Somebody gets a wild hair, her hackles up and pointed, her indignation flaring, and tells a lie. This lie spreads to the person she tells it to and it spreads to the person the person the lie was told to castigates, accusing this person for the information she's heard. It's a lie, but it doesn't matter now. The lie has spread its evil little wings over everything.
Frankly, it's a made-for-television movie, the liar, the believer, and the accused all in a nasty love triangle. It sucks.
Especially when you are the one who is castigated. Mostly, these scenarios spread like wildfire in seventh grade, but they've been known to haunt the lives of adults, too.
Listen, I know people lie. I think I've written about it here before. Two lies a day, the experts say. The way of the world. A famous writer on this site says fiction is a believable lie. We make up stories all the time in order to finish a bigger story, to complete it the way we want it to end. We say we went to Paris, when, in fact, all we did was fly to Des Moines. Lies make the world go round, keep people from hacking each other with knives, using words instead. Lies make us feel better, soothe the savage beast. Until they don't.
I would like to condemn lies outright, but I can't. Yes, I've told my own white and sometimes darker lies. They are useful. I'm teaching a fiction class tomorrow at UCLA, and I know I will talk about lies in terms of how they apply to fiction. I will encourage my students to tell a slew of them.
But my advice is this: before you tell a bold-faced, outright lie, think. Say a little prayer to the god you believe in. Decide if it's worth it. Think about karma and the way the world always reveals a lie. It comes back. And it bites.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org