Summer Lies and Weary Travelers

People don’t always say what they mean (I meant to say that). And this past summer brought several examples of the daily "little white lies" we tell each other. Not that we deliberately commit falsehoods, but often it’s just a little easier for both parties in a conver-

sation if one party avoids the harsher truths of life (i.e. lies like a rug). For example:

What They Said: I’m going to take a break from writing this article and go for a short walk. I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.

What They Meant: I’m going directly to Ben & Jerry’s. You won’t see me again until 4:59 p.m., or until my cholesterol level reaches 300—whichever comes first.

What They Said: It’s really too hot to work, so I’m taking these manuscripts home. I can work much better in the cool of the evening.

What They Meant: I’m going to take these manuscripts home. My mind is much sharper in the evening when I’m sitting right next to the fan. I’ll (yawn) get to them as soon as I ...as soon as I...zzzzzzz.

What They Said: No, really, it’s not that bad a sunburn, it just looks bad.

What They Meant: My clothes feel like velcro on my skin. Do you have any lotion, any ice...cold compress? Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

What They Said: We’re having a backyard get-together. You’re welcome to come and bring a dish from your garden to share.

What They Meant: Remember last year when you brought a single uncooked zucchini? Well, see, that does not qualify as a "dish to share." For once in your life, couldn’t you make a three-bean salad? Heck, we’ll take beans and franks, for cryin’ out loud!

What the Doctor Said: Your daughter will be in that cast for about five weeks, but she’ll get used to it and after a while she won’t even know it’s there.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine September-October 1994
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