Friday, January 15, 2010

Lying: A Personal Experience

An anonymous reader asked in the comments section to the last post if I am capable of lying.

In terms of not volunteering certain facts, I have done this a number of times when I thought someone would be damaged by it, or would be driven to destructive behaviour by it. This can be a dangerous habit to get into, but then, in real life, there are sometimes circumstances in which certain truths would be devastating to people; and in fact, I can think of one example where I still wonder if telling someone all I knew was really the right thing to do. The truth, in that case, was devastating and debilitating. Maybe keeping my mouth shut would have been better...

Regarding the more obvious lies of commission, especially for the purpose of personal gain: I have a visceral aversion to these. I choke even on telling white lies for some reason, even when I want to tell them so as to make someone feel better. I dislike being lied to and I make it a rule to not lie to others (though I can imagine where lying might be morally justifiable). I honestly can say that I don't remember lying like this, except for the example below. It was a spectacular failure of an attempt, and it remains a good reminder to me to keep things straight up.

In 1999, when my record came out, I did a lot of traveling. This wore me down; I'd be home for a day or two, then off again for five days, then home for a day, then off again for three, then home for a week, then off for ten days, etc. And a typical day on one of these trips was, get up at 5, shower, get car to the TV station for the early morning show at 7....go all day doing interviews at radio, etc., play evening show, and then finally get into bed at 2 AM after a big dinner with the local Sony people, then up again at 5 to get an airplane to the next city. So I got worn down a few times.

Well, on one occasion, I landed in Vancouver (we lived in White Rock at the time) and drove home (45 minutes), arriving at night. I spent time with the kids and my wife, then tried to sleep, but couldn't, even though I was exhausted.

I had to get up very early the next morning and fly out again, this time to Denver, and I was literally almost falling asleep at the check-in counter. I said, "Look - I'm falling asleep and as soon as I land, I gotta go perform on TV. Can you please put me in a row of three, where the other two seats aren't assigned, so I can lay down?"

So the lady said, "We have the very back row clear. The chairs don't recline, but that won't matter if you're laying down sleeping across all three". I said great, and I was on my way.

So I get on the plane, and I was so tired I actually felt *pain*, which I don't think I'd ever felt before from exhaustion. I sit down next to the window eagerly awaiting take off so I can lay down and pass out. Everyone was seated and ready to go. And then, disaster struck.

Some big goofy cowboy looking dude and his trashy wife stumbled on to the plane, and headed down the aisle right toward me.

"Oh can't be", I thought. I glanced around, but there were no other open!

And sure enough, they got to the back, glanced at their tickets, and plopped right in the two seats next to me. Inside, I felt a kind of desperate panic. I must sleep. I must sleep!

Anyway, I don't know what the hell happened in my head, but in that moment of panic, I mumbled, "no - no, wait, don't sit down" and blocked the seats lol. The flight attendant, who was right there, said, "Is there a problem?"

And I said, pleadingly, "yeah, I need these seats, I gotta sleep". And then, in my half asleep state, I remember saying, "All three of these are mine"!

So the flight attendant snapped, "You're trying to tell me you bought *three tickets* for this flight, and these are all yours?".

Great idea, I thought. And I sort of feebly choked out the words, "uh - um...yeah!".

Understandably, she shot me a digusted look and snapped, "don't be ridiculous. Move out of the way"!

Of course, she was right: I had said something totally ridiculous - and obviously untrue. In my waking, painful stupor, I'd tried to salvage my yearned-for "coma time" by saying something so stupid, that I am embarrassed by it to this day.

And what was worse about it all is that, of course, my seat wouldn't recline; so I had to fly all the way to Denver bolt upright, nodding off in weird five or ten second bursts with my head snapping forward, like a WWI soldier stuck in a trench for a week.

The only consolation was that the cowboy and his wife turned out to be drunk, and while I was passing in and out of hallucination next to them, they became belligerent towards the flight attendant and were met by the Denver police getting off the ramp, who handcuffed them and took them away!

Anyway, minus this exception, I just don't remember lying ever being a part of my life. And in real life, I am never in situations where I would even feel tempted to lie, because there is just no need. It just doesn't come up.