I have this scar on my face left over from when i was assaulted in Williamsburg. It isn’t directly from the mysterious blunt object those guys used to smash my face. Instead, it’s from a deep impression my glasses made on the bridge of my nose as they were driven deep into my face flesh (by the mysterious blunt object). It’s kind of a cute little sideways “y” shape, and it breaks out (i get a zit on it) all the time.
So here’s the thing: It is as plain as the nose it lives on. You can clearly see a crease that branches a little. And it’s pretty obviously a scar as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, some people just can’t see it. It is an incredible mystery to me. I will put the tip of my index finger on it, say “Here it is, at the tip of my finger” and shine a light on it and some people absolutely deny seeing it.
But others, more intimate, closer friends or loved ones, they can see it without any help. And i say something like, “but isn’t it hard to see?” to which they generally reply, flatly: “Nope.”
This brings me to something I think about occasionally, as I try to figure out how to be comfortable in my own skin and navigate the world like adults do, and that is the white lie. The lie you tell because you know, you really just know that it will make something better or easier or that it is what a person would rather hear than the truth.
In general, I don’t want the lie. And so, being a devout follower of the golden rule, I tend to be brutally bluntly honest about things that others might sugarcoat or outright lie about. But people lie to me, and I am tempted more and more to lie to them, as i can see how it would ease many many situations… like if I say were to want to postpone a date with someone: I could say that I was feeling tired and really antsy about not having any clean clothes and i haven’t had good couch time in a while so I would rather go home tonight rather than plod through a date going through the motions, and do laundry.
It would be infinitely more in the interest of smooth relations to say something like, “I got a last minute project at work and it’s going to take me until midnight to finish, can we please reschedule?” Everyone wins. In the honest scenario I probably would not get the reschedule, or ever see that girl again.
But it comes back to wanting to hear the truth because it just feels cleaner to me. Here’s a story and then I’m done. I’m at high school graduation, after the ceremony and walking to my car when a dad stops me. “Hey, you have a white gown on.”
“Yeah?” (most of them were green, mine was white because I’m special)
“Well i was watching you, and I just wanted to tell you: when you tossed your cap in the air it flew higher than anyone else’s” He had a glistening twinkle in his eye, kind of like when a youth minister is filled up with spreading the holy spirit to a new audience.
“Really? You sure?” I asked, knowing it hadn’t.
“Yeah! It arched up and over all the other hats. I know because it was white and I had seen you throw it.” Smile, searching eyes.
“Wow. Thanks a lot, mister,” Which I delivered with a genuine attempt at gratitude emulation.
“You’re welcome, I just thought you should know.” And with this he packed his family into the minivan and drove off.
He was lying. My hat had caught an edge in the downdraft of the A/C and skittered off sideways right at a friend of mine, who returned it. It was in fact the lowest hat toss of the day. I felt dirty the rest of the day.