Older Than Dirt: Liar, Liar!

Does anyone know the real difference between a fib and a lie?

When sister and I were little, our mother could read our foreheads. Oh yes. She would just push back our bangs and stare at our little faces. We were so convinced that this technique worked, we spilled our guts every time.

In the beginning, sister was convinced that she could wash off the lie. When she knew we were in trouble, she would go in the bathroom and just scrub the lies right off her forehead. Of course this was hopeless, because I would give her up in a minute. I was the baby, and somewhat of a cry baby.

Unfortunately, our own children heard the stories from their grandma about this forehead thing. So for us it only worked for a few years.

By the time our kids are teenagers, they can lie without batting an eye. As Judge Judy often says, "If their mouths are moving, they are probably lying." Sometimes I have to wonder if that could be their parents' fault.

Who hasn't told their child at least once, "Tell them I am not home," when they answered the phone? (Of course, with caller ID and cell phones, this is no longer an issue.) My own mother often hid in the bedroom while I told the bakery man (whom she had no money to pay), "My Mom is sleeping."

If we questioned this behavior, we were told that this was not really lying, but more like a little white lie, or just a fib. It did not take long to figure out that they were actually telling us that GROWN-UP people lie, that it was OK for adults to lie, but not kids.

Pretty soon, sister and I would try to outflank our teachers. "I did my homework, but I forgot it and my Mom went to work already so I can't go get it. I was late today cause my sister is sick and my mother wasn't sure if I was getting sick too." They sound pretty lame now, but teachers couldn't read foreheads!

As an adult, the stories just change a little. "My car wouldn't start, so I am late. The baby sitter got sick, so I won't be able to make lunch. I cannot come into work today because I have a dentist appointment that I forgot about. I think I must have eaten something bad. My stomach is all messed up."

And whose driver's license has their real weight? Not many, I would guess. Everyone knows the Motor Vehicle Division doesn't have a scale!

A good resume is a must when looking for work. So maybe we fudge a bit on how much experience we really have. When being out of work is not an option, you do what you have to.

As a former property manager for many years, the most common fib I ever heard from a resident was, "We have one cat." I know now that almost no one has ONE cat! Others forgot about having a pot-belly pig, or a snake, or just about every other kind of animal you can imagine. They were all smuggled into the building. People say what they have to, in order to keep their pets. Who wouldn't?

So, what is the real difference between a fib and a lie? I believe that it has a lot to do with whom it might hurt. No one wants to tell someone how bad their haircut is, or that their new dress looks like crap. So we often have to figure out if it indeed would hurt anyone. Telling a little white lie can sometimes be the best thing for all concerned.

However, I think we should base all the big stuff on the truth. Now that we are older, we shouldn't have reason to tell fibs much anymore. Hopefully our friends and family respect our honesty and like us just the way we are.

This is my story and I'm sticking to it!