The tall man from whom I rent his top floor has a big belly and small feet. So, it is common knowledge that he often has trouble keeping his balance – ‘mentally’ in particular.
And there Pete was the other frigid morning perched half naked on the front stoop of the South Philly house he just finished trashing worse than a roller derby — and where I’ve resided the last 30 months. He was bellowing to one and anyone two contradictory impossibilities: On the one hand he screamed that I wouldn’t get out of my sick bed and evict myself. And, on the other that I had suddenly tried to kill him…
The reaction from the wary neighbors was: Thar’ he blows, again…
I had sensed it crescendo-ing for the past few days with his hairpin change of habits and his being overly patronizing. And then, of course, came the abrupt reversal and very violent threats that began with the late-night, heavy-footed pacing on the creaky floorboards.
And I guess I was probably less frightened – at least before he killed the cat and pulled the large, pointed kitchen knife on me — than perturbed because he reminded me of my dangerous and disturbed ex-wife, Stephanie Blatt. She is a pathological liar. Or is it sociopathic? That really doesn’t matter. Obviously, I seem to send out distress signals inviting to my bosom the mentally sick, tired, miserable and disturbed.
Stephanie, naturally, doesn’t think she lies even when confronted by the so-called truth. Like when the doctors confronted her with the evidence that she had been poisoning me, just a swallow short of fatal.
Hmm… She really believes her lies. And so did I for years. And obviously for a while so did the police.
After all, who believes the husband? Or perhaps it is because I rarely explain myself – especially when the obvious should be so obvious. At least to those who pause to think. I think that is supposed to include Assistant District Attorneys as well as cops – even if they are confined to union work rules.
The trouble, especially for me, is that I just can’t fathom why people lie for no reason at all. Simply, I guess, it’s just what they do – whether sick, desperate or into Big Whoppers. And other times it is, indeed, hard to believe that a man may be telling the truth when you, yourself, might proffer a shameless untruth under his absurd and insane circumstances.
The unfortunate dilemma for Stephanie is that her lying could never save her from yet another deceit. And finally the Assistant District Attorney, Kate Thurston, who was quite willing to charge me with a heinous list of multiple felonies, initially, eventually dropped and withdrew everything – including my dignity.
And afterwards, when I sought that she help me regain what she enabled perfidious Stephanie to rob, rape and pillage – including my family, my honor and all other possessions – the ADA put on a guilty, defensive face and snapped her bascules: “Get a lawyer!”
Hmm… There is a lying conundrum in there somewhere, which is why I retorted to the unisex, pant-suited ADA: “Gee, I thought I was talking to one.”
Indeed, I do understand that those who may graduate at the bottom of their class are still called: A lawyer.
I bring this up because today, as we well know, everybody lies great and small. For instance, Lance Armstrong’s doping. And Te’o’s virtual girlfriend. Bush’s weapons of mass destruction. Clinton’s Monica. Meanwhile, it’s a travesty of our criminal and incivil injustice system that most lawyers are like counterfeiters passing bad paper and other lies. And then there are the nine-tenths ‘insiders’ of Wall Street liars, liars and no-body-gets-rich-not-being-a-liar…
It just goes ad nausea from the moment we first smile sweetly or shake hands, and then end up bitterly in court – or having an autopsy.
Obviously the truth is irrelevant. All that matters is what people are willingly led to believe. Fortunately, however, truth is the daughter of time. But in whose time? A lie may have no leg (to stand on) but a scandal has wings.
Yet, as that despicable cad and Bush’s for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted: “There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it. And that’s just a fact…”
Hmm… Now we know.
Look, I guess it’s downright oxymoronic to even wonder: Why people lie.
Mostly because we allow them. We schmucks are so willing to deny the hard truth instead of facing the cold facts. Hey, we even romance it poetically. Such as: Telling lies is a fault in a boy, an art in a lover, an accomplishment in a bachelor and second-nature in a married man.
There’s no denying that a lie told often enough becomes the truth… at least until sometime in history when we discover that history is bunk. That it was written by the victors.
And it makes you wonder, doesn’t it, if ALL the truth in the world doesn’t add up to one big lie.
The question more than ever is how we to repay the victims. How do we compensate for all the loss time? The thievery? The domination of misinformation by the powerful? The ostracism? When even old friends, instead of turning up to help, simply turn up their noses? How do we ever reincarnate some who were killed, or driven to suicide by the humiliation and the overreaching of both the law and the lying promulgators?
To put it modestly: We don’t. We can’t. There’s too much money in it. Dishonesty is good business. The odds may be short, but most folks rather take the long shot.
The undeniable reality is that people readily utter more falsehoods in even greater abundance than hydrogen. It‘s never going to cease and desist. When confronted by a choice, we choose to lie unless the alternative has more rewards or better consequences.
Fortunately my dear ol’ bourbon sipping Pappy well emboldened me, between those omnipotent puffs on his omniscient corn cob pipes: “Never let the bastards grind you down, son. What people choose to think is their problem…”
Meanwhile I thought my problem with Pete at the house would resolve itself – as previously challenging and discomfiting moments had before. But it didn’t. It got more terrorizing. And everybody got to lying according to protocol.
After all his tirades and terrorizing and the Jekyll and Hyde performances the neighbors finally called the cops. But Pete simply lied. He convinced the guys with Taser guns and shields that he was in his perfectly good senses.
Sometimes you’ve got to wonder what future cops learned spending 12 years in the third grade.
Hmm…Then a short bit later he knocked Sass, his beloved cat, into kitty heaven. And when I came upon the former purring machine settling firmly into rigor mortis he pulled a knife and hammer out of a plastic bucket. I figured I was about to witness some cryptic island voodoo. But then he turned them at me and bleated: “Don’t touch her! I knocked her out! Sass will wake up in the morning!”
“Where?” I asked. “In some bowery stew pot?”
Hmm… I’m getting a little old and slow for this. So I lied. Faked this way and that. And finally convinced Satan’s new best friend, that one of us was about to get hurt. And I’d prefer it not to be me.
I suggested that Pete hold that thought and knife for a moment. That confused him long enough for me to call and whisper to Pete’s wonderful support-group chief. And he notified some of the neighbors.
They all called the police at a station house less than 3 blocks away. But when the cops took so long, I again excused myself from Pete’s demonic eye-lock. (You know, there is nothing uglier than two out-of-shape white guys trying to pretend they know how kick, punch and do the Bruce Lee.)
I finally had to place the call myself. The cops came. And in spite of all the publicity of some mentally disturbed folks performing some major violent disturbances in places like Newtown, Connecticut, and Colorado and such, the cops still weren’t absolutely sure of their authority in these situations. Even when I showed them the dead cat and the knives, one of which he promised to use to re-sculpt me eye to eye.
Hell, if my ex-wife had sobbed this testimony my ass would have been hauled off to the eunuch arcade.
Hmm… Come to think of it, I was.
But these cops merely lied – sort of – when they said they were going to admit him at the local psychiatric ward for three days. They merely dropped him off. But then Pete lied when he said he was going in. However, when the cops drove off north, Pete apparently, well knowing how to work the system, went south.
Nobody seems to understand the truth in these situations. So everyone just puts in their shift instead of shifting for a better view of doing things.
And as of this writing, as far as I know, Pete’s sister is trying long distance from Florida to rally the troops to quit filibustering about what they supposedly can’t do, and start laying out what they must do beyond their union contracts. That is to quit lying to themselves about: This is the way things are.
Meanwhile, everybody but my ex, no doubt, is suggesting I find another bed tonight.
Hmm… I wonder what the neighbor’s tattooed wife is up to.
Anyway, in case you are wondering why I’ve stayed in Pete’s house it’s because unlike my wife, Pete has promised, each and every time, to try to do better. He lies. But, you know, he’s not bad, His DNA is just drawn that way.
In moments of acuity he admits he cherishes my needed financial input and the camaraderie of knowing someone else is in the house and will notice if something happens.
In truth, so do I.
And even more I have a strong devotion to loyalty. Pete gave me shelter from the storm, when so-called other friends closed their misinformed minds and sclerotic hearts.
But, like my wife, he who gives can also take it away. Still I wish there was something I could do for Pete. That is, when he’s not holding that knife. We can lie and hope he will be better. But he won’t. Just like I hope and lie that my ex-wife will get better before she also tries to kill her new beau. Hopefully with no more success.
Hmm. So far that is yet another thing she and Pete have in common.
Look, any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a person of some sense to know how to lie well. And just because someone maintains they are being sincere, doesn’t mean they aren’t sincerely lying.
Pete can’t help it. Stephanie can’t help it. We all can’t help it. That’s why we all lie.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…