Monday, March 31, 2008

Best Of: August 2007

Another throw-back. Not "throw-back" in the sense that it wasn't well written and I threw it back like an undersized Carp, but "throw-back" like an reproduced Magic Johnson jersey a black guy would wear.

Anyway, this originally ran August 18th, 2007. I hope you enjoy my laziness.

I can't lie for shit.

And while many of you reading this might think that's perfectly fine; a trait no one should be proud of having, I must tell you that it sucks not being able to be a good liar.

I've come across instances where lying would've either saved my butt, or furthered me in some sort of career. It would've at least made my life easier by being able to look some one directly into their eyes and not told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me god.

I just can't do it! And by it, I mean really lying, not just telling a slight "mistruth" or "inaccuracy" or "white lie." And example of one of these would be not telling your sister that her new boyfriend is a total dickhead because you went to high school with him, or that .... see, I can't even come up with another example of a little lie! That's how bad I have it.

But before I go any further, I'd like to create a distinction between "lying" and just not giving enough information. A lie is telling something completely false, whereas not giving any or enough information is technically not lying. If someone asks you directly if you ate the last slice of pizza and drank the last beer too, and you certainly did, but tell them you didn't, that's a lie. Same scenario, but they ask "do you know who..." blah blah blah pizza and beer, and you say "I do not know" I don't think that's technically a lie. You're just withholding information that would incriminate yourself. There's an actual aspect of the Bill of Rights that protects you from doing that very thing! ...So if our fore fathers thought that was ok, then it must be fine to do.

But back to actual lying and the fact that I can't do it. This has plagued me most of my adult life. I can't look someone in the face and tell them a falsehood and I don't know why. When I do, or try to, I feel very transparent; I feel as if they know they're being lied to, and I feel like a snake for doing it. I feel like I'm insulting their intelligence, and they know it. It's like if you ask me something directly, I can't avoid telling you the truth of the matter. And I don't mean that I'm brutally honest with people:

"Does this dress make me look fat?"

"No, your face makes you look fat."

That's not the case at all. I just feel compelled to tell the truth.

This has followed me since I was with NYPD and that whole mess, it's haunting me where ever I go. I've blown polygraphs because of it, because I was too afraid of the truth, so I denied it and failed. I was so anxious at MEPS earlier in the week because I was afraid of some falsehood surfacing in my paper work that when they took my blood pressure I was 165/90. The tech taking it had to take it twice more because he thought his equipment was malfunctioning.

"Holy shit, is your BP normally that high?" he says to me.

"No... I don't know what's up..." I say.

"Must be white coat syndrome," and it takes me a good two minutes to get the joke, but I chuckled anyway.

And that brings to mind something else when it comes to people and lying: Most people out there want to be lied to. Whether it's in their jobs, or just the simple aspects of life, people do not want to know the awful truths that are out there.

A woman does not want to know her boyfriend is cheating on her, she'd rather go on suspecting for the rest of the relationship, than to know the truth.

People love to live in little safe bubbles where everything is ok. Take for example these military personnel that work at the MEPS. They do not care if you lie on your paper work. It's actually encouraged! ...But they won't tell you that. They actually make you watch this long Powerpoint presentation about how if you lie on your paper work and are caught you'll go to jail and be dishonorably discharged, etc. But if you read between the lines, their lives, your life, the recruiters, etc, are a lot easier if you just "forget" to mention some things in your paper work.

This was the case with me. I had very minor surgery when I was 15, got hit by a car when I was 22-23 and went to the ER for observations, and saw a shrink one time when I was 23-24 ish. I put all this information down on the sheet provided to me at MEPS and now I'm on hold. My recruiter was slightly pissed, because it's extra paper work for him to sift through, the techs at MEPS left me with the impression that I was wasting their time, and if I had just checked "no" on those above boxes, no one would've bothered to look into it and I'd be cleared to start basic or OCS. Instead, I'm on hold til the 27th. But with the lie hanging over my head, that's how my blood pressure got so high.

As my father put it when I told him I was on hold "Jim, its the federal think they have time to go looking into 'no' answers? They see 'no' checked off, they leave it alone. Jesus Christ you're dumb." And this was largely confirmed by my service member friends who I asked.

So I decided to do some research on lying, and to see if there's some way I can learn to be better at. At least for the sake of my poker game. Because honestly, if I get a good hand, I act like a retard on a farris wheel.

I type "how to lie" into the Google and I get 91 and a half million responses.

The site had the best tagline disclaimer out of all the other sites listed (most were really sketchy, like "so you wanna learn how to lie, huh" or "make'em believe you anytime, anywhere" I think it's the fact that I read those lines like some shady business men or used car sales man, or ... men hanging around in a back alley waiting their turns for a gummer from a used whore. Basically I felt raped while reading...) which read "by taking this advice you are putting into jeopardy relationships, friendships, and you're good word. Proceed at your own risk." My kinda place it would seem like.

The site gives pointers about how to act and psychologically how to feel. "Believe in the lie, make it the truth to you" it says. It even quotes George Costanza from "Seinfeld" "It's not a lie if you believe it!" Great, I'm totally not feeling like a scumbag right now.

The site goes on to give me tips about my physical appearance, how to smile, to try standing in front of a mirror and lie so I see how I look when I tell the lie, etc. I try this out for a few minutes, with something simple: I make up a lie that I went fly fishing yesterday, simple and painless enough. I stand in front of a bathroom mirror and recite over and over again that I spent my day fly fishing yesterday, making it into a little story.

But I notice something, and it's very subtle. The more I tell of the story, the less I can actually look at my face, I seem to keep focusing on my shoulder. It's as if I'm ashamed at myself even for telling something as innocent as falsely fly fishing friday. Ugh, I'm getting no where with this.

I guess in sumation I'm a horrible liar. Though this should come as shocking news to some of my readers, who have questioned the authenticity of some of my non-fiction articles in the past. I've in fact lead myself on some pretty outlandish adventures and written about them.

...Or have I? Because would you honestly believe someone who told you they were a horrible liar?

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