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i lied to my mother in Germany
i stole a candy bar in a shop in the village of Herrenburg
the shopkeeper saw me, slapped my face and yelled at me
my mother yelled at him “how dare you … my son would never steal”
i still feel ashamed of that lie
that was 1973
i never lied to your mother
you take away my power to help you when you lie
i’ve raised you to be strong, even powerful
that’s why i teach you things you’re not interested in
like surfing, climbing, mountain biking
cussing right, drinking smart, driving safe, shooting sensible
because i don’t ever want you to feel power-less
when you feel power-ful you can help yourself
and you can help other people
each of us has been in trouble
some of us pretty recently
sometimes we’ve lied about it
both of your uncles regarding drugs
Peper regarding drinking, driving and general hell-raising
she spent most of high school grounded
it’s really a wonder she’s still alive;
Ma almost failed out of college her first semester;
each of the brothers has been arrested
i got arrested and was embarrassed about the reason
kind of still am
but i had to explain to my parents what happened
and i was full grown up
i could have lied about it
but then they would have been power-less to help me through the court and all
and i needed their help
because going it alone would have been powerful hard and miserable;
in Washington DC public life it’s not the crime or the deed that sinks you
it’s the lying about it afterwards
President Clinton had an affair with an intern, Monica Lewinsky
but then he lied about it
a lot of people said they would have respected him more if he’d just told the truth
but now all they remember him for is the lie.
different types of lies
lies of omission
where you don’t lie but you fail to tell the truth
it’s called “quibbling” at the US Military Academy
lies of delay
where you don’t tell someone something until the last minute
hoping they then can’t do something about it
little white lies
like “there’s a santa claus”
i won’t lie to you
sometimes it is easier to tell a small one when it seems there’s no harm to be done
the real trick then is
in the first place to
not put yourself
in a position
where that’s the case
bald-faced
like the ones you told your mother and me on Wednesday night
i understand the fascination online
I found it addictive to look through online dating
i spent hours at eharmony.com
it’s exciting, interesting
especially when you’re lonely,
feel empty or
you’re just looking for something interesting in your life
you might have dodged a bullet
there are freaks, perverts and sons-o-bitches just looking for pretty, sometimes lonely girls like you
but honestly, you’re going to have many other opportunities to get into trouble
it could be like Juno, sex
it could be like the skinny MaryKateAshley twin w anorexia
it could be skipping school
it could be shoplifting uptown
it could be going somewhere your mother forbade
it could be drinking from a bottle a kid brings to St Ignatius
so i’m less concerned about this particular
content
than about the
concealment;
one thing i learned from this episode
you’re a powerful good liar god help you
and i can understand wanting to not tell the truth
all of us can
but i don’t understand this:
why you seemed to lie for people you don’t even know;
why you lied about Nick Manos;
why you lied about George Kersey;
why you stuck to these lies tenaciously;
you ever watch Law & Order when they interrogate a suspect in a small room?
the guy lies and lies and maybe,
eventually the cops break him and he ‘fesses up
only you never broke until the very moment we proved you were in a lie
that was scary
friend of mine had a quote
“fuck you, i want my lawyer”
bart simpson said
“prove it man”
that’s powerful disrespect
and i felt it from you Wednesday night
when Ally was a puppy i did some stupid things that put her at risk
it’s lucky she survived them unhurt
had she not, i would have been powerful ashamed
and when my mother would have asked me what happened?
i would have wanted to lie
i would have not wanted her to know that Ally got hurt or killed because i was stupid
i would have been so ashamed
that i would have really wanted to lie to my mother about it
i’m glad that i didn’t have to make that decision;
you’re going to be faced with decisions like this
this semester,
next semester,
next summer,
next year
all i can tell you is that when you tell the truth
you get to leave the crime behind
when you lie,
you’ve got to remember the lie,
remember how you told the lie,
try to keep it straight
and you never get free of it
it ends up in your bookbag
it gets heavier with each step
and each day,
month,
year
i don’t envy you those decisions
but as you can see,
shame has stuck with me,
and
shame can stick with you,
and
the lie shoots the poison of that shame
deeper into your heart;
it happened sooner than i wanted, but,
now you know
if you want to bring your parents to their knees
do what you did:
lie
if you want your friends to have a powerful reason to abandon you
do what you did:
lie
if you want to hurt someone real bad
do what you did:

lie