.
Then comes my brief disability because of mental illness, something that, legally, is not able to be disclosed during an interview. HIPAA, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act, come into play here. But what I had to do? Hide that. Potential future employers didn’t need to know that, although they were going to figure it out soon enough. My transportation is ADA Paratransit; buses that are for those who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act for door-to-door bus service – where transit services will not accommodate their needs or may trigger their mental health symptoms. I have access to those services. But my worries were unfounded. The right employer came along and took me as I am – Paratransit woes and all, gaps in employment and all. My mental illness didn’t matter to them; it was “could I do the job.”
But I still stretched the truth, toss in an embellishment or two and throw in some lying by omissions and voila, I now have a job. Makes you wonder just how often we lie and whether Jim Carrey’s performance is so incredibly ridiculous at all. Oh, no question, he was brilliant but it raises a huge issue. When do you tell the truth? When do you “be polite?” In Minnesota, we call it, “Minnesota nice.” You’re nice to EVERYONE and say nothing at all, even if you are pissed as hell at someone. It’s the equivalent of saying, “You’re a wonderful person!” as you smile; while at the same time you have a dagger behind your back ready to stab that person to death. Nasty.
Adolph Hitler’s quote above has a huge truth buried in it. Liars are great magicians. They can make you believe anything. Funny how he was a powerful manipulator – aka “liar” – and made people see and believe that entire groups of people were the cause of everything “wrong” with his nation. This is where lying is exceptionally dangerous. He was more than “twisting phrases” here. He was condemning people to die while manipulating.
That makes my “embellishment” to get a job a bit more trivial but the fact remains…is it ok to lie? Ever?