Survival Guide to Homelessness

No matter where you go, there you are.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

An Advanced Course in Lying

I was at a theme park the other day, and I decided to test some interaction theories I have. I was riding a small ferris wheel and while it was unloading, I was bored. The thing can only unload a few cars at a time, and the rest of the riders spend quite a long time waiting. My two year old son sat next to me, also bored, so I reached out to a strut next to the ride bucket and pushed, causing us to swing. It wasn't too long before the ride attendant noticed the motion and shouted out.

Hey, why are you swinging? By which she meant that I was not allowed to swing my bucket.

I said, Hey, I really don't know. You know I think the people in the bucket above me did something to set me swinging. By which I meant that there was nothing she could do about it. There was nothing the people in the next bucket could do that would remotely affect my ride, much less start me swinging. Nothing. The idea had no credibility at all. The attendant knew it. I knew it. The people in the bucket above me knew it.

But I said it implacably, unhesitatingly. It was impossible to contradict me. As difficult as it is for most people to lie, it is even more difficult to challenge a lie put forward confidently, no matter how obvious the lie is. Often an obvious lie is more powerful than the truth, because the truth is reasonable. Truth can be challenged, where lies must simply be endured.


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