Narcissit? Who me?

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

         Constantine DelRusso, a 15th century Spanish martyr I’ve invented for the sake of this essay, once said “In truth I have found my salvation, but in lies I have given others theirs.” And unless you are a member of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, you can’t question his (or my) reasoning. Because although it has been said, all too often, that honesty is the best policy, not everyone abides by it. Few actually even entertain the thought of it. And while I never mean to condone fraud or the spreading of malicious untruths, I don’t necessarily believe that “thou shall not tell lies” but rather “thou shall tell lies when the telling of the truth is uncomfortable, nasty and too complex. Also, it’s okay if you are telling a lie to save your own skin every once and a while, but try to do it so it doesn’t make you look incredible or perfect or some nonsense. C’mon.”

            In my long and storied (emphasis here) career in the deceptive arts, I’ve run the gamut from: A -as is Absolutely believable- to Z- Zoinks, that’s a bad one- and I’ve learnt a thing or two a long the way.  

            Firstly, to think that today’s society rewards telling the truth is the biggest lie of all. On a daily basis the choice to lie is made for you. To your friends, your bosses, and your credit card company; to save their feelings, your neck, or your credit- lies must be told. And for this you are rewarded. “You look amazing. You are totally losing weight” “I’ve sent you that document yesterday.” and “Bill is in the mail!” roll off the tongue with ease. Much easier than it would be to say “You’ve actually gained weight” “I have no idea what your talking about.” and “I don’t exactly have the money right now,” ever would. So lies are told. Feelings are spared, jobs are saved, and credit scores are fixed. Everyone comes out on top and no matter the consequences, for that one, fleeting second after the lie is told, you feel so amazing. The cat that ate the canary; you lied and got away with it.

            The saying that you shouldn’t work hard, you should work smart can easily adapt to suit your personal manipulation of reality. Lie smart. Don’t try too hard. Keep yourself grounded in reality. Tell a lie like you tell the truth. Don’t go into overt detail, keep the narrative clean and clear, and keep yourself under control. Be human, sentient, verbal Neutrogena.  Wash away the acne and blemishes of daily life with the cool refreshing mist of untruths. Wipe off the grime of reality and create a more beautiful world with a few fibs. What I’ve come to understand is that it is essential, when fibbing, to let the lie become a part of you. Forget the specifics of what you are lying about, and adopt the important elements of your choosing. Believe in the lie. Let the lie wash over you like the waves of the tropical waters I visit on my luxury yacht. See? That was a lie, but I believe it, so it sounds believable. Right?
             If by saying this, I am coming off as a horrible person, then I would like to say that I am not. I am a product of a society that rewards the telling of untruths. I was raised with the idea that no one should ruin a good story with something as unoriginal as the truth. In a world of where fact is lesser than fiction, is there any point in telling the truth?
My lying career started as innocently and innocuously as possible. When I was a small child I told little fibs, as everyone’s does. I said I didn’t spill the Orange Crush on the living room carpet, I said that my brother hit me when he didn’t, and once told my parents my skates had mysteriously disappeared from the closet so I couldn’t possibly go skating at school. Like I said, innocent enough, but am I and on a grander more melodramatic scale, society-on a slippery slope?  As with anything, in lying you begin somewhere and it build from there. But honestly, I don’t know.

And that’s the truth! 

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