I'd like to talk about Lying today. The reason this came to mind is because I thought I was going to have to start out today apologizing for lying. And then I realized that my lie had no intent to deceive behind it. There was none of that going on. I thought I was telling the truth.
Awhile back, I wrote about household mysteries and somewhere in that blogpost I said that I have long heard about this thing where people lose One sock in the laundry. Apparently this is a common thing but that it had never happened to me. Never say never folks. Earlier this week as I was folding the load fresh out of the dryer and still warm, I ended up with several pair of matching socks and one lone unmatched sock.
It was one of mine. The sort of sock that I wear with sneakers so, now that I think about it, it sort of looks like half-a-sock. There is no "ankle" part of the sock at all. When I'm wearing them with my sneaks, it appears that I'm wearing no socks at all. And as my feet are very porportional to my short self, my socks are no particularly large. Since we live in Florida, my socks are also not bulky with fabric. Lightweight and cotton is the key. Since they are cotton they shrink a bit in the dryer and then stretch back out when I put them on. In short, my socks are on the small side. Easily overlooked. I assumed I had just missed them in the dryer so I went back and checked. Nope. No sock. I checked the washer. Not there either. Well dang!
I went ahead and continued doing all of the wash and just guessed that perhaps it accidentally got mixed up with another load and that as I continued doing other laundry throughout the day, eventually it would turn up. I did all of the laundry. The delicates, the whites the towels, the sheets. No sock. Well I'll be danged. The mysterious missing sock in the laundry black hole DOES exist! And it did happen to me. I made a mental note to drop a little one-liner apology in a post this week and continued on with my life.
Then I did the ironing. As I was smoothing out a pair of Tim's shorts on the ironing board, there was a small bumpy part. I thought probably it was the pocket. No problem. Pants pockets often flip around inside clothes and have to be corrected. I reached inside the shorts to fix the pocket and found.,.....my sock. AHA! It wasn't gone forever, it wasn't sucked into the purported laundry black-hole (if indeed it does exist)and most importantly, I did not lie!
Being an honest person has always been important to me. I think it's part of why people tend to trust me. It speaks to character. I am a woman of my word. But being honest can be a tricky thing. And sometimes there kind of is a grey area.
I know, I know. There should be no grey area being truth and lies. None. I agree. And yet.....
When great Aunt Gertrude sweeps into the room in the most ghastly hat anyone on this or any other planet has ever seen and asks, just as giddy as a school girl, "What do you think of my new hat?" I am not going to be the one to crush her spirit. She obviously loves the hat. Her opinion really is the only important one. So I walk the line. "I've never seen anything quite like it" I say in return with a huge smile. It didn't technically lie. But I didn't really tell the truth either.
Because there are all sorts of lies. And some of them should get a pass. Christmas lies for example. Or Birthday or anniversary or whatever occasion involves a surprise. "Are you planning anything for my birthdays?" someone asks and I know very well that there is a surprise party happening. Oh lordy what do I say? I don't want to be the one to give away the surprise. But I don't want to lie either? My response, "What? Me? No, I'm too busy to plan lunch" and I can say that with a straight face too because I was not the one planning the party. Someone else was. Still while not a lie, not really the truth either. But I think that one is ok.
How about when a 9 month pregnant woman, who is crying and puffy and blotchy and miserable with her hair going all sideways and her eyes and nose red from crying and nothing fits and she can't get comfortable and she wails to you that she is go fat and ugly. Are you going to be the one to agree with her? (and if you are, shame on you!) No...go for the gold on this one. Tell her how beautiful she is, because she is. Tell her that you love her. Tell her that everything is going to be fine. And then tell her how beautiful she is one more time. And even though she has never looked less beautiful, you get a pass because that was the right thing to say.
You see what I mean? That whole truth/lie thing is sometimes tricky.
Little kids are usually the most honest people on earth. They volunteer information that really shouldn't be out there in the universe. "Hey, which one of your guys farted?" Yes, that was my oldest son at about 4 years old, calling out a group of older men who were talking next to us as I stood in the card aisle of a local Caldor (similar to Walmart). Some truths do not need to be spoken I tried to explain to him later after we beat a hasty retreat.
But little kids are also the worst liars in the world. "Which one of you guys was in the cookie jar?" I asked the lot of them one day. They were about 5,4 and 3 at the time. I got an entire chorus of "not me's" in return. Incidentally, Not me, was responsible for most of the shenanigans in our house at that time. I was pleased that they didn't rat each other out, I liked the solidarity, but still the culprit should not get off without reprimand, y'know? "Well", I continued, "Someone was in the cookie jar and ate all of them. See? Only crumbs left." I indicated the glass jar. "Soooo who did it?" "Lucy did" one of them offered. The others nodded in agreement.
Lucy by the way, was our German Shephard. While she was a very smart dog, I am doubtful that she could, not only get on the counter top to reach the cookie jar, but also remove the lid, eat all of the cookies and then...here it is...replace the lid. If she actually could, the dog would have been a genius. She was a dear sweet dog and smart, but she was not a genius.
"Oh dear," I said, "Chocolate is very dangerous for dogs. It will make her very sick! Oh no! Poor Lucy". I said very dramatically. Lucy, meanwhile, hearing her name, came into the kitchen and sat down, patiently waiting to see why we called her. The eyes of 3 little boys immediately turned to the dog waiting expectantly to see if she was going to barf.
Side story: Apparently throwing up ranks as high entertainment for little boys. One summer my sister and I took the combined 5 of our kids on a trip to Maine. We had a wonderful time. When we returned, we visited my mother who asked each of the kids what was the best part of the trip. One of the girls loved the beach, another one enjoyed being on the boat. First little boy responded with great excitement that construction guys were working on the road and Stacy threw up in the car. Woohoo!
Back to the tale. I continued to fuss over Lucy, worrying about her health, how sick she could be and told the boys the truth, that honestly, chocolate is so bad for dogs that sadly, they could be so very sick that they might have to go to the dog hospital. Now, I suppose, that technically I was sort of lying. I knew darned well that the poor innocent dog had nothing to do with the missing cookies. BUT the chocolate part being bad for dogs..that part is true.
A mother does what a mother must do! And it worked because my poor sweet boys felt bad. They didn't want Lucy to be that kind of sick! One of them broke into tears and hugging the dog around the neck confessed that he had climbed onto a chair that they dragged over to the countertop, took out the cookies and dispersed them between themselves (evenly, I might add). There was one leftover cookie that they gave to Lucy. Clearly, she was completely unharmed from eating the one cookie. Lessons learned. 1. Do not feed chocolate to the dog.2. Do not steal cookies - ask for one. The answer is probably yes. 3. Mom is pretty smart. Don't try to put one over on her.
The last category of lying today is the unintentional lie. And that mostly happens because of something that I forgot. Gettin' old here guys. Sometimes I forget things. Just too many items on the shelf now and sometimes things fall off. For example, Tim and I were talking with another couple. We were all talking about places we've been. One of them asked if we'd ever been to Alabama. "No we have not. Tell me about it" I answered. "Yes we have" Tim corrected me. "We have?" I asked, totally drawing a blank. Very patiently Tim reminded of of the time we were in New Orleans and one day took a drive to Alabama for lunch. "Oh yeah! That's right! I remember now!" I had completely forgotten. See! It was an untruth...okay a lie...but not by intent. I think the intent should count. It happens to me a lot.
So there you see. I consider myself an honest person. But clearly even I, occasionally, lie.
Diogenes wandered through the streets with a lantern, seeking an honest person. And he passed my house right by. I see no lantern out there. I guess he has to keep looking. I try! I really do try. But the truth is, sometimes, even if it's by accident, even I occasionally lie.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.