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I'll Just Lie....so They Believe They're Right.

     From as far back as I can remember I have been told from my parents, leaders, teachers, and instructors that "there is a right way and wrong way to go about things." After a time, I taught myself that it is better to let them believe they are right, than to argue the point. And so, I lie (or is that considered fibbing?) so that people are satisfied that the end result I have achieved is because they corrected my path.

     I'll never forget a time when I worked on a Dairy Farm and the boss had to leave for the day. He came around the farm-house to where I was splitting wood and saw me swinging a splitting-mawl and said, "you need to use the wood splitter. It's a machine and much faster." Having worked for him long enough, I knew that arguing was pointless. How do you argue with someone who is never wrong/mistaken? He left for his day-trip. I turned off the wood splitter. I grabbed tha Mawl and went back to splitting the wood my way. What he didn't know was that my dad was a tree surgeon for Davey Tree Expert Company at one time and drummed into my head the finer art of tree identification. The White ash that I was splitting was kind of like the knife-through-hot-butter thing. To me, it was a waste of time to have the machine do something that I could do faster (had it been Elm or Maple, I would never have attempted the "by-hand" thing). Returning that night, the boss looked at what I'd accomplished and said, "Ya see? Ya Get a lot more done when you use the splitter." I just smiled and agreed.

     In school as a kid, in 7th grade, the teacher had this specific way he wanted us to learn the fifty states. He wanted us to learn them alphabetically. "If you try to memorize them any other way, you'll forget them." It got to be a game. Every Friday, students were let go to lunch in the order they could completely write down the fifty states. I was the first one out of the class and enjoying an extra long lunch break every single Friday. So one day, he said, "Raymond, tell the class how you do it." I responded, "Well, I memorize them alphabetically, even if that's not the way I write them down, because it's much easier that way." I was lying my ass off. "You see class, this is what I've been trying to tell you. It's the best way." I never told him that in my mind, I see the map of the United States, start in Maine and go down the coast, then back up through the neighboring states, continuing across the country in that same pattern.

     My best friend is an architect and now going to school to get his masters in the Arts with his focus on creative writing. One day he read a story I wrote and asked my wife Brenda how I write with such smooth flow to the story (usually when creating fiction). She told him, "Well, that's what I can never figure out. He never has a piece of paper, pen, pencil or anything. He just types and it's there." Mark responded almost a bit pissed off, "No OUTLINE?" She just shook her head, and he said that was impossible. You can't create a story that is of interest to anyone by just shooting from the hip." She told me about this and then one day when he found out I was writing a book, he approached me and said, "so what's your technique?" How do you get all the characters and the events to come together and make sense, without getting anything confused?" I said, "Oh, I just use an outline, do some brainstorming, make notes, then organize it, then use that as a guide to get all the facts straight." He looked at me smiling, "I thought so. Your wife said you never do that because she sees no notebook or pen." I met his glare and promptly came up with the perfect lie to back up the first one. "Oh, that's because I do it in a Microsoft Word or Works document and then just keep referring back to it. I'm a sloppy writer so it's better if I type it."  I could see him smiling and happy that he was right. I reassured him that it was impossible to write a good entertaining story with a plot that holds the readers' attention, without an outline. Later that night I found the pages accumulating rapidly, adding mystery, suspense, romance, and intrigue as the characters dealt with their issues and made headway toward handling the crisis within the story. 

     I made pancakes for breakfast today. I make them from scratch. Everyone said they were the best they'd ever had. "What's your recipe?"

     "Um....it's something I found online, I'll have to get back to you."

     "Okay, great! They were terrific!"

      I walked away from the conversation. I was scratching my head. I'm glad I thought of that "online" answer.

      "Recipe?........... What's a recipe?