I am compelled to write today about an issue that’s been bugging me for what seems like most of eternity. Lies. I’m not talking about little white fluffy lies like, “I like your new hair cut!” when really they look like members of “Devo” who have just removed the flower pots from their heads.(although lying is never a good habit) No, I’m talking about the kinds of lies that can make you want to test the pedestrian height maximums of car-to-pedestrian impacts.
The thing that really tipped the scale of my “I-have-to-blog-about-this” o-meter was when I got a call from my mom the day before yesterday. She’s a retired school teacher on a fixed income and still has health insurance through her school district. She said they’d made some changes to her prescription coverage and that she was having trouble making sense of all of the new paperwork, so she had called them. She was pleased to find that the nice man who took her call seemed knowledgable, and very patiently explained all the details. She said that she was able to mark each med’s cost on her list so now she’d know exactly what her monthly out-of-pocket expenses were going to run. Don’t you love it when that happens?
It seemed like a reasonable request, inquiring about the cost of one’s medications, and it seemed that the cubicles of the health insurance company’s support team were in confident, capable hands. But then, madness ensued! The next day she called them back to ask about something else, and after being passed around from one department to the other like a gift in a game of “dirty santa”, she found that the information from the previous day was all wrong, was told new information again, and then had the next person in the “whirlwind of uncertainty”say that was wrong too. When I spoke to her after that call, she told me that it was too hard to explain, was going to be really expensive, and she was going for ice cream. (which I think is code for “hummmm”) So which was it then? Had it all been a smoke and mirror job? Had she entered into the “Twilight Zone”? Had it been a cruel prank played on an unwilling victim, or had she fallen asleep and actually only dreamed of this “happy place”? Had the nice man intentionally lied to her the previous day? Hmm. Provocative.
Lying goes hand in hand with incompetence, (and they both grate on me like a wool jacket with no shirt under it) but incompetence is more of an, “I’m too lazy to be concerned with finding the right answers” and “I lack self-discipline and I’m unwilling to take any initiative” type of attitude. (Just reading that makes you feel whiney, doesn’t it?)
Because I only know mildly incompetent people up close, I speculate that the little angels and devils that sit on the shoulders of those who are “medium” to “mucho caliente” on the incompetency scale must be very “Ben Stein-ish”, (yes, that’s an adjective:) since they obviously find no joy in accomplishing anything or helping anyone. Selfishness is obviously a major player, since they lack granting their fellow-man the most reasonable of common courtesies, and I’d be willing to bet that there’s more sparkles in flat Ginger Ale than in their personalities.(if we had a device to measure such things) That’s probably the main reason why I don’t know more people with elevated levels of incompetence up close, now that I think about it.=D
So lying is the intentional deceit of someone who needs or wants the truth for the liars own personal gain . (my own definition) Obviously there can be many reasons someone might lie. The elevation of ones ego, malice, the fear of embarrassment, shady dealings, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. The problem with lying is that it chips away at your self-respect, your respect for others and your reputation. You lose your credibility because no one can trust you. You cause pain to others and yourself, and people I know don’t typically like pain. You don’t stand for much, you become shallow, void of substance and your relationships suffer.
Mistakes are a totally different beast. Generally, a mistake is when you do or say something stupid and then kick yourself in the butt for it later. I have forgiven many mistakes and made many myself. Mistakes aren’t chronic, everyone makes them, and if it was really a mistake, it generally doesn’t happen twice. If you do it over and over then you’re not making mistakes, you’re a liar. FYI, a good saying I picked up is-“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.
So was the nice man at the health insurance company a liar, incompetent, or had he simply been misinformed by one of the two? That’s something I’ll never really know. I hear about and have to deal with these frustrating people more and more often these days and it really ticks me off. If I had a deserted island I’d send them there where they could have a big “lie fest” together and stop screwing things up for the rest of us. It’s imperative that we teach our children quality characteristics like accountability, credibility, responsibility, respect, self-discipline, and HONESTY. They deserve a shot at a decent quality of life just for showing up if you ask me. If not for their sakes, do it for your own. It’s not about you, you say? Consider this. Who’s going be taking care of you when you’re too old to take care of yourself? Chew on that for a while.