There is a commandment somewhere on the tablets the anthropologists can't manage to find. It says (reportedly): don't lie.
I lie all the time. I do it to protect other people from truths I fear people cannot - or should not have to - handle.
Sometimes I lie because the truth would break the hearts of people I love.
But I also lie to make money. (I have two jobs and neither employers knows the other exists).
Other times I lie about where I am going (Kate doesn't need to know that I am going out at 9pm for a cheap bottle of hootch because I can't sleep and oh dear God please tell me that in heaven, everyone sleeps, all the time. Please? Thank you).
My lying concerns me. It is true that I can go to confession and bore some sweet old priest with a list of all the times I told my brother I was really feeling fine, and thank you for asking, when the truth was I was sharpening my knives and looking for a way to commit the deed - and still look pretty in the casket.
But we - the priest and I - would be there in that hot and uncomfortable cell for a long time if I gave all this information. And sometimes I think to myself: how terrible for the priest who has to listen to people's sins.
"Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last confession. Twice I drank a bottle of Night Train and ran naked through Cooper's Square. Nine times I interfered with myself while thinking of Anna Nicole. I hate animals and children because they are loud and smelly. I rarely bathe and I have not flossed in a year. Oh! And I got fired from my job for drunkenness and something they call sexual harassment. Bastards! Is that their sin, or mine? Okay! That about covers it. What's the penance?"
Where was I?
Oh. My lying. There has been something (lately) that I lie about all the time, to everyone. Even to Lindsey.
Sometimes when work is slow and I have the inclination, I go to Woodlawn - all the way up there in the Bronx. There, I sit in the cemetery (it's a big one). Because my parents don't have graves, looking at those of other people gives me peace. I do not know the people buried at Woodlawn, but I wonder who those people - all those people - are. And I hope they don't mind that I come and sit with them, even though my visits are for my own benefit - that at best, their resting places are a proxy for the graves of my deceased parents.
It is not a sadness thing. I don't go up there and cry or cling to a stranger's headstone. But I do spend hours and hours there. I sit and think about there people buried there, and I wonder who they are, and I ask myself if I could talk to them, what one thing they wished they had done differently before it was all over.
My mother, who went out with real style, said on her deathbed, "I wish I had worried less and laughed more."
My father probably said something but I'll never know what it was. I wasn't there. But I can damn sure tell you what he would have done differently, and if you have been reading my internet diary this long, you know, too.
But that was not my point.
Lying. I lie far more than my conscience allows.
How much lying do you do? Do you have regrets? And if lying is ever legal, when? why? how?