Last week, WND introduced me as their “fiery new columnist.” The
problem is, when I re-read that first piece, I felt like it was pretty
tepid fare. So I figured that if I was going to live up to that kind of
PR, I’d better turn up the flame a bit. Otherwise people are going to
think I’m just another one of those big-mouthed, show-offy guys like
Limbaugh, or that other character … ah, whatshisname…Durdge? Hence,
I feel impelled to “show my stuff,” as it were. Hmmm, let’s see. OK.
How’s this for starters?
You’re a liar.
No no no. Don’t look around the room. I’m talkin’ to you,
Got your attention yet? Well, just follow along.
Somebody has just called you a liar. Does that make you mad? Because
you are, you know. Right now, everybody’s busy jabbering about
ol’ Bill, so don’t tell me that telling lies is no big thing. Otherwise
what’s all the fuss about? But the thing is, while you’re busy yammering
about Clinton’s latest sins, you’re forgetting the fact that you’re a
Have I said it enough yet?
You see, my theory (donning on my professor’s hat now) is that the
reason everyone is so engaged in this rather low-rent sideshow is that
it provides a great way for them to avoid looking at themselves. This is
why we love scandals and gossip. It’s why there’s no more “straight
media.” It’s all tabloid now. The reason — and this is from the
“experts” — that people are so addicted to “gossip-as-entertainment”
(political gossip is still gossip) is that it keeps them from paying
attention to their own troubles. It keeps them from having to look at
their own tawdry little lives.
If you deny that you’re a liar, I challenge you to see if you can go
through one day of your life, and tell me truthfully that you haven’t
told one single lie. White lie, black lie, I don’t care. I’m
talkin’ NO LIES, amigo. Go ahead, do it!
You can’t, can you? Because lying (and again we’re making no
distinction between “big lies” and “little lies”) is the way of the
world. I don’t care whether you’re trying to talk the cop that stopped
you out of giving you a ticket (“No, officer, I swear I didn’t run that
stop sign!” Yes you did. ), or telling your wife that the reason
you’re late is because you got caught in a traffic jam (You stopped
off and had a beer!). I don’t care whether it’s as simple as telling
someone that you love their new hairdo, when the fact is you think it
looks like hell.
But those aren’t real lies, you say. Oh really? Fine. Then
tell me where the line of demarcation is. Because a lie is a lie is a
lie. Besides that, I’ll bet my boots that besides “little lies,” you
probably tell some whoppers. If your ass is on the line, you’re gonna
lie. If you fudged on your last IRS report (made up some expenses that
didn’t really exist) you lied. Bigtime. That lie could send you to jail.
If you’ve ever cheated on your significant other and not fessed up to
it — you’re a liar. That’s right: concealment is a lie.
OK, you say. So I may lie now and then. But you’ve got to lie.
… at least a little bit … just to get through the day. And besides,
I didn’t really hurt anybody. Sound familiar? If not, just flip on the
Allright, I don’t have much space here, so let’s get down to the
nitty gritty. Why is telling a lie so bad? We’re not talking degree.
We’re talking about the act of lying; white lie … black lie … an
O.J. Simpson kind of lie … a Bill Clinton kind of lie … the whole
Now check this out. And this is just my theory. I say that a lie —
any lie — in and of itself is inherently evil. Who told the
first lie ever? Satan. Psalms 116.11 states: “I said in my haste. All
men are liars.” Whether or not you buy the Biblical version of
creation, it makes no difference. (Even if you do it simply on an
allegorical basis, just bear with me for a minute). If man was born a
pure, innocent, Godly being, and the human race was corrupted though
what? — a lie — then the entire race was polluted (i.e. we were born
sinners) because of a lie! I don’t care whether you’re a
Christian or a Jew or some damn, vegetable eating, whale-saving
Scientologist — the logic is still the same. We start out basically
good … that is, we’re like an empty vessel. We’re clean. Now, every
time you tell a lie, there are a series of actual, physical, emotional,
and neurological changes that take place in your body. In essence, your
being — to some degree — begins to get polluted.
Just think about it. When you lie what happens? You’ve got to expend
energy to remember the lie, and to cover it up. One lie leads to
another, and so forth. As your life goes on, each time you lie, you
beome more and more polluted. More of your “goodness” is tainted. At
some stage of the game you cross the line: you’ve become what’s known as
a “congenital liar.” That is, your conscience can no longer distinguish
between what’s true and what’s not true.
There’s another slightly less polite term for that state:
And another: Insanity.
Is O.J. Simpson a sociopath? Is Charles Manson insane? (I firmly
believe these are two men who epitomize evil.) Sorry, I don’t have the
answer. But the fact is — neither of those men has ever admitted to the
crimes they’ve committed. They’re both living proof of what happens when
the “pollution” takes over.
But now let’s get back to you. (Sorry, you don’t get off that easy).
Each time you tell a lie — little … big, I don’t care — you pollute
your system. (Your brain, your heart, your soul). Each time you lie, you
sacrifice something. It’s called your integrity. You become diseased.
The degree of the disease depends upon many factors, which we don’t have
time to discuss here. But if you don’t believe that the world — that
is, you (because you are the world) — is literally sick, then
we’ve got nothing more to discuss.
But how do I get through a normal day without lying, you ask? If I
don’t lie (i.e. if I tell my boss that I really think he’s a boor and
that I hate his guts), I’ll get fired! Sorry, pal. I can’t offer any
remedy for that one either.
The best example of someone who never lied was Jesus. And look what
they did to him. And I’ll bet that no matter how strong a Bible believer
you are, you don’t want to end up like that, do you?
But the truth is, if you don’t lie … perhaps that may happen
to you. You may literally be crucified. You may have a life full of
incredible suffering, instead of incredible pleasure (which is what most
of us are seeking).
The only way out of this dilemma is to look at yourself, and then
take some kind of action. (Just looking isn’t good enough. You’ve got to
change your behavior.) Nobody can do it for you. No amount of
“discussion” or “debate” is going to help. But I’ll guarantee you one
thing: If you keep wasting your precious time blabbing about Clinton (or
whoever the latest scandal is) … you’ll never have the opportunity to
look at your own shabby little life. You’ll never get in touch with your
own hypocrisy. You’ll never catch yourself when you succumb to
temptation … when you cheat, when you steal, when you lie. And that’s
your job while you’re here. To make yourself a better person. Not to sit
around like a bunch of monkeys and watch some dumb sideshow.
I know what’s coming next. And the answer is, no — I don’t
disinclude myself from any of this. In fact, I’ll tell you something. As
a child, I was a big-time liar. When I was around twelve, I was in
Freudian therapy for a period of about a year. Well, I thought I was
pretty smart, so I decided I’d try a little experiment: I decided that I
was never going to tell the therapist one true thing (except, name,
rank, serial number) about myself. Which is exactly what I did. So for
an entire year, I went in to this guy’s office and concocted one story
after another. (I had a ball, and I even got to get out of school
At the end of the year, when I was leaving (my family moved from Ohio
to California) I (smugly) told the doctor, “You know what, doc? I’ve
never told you one true thing the entire time I’ve been coming here. I
just made everything up.”
And this guy … who (being a Freudian) had literally never spoken
more than two words to me (“Uh huh.” “Yes, go on”) looked up at me and
said very quietly, “I know. “
I was aghast. Then he said something even weirder. He said “It makes
no difference to me. I learned just as much about you from the stories
you made up.” And with that, we bid one another goodbye, me feeling duly
Now you see, being a writer, I get a bit of an out. One of my
favorite books is entitled “How To Lie For Fun And Profit.” It’s a
fiction-methodology book written by Lawrence Block, a very good mystery
writer (and a journalist as well). Block points out that “all writers
are essentially liars.” Especially writers of fiction. And he’s right.
That’s what we do — we make up stories. So let’s say — at least as a
fiction writer — that I’ve been given a socially accepted outlet for my
But there came a point in my life — somewhere in my thirties — when
I realized, “My God, sometimes I actually don’t know when I’m making
things up, or if they really happened.” And that scared the hell
out of me. At that point, I decided to use myself as an experiment. I
began to try to cut lying entirely out of my life.
I’ll tell you … those first couple of years were a bitch, though it
did get easier as time went on. (Yes, lying is absolutely an addiction).
Did I succeed? In answer to that I’ll just say that the battle is
never over. You have to work constantly to stay “aware.” Like my friend
Dennis Prager, I do not believe that the human being is by nature
“good.” And even if you consider yourself “saved,” you’re not off the
hook by any means. Because you’re still subject to temptation. You still
stumble. You still fall.
So, to wind up this little sermon, I’ll simply suggest this. Quit
wasting your precious hours gossiping about this Clinton thing. He’ll
get what’s coming to him (he is already, isn’t he?). Quit watching so
much TV; quit reading so many papers, and get the hell out of the
Internet chat rooms. Stop all that, and take some time to look inside
yourself. I’m not talking about some stupid state of meditation, or
hypnotizing yourself with “positive self-affirmations” (what a load of
crap!). I’m talking about — without making any arguments or excuses —
I can tell you that it’s probably not going to be a very pretty
picture. I can also tell you that it’ll be the beginning of a very
interesting journey. So, that’s my challenge to you. You can accept it,
or you can remain amongst the ranks of the blind.
The choice is yours.
One quick final note: I want to thank all of you who took the
time to send me email. I’m truly gratified. However, I must say this —
because of one particularly stupid email by an individual (out of sheer
benevolence, this dolt shall remain nameless) who thought he’d get cute
with me because there were some grammatical errors in my response to his
letter (which was pretty dumb to begin with). So here’s the deal, folks.
I don’t proof-read or spell-check my emails, OK? I have to spend
enough bloody time answering them. I’m not whining; I’m simply
not going to do it. If you don’t like that — tough. I’ll make my best
effort to respond personally to each and every one of your letters
(you try answering 300 emails sometime!). And if you take umbrage
at my “no spellcheck policy,” please … go write some other
columnist. There’s a million of ’em out there who’d just love to put you
on their mailing list.