Over the past eighty-plus years I have known quite a few people who today would probably be described as being “veracity challenged,” or “veracity impaired,” or something like that. Telling falsehoods is really nothing new. One of the more often repeated passages in the New Testament states: “And the truth was not in him.”
I remember an older neighbor who often used the expression, “It takes a lot of people to make up a world.” Usually he would add, “And I’m afraid quite a few of them are nothing but damned liars.
“There are different kinds of liars,” he would explain, “with different levels of falsehood and for different reasons. Some are kind of creative and are innovators – entertainers, really. If they would put their stories down on paper, instead of telling them in barbershops and taverns, they would be considered short story writers or authors. Then there are the ‘Compulsive Liars.’ These windjammers seem compelled to continually tell fibs for no reason at all. Some of them can’t look at their watch and tell you the time of day without adding or subtracting an hour or two.
“At the bottom of the list we have what I consider the ‘Repulsive Liars.’ The worst and most damaging of these are the gossips who tell their lies for the sole purpose of damaging another person’s reputation. Slightly more acceptable are those whose lies are created solely for financial or political gain. In dealing with them, you’d better keep your hand on your pocketbook. I prefer these crooked scoundrels to the gossips, though. Remember, Shakespeare said: ‘He who steals my purse steals trash, but he who steals my good name takes from me everything I have.’” Some liars take great pride in their accomplishments:
FIBS AND FABRICATIONS
Although I lack a real profession,
There are ways of getting by.
I can hide my lack of knowledge
With a crafty, well-told lie.
I look on this “fibbing skill” as
A welcome God-given gift.
A few well-told lies often give
Listener’s spirits a lift.
I use my imagination –.
Creativity’s my game –
If my lies are enjoyed, I feel
Not one twinge of guilt or shame.
Here is how I build my stories:
I learned many years ago
To start with a simple fact, then
Make up the rest as you go.
In liar’s contests, I always
Think fast and get in my licks
It helps to pretend I’m involved
In national politics.
I don’t just rest on my laurels
Even when telling white lies.
I do my creative best, and
Let my mind soar to the skies
No one’s interested in stories
That are moss-covered and old.
I challenge myself, making each
Lie the best I’ve ever told.
After my long years of fibbing,
I have come to realize
Lots of folks really like having
The wool pulled over their eyes.
Oh, I’ll admit a few tend to
Wise up later, and get sore,
But soon forget and forgive, then
They come back looking for more.
If an occasional listener
Questions my veracity,
I admit I’m a liar and as
Proud of that as I can be.
Most folks have a favorite hobby
That requires some special skill.
Mine is fabricating fables,
As I’m sure I always will
Until that bright day when Heaven’s
Great Golden Book includes me.
Saints will read my name, followed by:
Emil Schmit is the 88 year old father of Pam Buttikofer, one of the owners of Imperfect Women. Emil continues to write although age and health issues have slowed him down a bit. He is a is a self-trained poet, free-lance writer, public speaker, and journalist. His weekly column, “Rhyme and Reason,” appeared for over twenty years in the Dubuque, Iowa daily newspaper, the Telegraph Herald. You can read more of Emil’s Bio here. The typewriter pictured on the bio page is one that he sat at for over 50 years creating many of his “rhymes and reasons.”