Attributed to Mark Twain, who attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli.
In the end, it means I don’t believe you, and it’s probably for political gain. Which, that’s not exactly what I’m writing about, but it’s a good start.
We all lie.
Face it, no matter how nice a person you are, if your friend walks up and asks you if her hair looks good, you say, “Oh sure, it’s great.” Or maybe “Do I really need to shave my legs?” and the answer would be “No, it’s fine. No one will notice.” Both lies, both probably really should have been told the truth, but in the end, we often don’t.
Not to be evil, but to spare people’s feelings. Of course, in the end when she walks out in public and everyone quietly laughs at the stubble on her legs, then yeah. Maybe truth would be better.
I suppose it also matters what exactly is at stake. I mean, hair and makeup aside, we probably try to tell the truth most of the time.
Or do we?
Do you often find yourself shading the truth because it would either make you or someone else look foolish?
Do you cover for a friend who’s out doing something she shouldn’t be?
Once upon a time after I’d acquired an ex, friends would come up to me and say things like “Oh, we knew they were fooling around, but we just didn’t want you to get hurt.”
Which is screwy, really. I mean, I can understand it, but really? I mean, really? In the end it was much worse to find out the reality of it, and how long it had been going on. And I really didn’t need people telling me that I was the only one stupid enough not to notice.
In the worst kind of romantic comedy, it’s all based on misunderstandings and the ridiculous lengths people will go to keep their lie hidden. By the time half the movie is over, you want to strangle everyone on the screen as it just keeps getting deeper and deeper.
And then there’s the ‘for your own good’ crowd.
“Oh no, darling. We can’t be together anymore. I’ve loved you more than the sky itself, but alas, we must part.”
It’s usually because they’ve done something horrible, or stupid, or horribly stupid and they just know the other will not be able to forgive them and would be disgusted. So they spend the entire movie with both of them in misery because one of them rolls the toilet paper the wrong way (a valid concern, trust me) and can’t take a chance on the other one finding out. So finally the truth comes out in some stupid, painful way that winds up with both of them forgiving the other and they live happily ever after. Until it actually turns out that the toilet paper tube really DOES matter more than you might expect.
So, if you see me doing any of this in any of my books, please slap me. I’m rifling desperately through the back of my brain trying to remember if I did anything like this in any of my books. I don’t think so.
So, shock people. Tell the truth. In the long run it might be better.
On the other hand, something as heinous as toilet paper rolling – it might be better left to a lie.