Years ago, I heard a joke about The Three Great Lies:
1. “The check is in the mail.”
2. “The government will take care of that.”
3. “I love you.” (Ha-Ha – cynical punch line)
To these, I have added a fourth:
4. “I have read these Terms and Conditions.”
I have told this lie a lot, and I bet you have, too. Someday, probably soon, I will learn what I lied about having read.
And lately, a fifth:
5. “Your call is important to us.”
Yes, yes, I know – it’s hard to hire people to actually answer the phone, and the call may actually be important to the business you are calling. But it’s still annoying that somehow the technology has not found a solution. Sometimes you get a robot instead of a real person, and sometimes that leads to a solution. At least a robot is better than some of the music that’s inflicted while I am moving up the “important to us” ladder. But still, it reminds me of: “Suicide Prevention Hotline – will you hold please, or leave a voice mail?”
All of which makes me wonder: What are the other Great Lies? The easy one has to do with the 2020 election, and I won’t comment further on that, except to say that it’s worth exploring why it is that we fall for so many lies.
“I feel your pain.” This is never true. Nobody can feel the individualized experience of pain of another person. The sentence is not really a lie, for a lie implies an intention to deceive, and “I feel your pain” is, in most cases, a sincere expression of sympathy – unless, of course, it’s said for selfish reasons.
Then there’s “Your Lyin’ Eyes,” a song by Eagles about a woman who cheats on her “rich old man.” The chorus goes:
You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes.
But I first came across “your lyin’ eyes” in a different context: A woman comes home and finds her husband in bed with another woman. He declares he is innocent, and asks, “Who are you going to believe – me or your lyin’ eyes?” I’m not sure how any of this fits with my theme of Great Lies, but I like the phrase and it’s my blog, so I’m including it.
What about white lies? They can be convenient, and I believe we have all told them as a way to protect someone’s feelings. In my case, they are a way to avoid a difficult conversation, and they are lies nonetheless. They protect how I feel.
I’m enjoying being playful about lying, but Kim has made it clear how she learned from her father that lying indicates a major flaw in character. Honorable people don’t lie. With that in mind, I have made an effort to cut back on my lies. Really.