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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bow Still Sometimes Lies to Me -- But not as Much

Now they say that nobody tells the truth all the time. When we catch someone in a lie, we should not get all judgmental about it, because we should remember those times that we ourselves have lied.

As a child, I did tell some lies, but the lies that I told in my first decade of life could be counted on the fingers of one hand. They were rare and happened under very dramatic circumstances. Normally, I was an unusually honest child. That is why I tended to be much harsher than most when I caught someone else in a lie. Especially an obvious one that seemed to serve no purpose.

While it may be true that it is very hard to find someone who has never lied, with the possible exception of those who also never communicate, some people do lie a lot more frequently than others and under circumstances where the lie does not help them at all. There are circumstantial liars who when cornered will tell a lie to protect themselves or their family or a friend, but who would not initiate a lie as a tall tale just to get a reaction out of somebody.

Bow used to tell tall tales. He would invent people who were coming to get him. He once said there were eight men and a female dog who attempted to kidnap him when I was away, and that he needed me to stay home on Wednesdays to protect him from them. This was when he was getting used to a new intern. I asked him if he thought maybe I had better call Lawrence to protect him from those eight men and a dog, since Lawrence is much bigger and stronger than I am, but he insisted that only I could save him from the band of kidnappers. Of course, when he said that, I knew it was a lie. He just wanted me to stay home.

These days Bow does not lie as much. He actually  does not talk as much period. There is not a lot of drama here, as we are usually alone, and he has long since stopped trying to cause trouble between me and Lawrence, since we have made it clear to him that we don't keep secrets and we don't tell lies. He used to have it in for the new interns, so he would try to foment distrust. And early on, if Bow told a tale about a new intern, no matter how unlikely, I had to keep an open mind, just in case it might be true.

Because lying has not proven efficacious, Bow has stopped lying -- for the most part. But the other day, when there was a tiny bit of a mess in the outer pen and I asked Bow about it, he told me it was "another guy" who did it. (דוד אחר).

"What other guy, Bow?" I asked him.

This was an opportunity for him to make up another of those fantastic stories. But he just looked into my eyes and could see I was not falling for it. So he didn't answer.

Bow is not talking as much as he used to, because there's just a lot less to talk about.


  1. I had a so-called friend and roommate who came to me years ago when I was working, and asked for advice about how to quit her job. This was a college job and not her chosen career path, so I told her she should tell the truth. Then after asking my advice she said "No I am going to lie and tell them my grandma died because I do not want to look bad". I told her I thought it would look worse if she got caught in such a lie, and then the girl I was working with backed her up saying "Not everyone has an easy life like you Julia and can tell the truth". See the thing is I constantly had so-called friends in college telling me how easy my life is, and I did not know how it was. Actually, I realized a lot of their drama was self-generated, and that roommate and I came to a head later on when she told me to go hide in my room and pretend to be sick because she did not want her grandma to know the cold medicine was for her boyfriend who was living with us. I had told her previously that if she wanted to live with her boyfriend she should be honest with her family about it, but I drew the line at hiding and perpetuating the lie. People are free to lie, but I notice those who rely on it construct the web and drama for themselves. If you want to live a certain way,then you need to own up to it. So by telling the truth as a child I do not think you were being more brutal, but perhaps you were just being more honest and not creating unneeded chaos.

    1. Thanks, Julia, for sharing that. And yes life is less complicated and also less dramatic if we tell the truth.

      It's funny you should mention the sick grandmother excuse. When I was in Taiwan, it was explained to me that "My grandmother broke her back" was just a way an employee tells an employer they do not want to work there anymore. So I guess some excuses and lies are so common that people no longer consider it lying. It's just polite code for what they really want to say.