I HAVE JUST STARTED reading a book by M. Scott Peck, the now-deceased author of the wildly popular bestseller, “The Road Less Traveled.” This one is entitled “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil.” The second part of the title worries me because I lie all the time yet I don’t think of myself as evil. Am I?
My most recent lie was to a group of six women who meet for dinner once a month. Through a chance meeting with a friendly stranger I was eventually invited to join the group, and while I had an agreeable time the first evening, after the second one I realized there was no future in it for me. These were simply not my people, and certainly not my restaurants! One hint was that never, during either evening, was I asked anything about myself by anyone. Instead the others talked about their own lives, having several things in common: two of the women are related and three share an employer. I began as an outsider and remained one. Still, they included me in their planning emails and I was on the docket for the next dinner.
I could have said I was sick that day. I could have said I was having surgery, or that my car was in the shop or my husband had a work thing or my non-existent dog died or my septic tank was overflowing or I sprained my ankle or I just plumb forgot. Better yet, I could have told the truth and said, “My feelings are hurt because I seem to matter so little to all of you. Besides, we have nothing in common, and I don’t really feel anything for any of you either.” That would have been A, guilt-tripping, and B, unkind, especially since what I wanted was an eternal escape, not their hollow (or even heartfelt) apologies and the need to come up with another excuse next time.
So I sent a group email announcing I would be going to China before the next dinner. Apparently they bought it, and with nary a question about why, or for how long, or where in China, or anything at all, instead emailing their well-wishes for a good trip, clearly substantiating my suspicion that I was a non-essential groupie to their superstar circle. End of story.
I didn’t feel guilty since nobody was hurt, and for all I know they are glad I’m gone. Still, it was a lie, and were I Pinocchio my nose would be growing as I write this. (I better read more of Peck’s book, and quick.) Anyway, just for fun, try to get through one day without lying. Be honest if anyone asks you any of the following questions:
Do I look like I’ve put on weight?
Do you like my hair this color?
Do I look old to you?
Do you think I should have a face lift?
Did you like the movie I recommended?
Who do you think you will vote for?
How much exercise do you get each day?
What do you think of Donald Trump?
What do you think of Michelle Obama?
Should illegal aliens get free health care?
How much TV do you watch every day?
How much do you give to charity?
Are you a vegetarian?
Is Bruce Jenner male or female?
Do you like yoga?
Are you afraid of death?
Are you an organ donor?
Are you pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian?
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.