Believe Me When I Tell You I Am Lying

The Art Of Deception Comes Naturally To Those Who Begin

As an advertising copywriter I am adept at making accurate statements in such a way as to allow, even encourage, people to leap towards inaccurate conclusions. As a poet I use words with precision and care until all that remains is emotional truth, expressed with as much elegance and clarity as I can summon. So, the duality of language is familiar to me, it is a sublime tool for concealing as well as revealing.

On the Internet, all statements are true; including this one.” Taz Mopula

I was raised on a steady diet of lies, as if they were an essential food group, a staple, never out of season. When this happens it is not long before lies are no longer recognizable as such, they become facts. This is not quite as dreadful as it sounds, we all believe an astounding variety of preposterous lies and many of them yield beneficial results. However, if you are on the road to recovery lies are not merely impediments, they are mortal enemies determined to eliminate any chance you have.

“Learn to speak the truth; it is helpful to be fluent in a foreign language.” Taz Mopula

Learning how to stop lying to others is a stroll in the park in comparison to unlearning the habit of lying to one’s self. This is almost impossible to do alone – since you are offender, victim, and instructor all at once – it is much better accomplished with the help of fellow offenders. Your brethren in disingenuous locution will be quick to “call you on your merde” – if you can forgive the colorful vernacular – and let you know when, and even why, you are attempting to sell a hot, steaming pile of twaddle to them and to yourself.

“Honesty may be the best policy; but the premiums are sure high.” Taz Mopula

As you become relentless about chasing truth, when you come to crave it like your next breath, life itself will shift on its axis. However, even though you and your world are transformed, the world around you remains intact. Suddenly it will seem as if the skyscrapers are held together with chewing gum and lies, and, like the small child watching the Emperor, you will want to point and shout. Be careful. Just because you have learned to live without lies does not mean that others have. Many people are heavily invested in the Emperor’s wardrobe and will not reward you if you reveal what has suddenly become obvious.

“If you are going to tell me the truth, at least have the decency to buy me dinner first.” Taz Mopula

The Rising Tide Of Wretched Detritus

landfill bulldozer

My father had no friends. He had fans, sycophants, students, hostages, admirers, toadies, followers, victims, listeners and viewers – but no friends. He and my mother did, however, have a select circle of acquaintances. Without exception the men were Type A, driven, and – like my father – leaders in their respective fields. The women were, also without exception, extremely bright, high born, nice, and beautiful.

“Technology has democratized the tools of creativity, resulting in a tsunami even more cretinous and loathsome than anticipated.” Taz Mopula

This “fast set” socialized regularly and their parties were love songs to designer decadence. Alcohol flowed like blood in the streets of Pamplona, as did testosterone. Ego and intellect, style and substance, need for attention and inflated self-image battled it out for supremacy; with the passing of time came increasing volume and hilarity.

“Instant, universal communication has made it impossible to know if anyone is saying anything valuable.” Taz Mopula

As a child I marveled at these circuses, and noticed that my father and male friends always spoke simultaneously; these were not conversations, they were shouting matches. I learned the reason why at his funeral. One of the few remaining lions revealed that, since they had no intention of listening to one another, speaking all at once saved time.

“At what point does communication become air pollution?” Taz Mopula

Without paternal guidance, I had to learn what having a friend is all about on my own, and there were many stumbles. For example, narcissism and friendship don’t mix. The axiom that goes – to have a friend you must be a friend – became meaningful. This, I discovered, involved learning about the needs and wants of other people, and placing them above your own – a strange concept for an alcoholic! And yet, like a child with a learning disability, the penny dropped eventually.

“Why is it called the age of communication when nobody listens?” Taz Mopula

Of all the skills required, perhaps the most foreign was listening. I knew about scoring points for talking, even singing; but listening was something very different. Harder still was listening to quiet without feeling an intense need to violate it. But, my Quaker education served me well. Although I am a slave to the savage charms of music, natural orchestras of all descriptions, and the allure of my own voice, I now understand silence to be the only perfect sound.

“You have the right to remain silent, and listen. Might be advisable to exercise it before they take that one away, too.” Taz Mopula

Tuning out clutter, both external (motorcycles, wild turkeys, etc.) and internal (ego, fear, anger, etc.), enables me to really listen. Becoming an empty vessel makes it possible to fully witness other people and absorb the eloquent silences.

“It doesn’t qualify as listening if you’re busy thinking what to say next.” Taz Mopula

The irony, of course, is that I find myself in what is commonly referred to as the age of communication – which I think of as the age of digital pollution. Today we are besieged with information and, to pick a number from a hat, about 99% of it is rubbish. While it may not be inherently evil, we are left with the challenge of defending ourselves against the deluge and sifting through what’s left on the odd chance of finding something nourishing.

The Best Present Ever

Share Your Self Unavailable Elsewhere

They say that, for alcoholics in recovery, every morning is Christmas morning and every evening is Thanksgiving. If that sounds like a wonderful way to live, trust me, it is. We start the day delighted – even amazed – to have a day at all, and close it out in humble gratitude – no matter the challenges rained down upon us.

Christmas – that Winter Wonderland of Dysfunction – that Tournament of Neuroses parade – is fueled by an intense concentration of wildly unrealistic expectations arising from what we hope to get and what we believe we must deliver. Resentments fly and pressure mounts – those of us still drinking enter a hideous, toxic fog from which we emerge only after the last dreary scrap of cretinous Super Bowl commentary has been shared.

The best policy regarding gifts is – assume you will not get any – concentrate your energies on giving them routinely – with no quo on the quid’s other side. 

(This mirrors your reality, since you receive gifts daily which are offered with no expectation of return.) 

One of the reasons Christmas is the most dreaded and despised time of the year is that presents – things – are expected to redeem a year of disappointment. This is a curious bit of idiocy, one wonders how it can survive.

When you give, give of yourself. As the great Taz Mopula reminds us:

“Give yourself. That is the only present you can give that is not readily available elsewhere.” 

Give little gifts every day; don’t focus on one behemoth at the glittery time of year to save a lost cause.