Just as I was settling in to watch the evening news, my wife yelled from the kitchen.
When she addresses me like that, I know I am in just as much trouble as when my mother called me by my full name.
“Who ate the last of the pie?” she demanded to know.
In times like this, denial is the best route.
“Not me,” I told her.
I pointed to the cats, who were looking conveniently guilty.
In response, she pointed to a dirty pie plate in the sink.“Uh-huh and who left that there?”
Again, I pointed to the cats.
“Must I be honest?”
“Okay, ask again,” I told her.
“Who ate the pie?”
“It wasn’t me.”
“You are incorrigible.”
“Yet you still trust me.”
“I do, but I don’t know why.”
Which raises some interesting questions.
The first time I thought deeply about trust, I was tagging along with my father while he went shopping for a car. We had just stepped onto a notorious used car lot, when a guy in a plaid sports jacket clamped an arm around my father’s shoulder and pointed at a weary old station wagon.
“She’s a runner,” he proclaimed.
I was only in second grade but I could spot oil leaks, bald tires and rust with the best of them. I didn’t believe a word coming out of his mouth.
“Dad,” I said once the salesman was out of earshot, “do you believe that guy?”
“Sure,” he said.
“Because he doesn’t lie about the important stuff.”
That struck me.
Not long after, I overheard my parents talking about an election.
“You can’t trust that guy,” my mother said.
“Why?” my father asked.
“Because he tries too hard to be sincere,” she said.
The guy won and mom was right.
That struck me too.
How can people trust someone who is obviously lying and not trust someone who is obviously sincere?
The answer is in our head.
The human brain evolved not to understand reality, but to survive it.
Reality comes at us too hard, too fast and with too much detail to comprehend. So we reduce the incomprehensible into simple stories that seems truer than actual, authentic truth.
It is the essence of fiction. Something that comedian Steven Colbert coined as truthiness.
And on a subconscious level we know we do this, so we constantly evaluate the veracity of truthiness. Do people who lie about the little things, also lie about the big things? Can we trust people who tell the easy truths with the difficult ones?
It is a critical skill and absolutely vital for watching the evening news.
Soon after my wife had joined me on the couch, a sincere young man with an expensive haircut and an impressive blue suit breathlessly proclaimed, “BREAKING NEWS”.
“I don’t know if I trust him,” my wife remarked.
“He’s too slick.”
“Oh, I trust him,” I tell her.
“Yeah, he is just reading a teleprompter – so I trust that he is reading it correctly, but…”
“I certainly wouldn’t trust someone that slick with a piece of pie.”
She sighed. “A lot of people are like that.”
45 thoughts on “My Little Lie”
In important matters (so – no pie, lol!) I have the attitude “lets wait and see” no matter whether someone is sincere, trying very hard, how his or her appearance is – looks can be very deceiving! But I did like your post – it is very important to know who you can trust and who not, so unfortunately time is the revealer of the truth:)
I saved this for the perfect moment – recliner in a good position, ready for a power nap, iced coffee at the ready. Now – read. But, then you make me think and laugh at the same time. 🙂 The pie is easy – eat, but wash the dish and put it away. Telling when someone is being truthful is more challenging especially if it has anything to do with politics or a ‘news’ show. First, I just assume everyone involved in politics is lying because someone is paying them, and it isn’t you and me. Second, those good looking folks aren’t giving us any ‘news,’ they really are just reading stories off that teleprompter. The days of Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley when they actually reported news is long gone. Good post.
You’re right, trust is a complicated thing. Sometimes we trust for all the wrong reasons….
The old pie test. That’s an excellent judge of character. I’d fail often, but my tummy would be happy.
I am of sterling character – until sweets are involved.
That was a fun read about pie, life, relationships and philosophy. Great mixture. Makes a perfect pie.
You can have the last pie in my household; just keep your hands off the last of the ice cream.
Last of the ice cream? I am still going with blaming the cats.
Bubba just tried to blame my missing sandwich on…the cat. It must be universal. Unless you own a dog.
Wait a minute – was somebody’s name on that last piece of pie? If not, I cry foul on interrogation. No truthiness required.
I am in agreement, unfortunately our opinions stand in stark contrast to pie. 🙂
Dirty pie plates tell no lies. 🙂 A very interesting read about truthiness as well!
That pie plate gave me away. Next time, no evidence.
I am a fan of pie so I’d take it mighty personal if someone ate the last piece of pie. I am after all the Queen Bean who rules the realm, deciding who is pie-worthy and who is not.
The advantage of being court jester – is pie. I always manage the extra piece. 🙂
In our household nobody eats the last piece of pie. It just shrinks by halves till uncountable crumbs remain.
Sounds like how milk is consumed around here. The one takes the last of it has to go to the store.
Trump is proof that you can lie your way to the top. And millions and millions of people don’t seem to mind that.
At the end of the film Anne Hall, Woody Allen tells the following joke:
Arguing that any aspect of politics is crazy is like arguing that you can’t get eggs from a man who thinks he is a chicken at an omelet breakfast.
What’s the big deal about eating the last piece of pie? Someone’s got to eat it — it might as well be you!
That’s was exactly my thinking, but like they say “opinions vary”.
Honestly? I despise “truthiness” — deeply, and profoundly. It’s a weasel word. We started on the downward slide when “transparency” popped up as a substitute for “true.” If you push the concept of transparency far enough, you get back to the old-fashioned concept of the bald-faced lie. It still lurks on car lots.
Here is how Wikipedia begin its discussion of “truthiness”.
In a word, that describes faith. In another word, it describes worldview.
In the next sentence, Wikipedia takes truthiness a step further.
I would describe that as a corruption of faith – but one that is the essence of politics. To get elected, one must avoid the nuances of truth because truth contains too many unpleasantness, therefore an honest politician, like a good used car salesman, spins fiction – but not about the important stuff.
Wikipedia defines truthiness! And my keyboard believes it’s a word!
I think it’s a pretty good term, as far as made-up-words go. I think it will eventually enter the normal lexicon, because there’s just not really a better word for the phenomenon. English isn’t like German where you can smash old words together and get new words.
so funny and true )
Especially about pie.
How can there be just one piece of pie left when there are only two in the house? Let’s see. 1. Someone ate two pieces one time. 2. Someone passed on a piece one time. 3. Someone else came in and had a piece of pie one time. I would blame whoever that was who came in and had a piece of pie.
Very good analysis, John, but logic and critical thinking are no match for cats.
I’m surprised you didn’t blame the pie eating on Stan when the cat lie failed to subdue her suspicions. haha! Good observations about ‘truthiness.’
That wouldn’t work. Stan is scared of her and she knows it. There are very few things that Stan would not do, but eating a piece of pie that she had a claim on would not be one of them.
Well, if she asked you on Pi Day, this goes without saying….
Ah, The Pie Test! There is never a clear winner, except for maybe your tastebuds. And it is always worth it.
I am waiting for her revenge. The last time this happened I found an empty container of my favorite ice cream left out on the kitchen counter. Pay back was literally, never so sweet.
I hope whoever got to that last piece of pie enjoyed it!
“Reality comes at us too hard, too fast and with too much detail to comprehend. So we reduce the incomprehensible into simple stories that seems truer than actual, authentic truth.”
Not only truer, but safer and easier to manage. This is how we manage anxiety until that becomes overwhelming at which point we just freeze.
Whoever got the last piece of pie enjoyed it very much.
As for managing anxiety, before freezing, blame the cats.
I confess, I ate the pie. Tell your wife I’m sorry. I’m not, but if you tell her, she’ll believe it.
Her: Who ate the last piece of pie?
Her: Is Dan a cat?
Me: Er, yes, Dan is a cat.
Politics is one thing.
Eating the last piece of pie? Entirely another.
Eating the last piece of pie is a profoundly political act. It’s why I blamed the cats.
Next time I suggest blaming something that can hold a fork. More believable that way….
I am training the cats to hold forks. Thanks it’s great idea!
Happy to help..
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