Opinion: The truth about lying


I’m a liar. A no good, rotten liar. This became obvious to me when I wrote a column about vacationing in Banff, Canada (that location was accurate). I related how I sent my digital camera through the security scanner (totally factual). And how it was stolen when I left it behind in the tray (correct, again).

I had the best intentions of simply writing about how careless I am with my things. Basically, what a loser I am. But when I got back from the trip I ran into my neighbor, George.

“How was your trip, Dick?” he asked.

“Oh, it was fantastic—except my camera was stolen.”

“What a shame. And with all your photos, huh?”

“It’s OK—the thief emailed me the pictures.”

I don’t know where that crazy idea came from. It just slid out of my mouth. It wasn’t an exaggeration, it was a bold-faced fabrication. With that, George got hysterical. And I’m so addicted to hearing the sound of people laughing at stuff I say and do, I left it at that.

When I sat down that night to write my weekly column, I actually started to believe the whole thing myself. If you repeat something enough times, you start thinking it’s true. Just ask any politician.

In my column, I even included a bogus email from the thief who supposedly stole my camera. I had already entered the dark side—why not get a few additional laughs in the process?

Dear Mr. Wolfsie:

Thanks for leaving your camera unattended at the Montreal airport. I’ve always wanted one like that. But when I started looking through those pictures, my heart went out to you. You have such a sweet-looking family, so I am e-mailing you all your photos. Your wife is lovely, but she’d look much better with shorter hair—at least in the pictures where you didn’t cut off her head.

After the column was published, I received this email:

Dear Dick,

Witty as always. We love the honesty in your writing.

The guilt is killing me. I just hope the person who stole my camera reads this column and has the decency to actually email me my pictures. I don’t care about the stupid photos; I just want to be an honest man again.




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