As you get older, your faith in mankind is further fractured. You hear false statements: “You might feel a little pinch,” “No, not a problem at all,” “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind,” “I’ll get that to you right away,” and “everything included.” Often your first heartbreak is felt after someone says, “I’m sorry,” which makes you wonder why they would say that because if they really were, they probably wouldn’t have done it to begin with. My oldest daughter lost her faith in me forever because of a lie I told her to protect her. She came home one day from school with a look of disgust on her maturing fifth-grade face. “Remember what you told me about kissing a boy?”
I cringed, preparing for defense. I had told her when she was little and asked about kissing boys that our family had a strange biological reaction to kissing a member of the opposite sex before the age of 16 — that the result would be instant nausea followed by vomiting — due to the mixture of her unbalanced, hormonal saliva with his. I made this up because a friend of mine’s child of that same age had already been caught kissing boys open-mouthed on several occasions.
“You lied,” accused my indignant daughter. “So, I’m guessing if I smoke a cigarette my hair won’t start falling out either?”
“Well,” I tentatively replied, “no. But you will start coughing up blood.”
She didn’t buy it.
Those lies, though made with good intention, in turn, caused her to test everything I said from that point on, much to her demise and my horror.
Even if our parents don’t let us down with their “stories” intended to protect or humor us, our teachers and other leaders will. Out teachers told us Pluto was a planet. It isn’t. They told us Columbus found America. It was already here and plenty inhabited so that was later found untrue (not to mention the idiot was going the wrong direction trying to find another continent — and we still honor him with A Day?). We are told that we will regret our choices as teens and we accept that that means immediately … which rings false. It isn’t until much later, years in fact, that we realize how much time we wasted. We are told, “it will be okay,” when really it only gets “less terrible.”
We are told not to speed and watch law enforcement vehicles not following the laws of the road. We believe in our leaders to find they were unfaithful, deviate, thieves, or simply liars. Bill Clinton wasn’t a bad president. He was a bad husband, and that shouldn’t have been our concern. But when his infidelities were brought to light, we didn’t care so much about his problems with his wife, but were offended by the fact he lied to US about it. “I did not have sexual relations….” well, you know how it went.
We are told by our employers that we will get that raise, get those benefits, get that day off, only to be disappointed. We are told by our lovers that they are “working late” or that the person of the opposite sex is “just a friend” until we catch them in bed together (former not present husband BTW). We are told by college admissions’ that our expensive education will be of great benefit to our future, only to find ourselves behind the checkout counter at the local grocery store with bills that will take decades to repay. Government and religious officials are found selling information, stealing money or taking advantage of others for their personal interests. Contracts have hidden fine print and mechanics are caught causing things to fix the next time.
We are teased by commercials of plump, juicy meat patties overflowing with crisp, colorful vegetables to receive a Whopper (really, this JUST happened to me) with a half-slice of cheese, a patty the circumference of a tennis ball and a tomato slice the size of a 50-cent piece. We open our Family Size box of cereal to find it half-full and get to Happy Hour just in time to find a bunch of gloomy lushes mulling their misfortunes over mugs of warm beer.
A lifetime of realized falsehoods make us bitter and unable to trust. Then we lie to our loved ones: “sure, that outfit looks great on you” and our parents, “yes, mom, it’s only gonna be us girls” and they lie to us: “I’m not crying. Something was in my eye,” or our friends lie: “I’d love to help you move but I just have so much to do…”
And then we have children. We lie to them and they lie to us. It just goes on. We don’t have trust because we don’t see enough or practice enough honesty.
We are doubtful and disillusioned. We are disappointed, dispirited, and disenchanted. We want something magical, something true, something good and something reliable.
Good thing we still have ice cream, bacon and had the honor of being alive during the periods of society that were influenced (or infected) by Steve Jobs, George Carlin, Mark Twain and Walt Disney.