The pitfalls of lying

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Over the Christmas period, I saw an excellent film on TV called “Flight” , 2012, which featured Denzel Washington. His character was a fully qualified and competent airline pilot who was unfortunately a cocaine addict and an alcoholic. On an eventful flight attended by bad weather, he rescued his passengers from almost certain death by an amazing manoeuvre. He crash landed the aircraft with only a few deaths and became a hero. SPOILER  However, during the court case he had to explain the existence of two bottles of whiskey on the flight deck and after much hesitation admitted his guilt (he had had alcohol the night before and in the cockpit) and was imprisoned for five years. It was extremely well acted and believable. What hit me was his statement. “I have been lying all my life. I could not bring myself to tell another lie and I realised I had to face the consequences. It was a relief”.

Very few of us are completely conscienceless. The problem with lying, and consistently lying, is that there will eventually be inconsistencies which will be spotted by others. You have to keep a separate mental file of the lies you have told and keep it separate from the compartment of truth where you need the truth in order to survive. This goes against our natures and will diminish us as a person. I’m not even talking about psychopathic lying where a person with no feelings can utter a barefaced lie and even fool a lie detector. I’m talking about normal everyday person who is afraid that if he tells the truth he will get into trouble or be thought less of. My question to myself and others is to wonder if it is worth it.

For sure, in my life I had told lies. I developed a a long-term strategy a number of years ago involving trying to get myself in a situation of strength and integrity where lies do not need to be told. I still find it difficult because I do go on the defensive for some instinctive reason. So now, if I have done something wrong then I just admit it and be dammed. In all probability I will not be dammed but I think it’s the fear of being socially isolated. In a stronger community where trust prevails, it is easier to tell the truth. That is the end of my little homily on lying.

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Today at about six o’clock in the morning I received a notification from a lady who wanted to take a plot on my allotments. I always take notice of my own reaction. I do get a psychic rush with certain  e-mails and that reaction varies enormously from nothing to excitement leading to immediate action. On this occasion I was motivated to call up the lady immediately. She had fairly recently moved into a new house built, as so many are, on floodplains and surprise surprise the house was the subject of damp. It is amazing what developers will do for money. Oh and would you believe the garden was only the size of a postage stamp and the ground included generous amounts of builders rubble, left over sandwiches and bits of timber. The proper amount and type of soil had not been laid down  so she had to suffer solid clay which is not ideal for vegetables.

Before allocating a plot I make quite sure that the person concerned has got plenty of help. This is particularly applicable to someone with a young child as was the case here. She has a husband who is on shiftwork plus the great bonus a very useful and enthusiastic and knowledgeable father who visits them at the weekend from the south coast.  She sounded on the phone as if she really wanted the site so I decided to respond to this by arranging to meet her the same day at 2:15 PM. She looked at the plot, which happened to be the last one available, enthused about it, whereupon I signed her up straightaway.

I also decided to write her a letter, something that I seldom do, giving her advice about what type of vegetables grow successfully and assuring her of my support at all times. She wrote back thanking me very much for my support and my welcome. What I like most of all is a satisfied customer. Apart from the intrinsic nature of being of service, one satisfied customer creates more satisfied customers when people spread the word. Her last words to me on leaving were ” I think we might come along tomorrow and make a start”.

With the dreadful rain that we are having at the moment I think it unlikely but I did admire her spirit.

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