[March 11, 2020] Back in November last year, U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden called a woman in his audience a lying dog-faced pony soldier.1 Darn it; I wish he had called me that name. If he had, I would be the envy among my combat veteran peers. I like the expression, and I thank Joe Biden for saying it.
Well, this article is not about Joe Biden. Nor is today’s column about any of the candidates, but it is about lying. I’m writing today about lying because I see it being encouraged, not discouraged, as common sense would dictate.
Yesterday several friends of mine were out to dinner when the waitress asked what they wanted. They gave her their order. A few minutes later, out comes their dinner (on time and professionally set on the table). The problem was that their dinner was not what they ordered, and the waitress insisted she had gotten the order correct, and “that was that.” End of story? Not quite. Joel, the bigger man of the group, had inadvertently recorded the waitress taking the order. Once the video came out, all these problems went away.
You would think by now that a waitress taking an order wouldn’t give that much pushback on a small dinner order. Simply put, the waitress was lying because she didn’t want to get into more trouble with his boss (who was a jerk, go figure). Now the waiter complains to her boss (the jerk) that my friend Joey was “harassing” her. What a shit storm this created. The restaurant owner comes into the dining area and throws all my friends out. Nothing said, no explanation, nothing.
In this case, lying to her boss paid off as a social tactic. The waitress didn’t get into trouble but applauded for doing such a respectable, courageous job in a difficult scenario.
Lying is a corrupting influence on people. Our brains are not hardwired to lie, cheat, or steal. We learn to resist these temptations when we are small children or when we enter public school. Lying prevents us from adopting greater responsibilities. Adopting responsibilities boosts our self-confidence and our overall sense of worth.
By telling the truth, or at least by not lying, and by consciously adopting more significant and reasonable responsibilities, we become better people. We are less corrupt, more credible, and happier. When we take these responsibilities and not lie, we are more trustworthy, helpful, and loyal to those around us.
Thanks Joe Biden for bringing up the lying dog-faced pony soldier mantra. What salad mouthful of words that best describes what I like about these presidential debates. It’s a never ending source of entertainment.