I took this photo a few minutes ago while I was walking the dog because seeing it reminded me of a funny story...not a funny story about dead people, but about honesty.
Of course, most people know that lying is wrong for lots of reasons:
- People will stop believing us...aka The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
- We have to work to remember our lies, but the truth is easy to remember.
- Lies snowball.
- Lies can get us into trouble.
- Lies can hurt people.
All of that is great advice, but not where I want to go with this post. When I walked by today, I remembered a girl I met at the New England Young Writers Conference (an awesome event that happens every May at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf Campus). She went to a different boarding school in our area and played on a varsity athletic team against whom we compete.
At the NEYWC, she told me that she didn't want to apply to Hotchkiss because of the cemetery on the middle of our campus. She said it freaked her out. I believed her for a lot of reasons–I'm a believer; I didn't know why she would lie; I can understand not wanting to walk by a cemetery if one feels a certain way about the dead.
Anyway, when I got back to campus, I mentioned the girl to the varsity coach of that same sport here at Hotchkiss, who remembered the girl well. My colleague said, "Cemetery? Ha! She did apply and didn't get in!"
I guess, if I were in that girl's shoes, I also would not want to advertise not getting in. On the other hand, if she had kept her mouth shut rather than making up an interesting lie, I never would have followed up with the coach or found her out. I never would have thought less of her. (Of course, lots of kids don't get in here; I don't think less of them, but I do think less of liars.)
So, bottom line, she would have been better off saying nothing than making up a lie, especially this clever lie that stuck with me. (Making up lies for fiction writing is a different topic. I'm all for that kind of lying.)
Have you ever been caught in a lie? Caught somebody else's lie? Please share your thoughts on honesty–is it always the best policy?–in the comments.