You can’t swing a dead cat in Austin today without hitting a presidential candidate. It’s a sad state of affairs. With so much politicin’ goins ons I thought I’d write about lies. I don’t think you can be a politician without lying. The two seem to go hand in hand like Republicans and corruption.
A little over a year ago my brother came to me and said he had made the choice to never lie. He had read about, and thought about, the concept of never lying and decided that it is a better way of living. He may be right. His declaration left me thinking about lies. Mostly, my own. One of my sustaining bullshit lines is that “you don’t have to believe in Jesus to do the right thing.” – something I say all too often. Was I doing the right thing with my lies? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I lie all the time.
Lies worth telling
Alec is my girl friend’s fifteen year old son. On many occasions complete strangers have commented that my ‘son’ looks just like me. It’s just easier to lie and say, thank you. If I chose not to lie I have to explain why I’m hanging out with a 15 year old. It’s a lie of no consequence and of simple convenience. That may not the kind of lie I need to be concerned with.
The movie “The Razor’s Edge” starring Bill Murray had a profound impact on me. In a subplot of the movie, Denholm Elliot plays Elliott Templeton, a dedicated Parisian socialite. Elliot defines himself through his snobbish and upper class ways and treats Bill Murray’s character, Larry Darrell, most unfairly. He has a general disdain for Larry throughout his life. (Larry is of low breeding.) On his deathbed, Elliot is waiting desperately in anticipation of being invited to the social event of the season. Larry lies to Elliot. He tells the dying man that a private messenger has just arrived and had brought an invitation. Elliot’s last moments were joyful, believing that he had been accepted into Parisian high society. It was a lie that told of Larry’s forgiveness toward Elliot. It was a forgiveness that was un-asked and undeserved. It was forgiveness built on a lie. The only consequence was the happiness of a dying man.
Other lies also seem worth the effort. Like when your best friend in high school gets his ass handed to him in a street fight behind a bar, lying isn’t such a bad thing. As you are helping him into the car you let him know that he got off a couple of good hits before that big guy beat the crap out of him. You say things like, “Hell, I’m surprised the guy was still standing. You hit him hard. I’ll bet he takes steroids or he’s on some kind of drugs.” Little lies like that seem decent and good.
“Oh yeah, well, my love for God is more perfect than yours because I won’t eat swine.”
“I call your no pig diet, and raise you by cutting off the foreskin off my penis.”
“Okay. That’s a good one. But I’ll do that also, and I’ll whip myself when I pray. God will certainly like me best.”
When did religion become an episode of Big Brother? When did God demand that we spend our time here trying to curry her favor?
Religion’s biggest enemy has always been this dumb-ass competition. God doesn’t care who you have sex with. Or what kind of food you eat. Or the clothes you wear. God doesn’t even care if we hurt one another. Sins reside without God. If we exist forever the memory of hurting other people will bare emotional scars throughout eternity. I already feel bad about some of the dumb crap I’ve done. Imagine feeling guilty for a hundred thousand years. Guilt is a heavy weight to carry through all eternity. I’d rather do the right thing.
“Okay guys, I’ve talked to God and he wants us to cut our penis foreskin off.”
“God said that? Are you sure? Because when God talked to me earlier, he said we should take a hammer and beat our penis flat every morning.”
“I vote we just cut off the foreskin. All in favor?”
Lying isn’t a sin. It’s just something we do. It’s this religious one-upmanship that pushes the concept of lying into the ‘yes or no’ category. Asking if lying is wrong is like asking if yawning is wrong. I think the only sin comes from lying to yourself.
Besides, God likes me best. Hopefully, someone will arrive with a document from God declaring my Sainthood moments before I die. If not, I hope God will have the courtesy to lie and tell me I got a couple of good shots in before life kicked my ass.