A friend of mine posted this on her facebook page the other day: “I promise, for 24 hours, to speak nothing but the truth.”
That got me to thinking about “truth.” I would venture to say that for the most part, most of us are pretty truthful in our daily lives. But there are those little “white lies” we sometimes use, usually in order to not hurt someone’s feelings. But some people seem to think of them not as lies, but sort of “half-truths” that are harmless. Like putting a more desirable weight on your driver’s license for instance. Some truths are better left unsaid, though – when the truth (or admission) is only going to make you feel better and not the person you are talking to.
This topic came up in regards to Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk, who is currently campaigning for a Senate seat. (Politics aside – I’m just using what I thought was an interesting situation) His version of particular details have come into question before and recently have made the news again. Apparently as a young man, he was out on a boat, almost died and had to be rescued. His version was that “he stood on the deck of the boat looking at the sunset then swam at least a mile, etc.” The Chicago Tribune discovered 1) that his accident ocurred at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and 2) that he couldn’t have swam that distance in the temperature the water was that day.
Callers to the radio talk show in which this was being discussed were pretty understanding about the discrepancies. Their take was that it was a probably a pretty traumatic experience and that in going through it, it probably did seem to him that he had been swimming for a mile. But the troubling point to the show’s host was the part about the sunset … he thought that was a pretty big detail to get wrong.
Someone once said to me that “perception is reality.” Which I thought, at the time, was a pretty silly statement to make. But, if you think about it, it’s probably more true than I thought. Several callers made the point that amongst their siblings, they would all have different versions of the same event. I’ve often thought that about my older sister and I – two years apart, but you would think we grew up in different households and with different parents! 🙂 What we view as “truth” may just be our own version of it.
Are “little, white lies” ok? Is it ok to exaggerate just a little? Could you tell the truth for 24 hours?