Introduction to Lying
My faithful reader, with the recent admission by Mike Daisey (the great white American monologuist) to NPR host Ira Glass (host of the great white American radio show "This American Life") that he
fabricated much of "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," a monologue which detailed his obsession with Apple products and concerns over the way in which these products get made, I decided it was finally time to come clean about much of my own deceit and the way I've perpetuated it under the umbrella of Psychology Today. Yes, it's true. I've been a little mendacious in these very blog posts, to say the least.
I ask that you find it in your heart to accept my sincere apologies. In fact, I beg for your forgiveness for what I am about to admit. Warning: Some transgressions are more severe than others.
For instance, in my last blog post I cut and pasted a photograph of a giraffe onto my blog and said it was me. The caption below the giraffe read, "A great shot of me from my senior year in high school. I grew into the ears, but never outgrew the horns."
Both the photograph and the caption were misleading. The photograph wasn't really a picture of me from high school. It was a recent photograph. (For the entire head shot series click here). In addition, the horns grew because I was Jewish, not because I have giraffe blood. Can you forgive me? (I think I thought I was being funny, but now I'm not so sure).
Also, in the opening paragraph of this post I unjustly loaded it with words that I thought would register high in the search engines. Can you forgive me?
(I think I did this because I am secretly yearning for a life-altering, earth-shaking human connection through my writing that will fill me with renewed purpose and that sense of wonderment I thought the black vortex of history had swallowed whole, along with my childhood).
And, in my first blog post about matchmaking I posted a photograph of myself naked from the waist down thinking a sexy picture would boost hits to my posts. (I'm sorry. I was easing out of The Master Cleanse. Day 22. Feeling light-headed) Again, can you forgive me?
How Does Lying Make You Feel?
I know that when you feel deceived by me it can bring our whole relationship into question. It's never easy to have a relationship with a blogger, much less a guy, if you believe he isn't being honest with you is it? And it's especially hard if you can't prove his untruthfulness, right?
Let's take the giraffe picture, for instance. Some of you already knew that the picture was a recent one and if you're a longtime fan, then you probably already knew that I was Jewish and horns run in our family. But some of you (those with AOL accounts) know that if I hadn't come clean, you might never have found any conclusive evidence that proved that I was a liar.
How to Tell if He's Lying
According to a Shimer College adjunct faculty member, Dr. Yow (he also holds an MFA in Phrenology) whose team analyzed all 81 students at his school, there are 4 distinct ways to tell if a guy is lying:
1) Listen to what he is saying. Words are a crucial indicator of deception. If a guy tells you he's lying he probably is.
2) Study his face. Is his mouth tapered like the crack in a dried lemon? If he looks like a liar he probably is. Big noses and unibrows are other important indicators in men.
3) Watch his grooming habits. If he insists on brushing his teeth or clipping his toenails while he talks to you, this may be an indication that he's lying.
4) Refer to Strunk & White often. Guilty people often speak in sentence-fragments when confronted. If you ask him what a sentence fragment or a participial phrase is and he can't tell you, it's a sure sign he's lying.
What is Lying
This next part is true. Lying is the act of making a false statement. It really is. Using the phrase "this part is true" or "it really is" before or after stating something that is true is a sign of lying.
A Short History of Liars
In HST212: Geography & World Cultures class, I turned in an extra credit report on my father's war experiences in Vietnam. The problem was that he had never been to Vietnam. He had been lying about the experience his entire life and I had been unknowingly perpetuating his lie.
My father came in as a featured speaker on the topic and he was charming and charismatic as only those who live with sociopaths can appreciate. Not only did he say he had fought in the war, but he said he had been born in Vietnam. My ophthalmologist typically uses the term Pseudologia Fantastica when referring to people like my father, especially when my father goes in for an eye exam pretending to be a blind man from Vietnam.
The Ex Liars School of Social Deception
As a result of being raised with a father who took such creative liberties with the truth, I became a compulsive liar myself. During my senior year of high school my classmates actually created a new superlative for me - "The Baron von Muchnhausen Most Likely to Lie Award."
Were they crazy? This was like giving a truck load of scrap metal to Fred Sanford. Lying became a reflexive way of answering questions - big, small and everything in between.
I eventually became addicted to rather pointless lies. What's the weather like? It's raining. What are you doing today? Meeting with the President. After each lie, I would typically laugh and say "I'm just kidding." I wasn't trying to be manipulative. I was simply lying out of habit - a habit that was hard to break.
How to Stop Lying
Based on a recommendation from my local medical librarian, I asked my colon hydrotherapist to write me a subscription for Spice Melange. Since 1965, this drug has had a fairly good track record with those suffering from pathological lying and can, in some cases, completely cure the liar.
Unfortunately, after only two weeks on the drug I began to have severe side effects including auditory hallucinations in which I heard people laughing at my jokes. I finally stopped taking it after a severe case of gynecomastia (the abnormal development of large mammary glands in males resulting in breast enlargement and often lactation) started to make me feel uncomfortable at the gym.
Let's face it. We need liars more than ever. According to TED, we are lied to between 10-200 times a day and to be honest that's just not enough. I'd like to see that number significantly higher. Why? Where else will we learn about compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness? (The very things this world needs more of).
For some reason, the story you've been given by birthright about claiming responsibility for your own life just isn't sinking in. It's 2012 and the time has come for reinvention. You need a new story. You need redemption. You need to be quiet and quit listening to everyone else and start listening to yourself... for once.
This is your wake up call. If you're not lying then someone else is. Either you get to teach the lesson on compassion or you get to learn about it. Either you get to drive the bus or board as a passenger. It's time to decide what side of the steering wheel you want to be on, quit complaining and own up to the fact that being human means feeling some uncomfortable things in your life. I've made my decision. I'm sitting in the back of the bus. Maybe I'll see you at the bus stop on Thursday.