How dishonest are you?

If you knew you would never be found out,
how honest would you be?
Would you confess if you went for a meal,
and one of the drinks was not charged for?
Have you ever been off work “sick”,
when you were definitely not.
Are you totally truthful with your partner,
or have you sometimes “bent the truth”, just a little?.

I was listening to a man on television one night,
who is a security consultant.
He said that three out of every four people are dishonest,
if given a chance.
Not the rob a bank sort of dishonest,
but the everyday things I described above, dishonest.

My husband looked at me with a telling look,
when he heard this.
I guess he knows which side he believes I’m on.

Now you who follow me regularly I know,
may be surprised to hear,
that my husband knows me well.
I am not in the special, unique one in four category.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamdawson/2312669463/">A. Dawson</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
Growing up I can remember my mum saying,
in exasperation, on more than one occasion,
“A lie wouldn’t choke you”,
or “You could say Mass!”.
Neither of these comments were intended to flatter me.

From the earliest age I can remember lying.
I did it regularly and without a thought.
I was part of a large family,
it was always worth taking the chance,
as someone else may be blamed.
I never really fretted about it being a sin,
or about it being wrong.
I would lie to make my life work for me.

One of my clearest early lies I remember,
was when I was about nine years old.
I went into a toy shop with my brother.
He is younger than me by one year and eight months,
a fact I never got sick of telling him,
and one he never gets sick of telling me now.
How we are related is beyond me,
because this boy has conscience enough for two of us.

I was not the most conventional of young girls,
and I wanted to buy an airfix model of a ship.
it cost £2.99.
Sadly out of my price range.
“No problem, I thought” I had a plan.
I wandered about that shop until I saw it.
A toy for £1.99. Perfect.

Along came my younger brother.
“What are you doing?” he asked,
as he saw me picking off the price sticker very carefully.
I explained to him that I was taking the price sticker off,
in order to put it on the other toy,
and then I could buy it for £1.99

Telling him was a huge mistake.
He went into a flap,
looking around that shop terrified,
his face bright red,
and looking as guilty as sin.
He was convinced that I would be discovered,
and the police called.
What would Mum and Dad say?

I quickly told him to get lost,
and went about my plan.
Then I boldly went up to the till,
and handed over my airfix,
the doctored price perfectly covering the old price.
“£1.99”, the shop assistant said.
I smiled thrilled with myself,
and carried home my toy,
with not a trace of guilt.
Sadly the same could not be said about my brother,
who was in a state of panic and shock.

Over the years I can remember so many more lies.
I have already written about one here before.
I called it “I confess and I’m still not sorry”.
As I look back on my lies now,
as an adult and a parent,photo credit: id-iom via photopin cc
I admit that some of them make me smile.
However it is my lack of guilt,
and my ability to keep to the lie,
that I find shocking.
Certainly not attributes,
I would be proud to have my children share!

Just for the record,
I am glad to report,
that I am a much more honest individual nowadays.

However as I write about all this,
I think that everything happens for a reason.
Maybe just maybe,
all that lying has helped me.
Thinking on my feet,
and always planning my next move,
may in some small measure,
have allowed me become the “creative” thinker I am today.

Or maybe I’ve not changed at all,
and this post is just another lie!

photo credit: id-iom via photopin cc
photo credit: A. Dawson via photopin cc

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32 thoughts on “How dishonest are you?

  1. i think we all have things we’ve said that were not the truth, and for various reasons. at this point in life, i sometimes rationalize it if i think it would hurt someone and would serve no positive purpose for me to tell the exact truth or to withhold information that might hurt someone, still a form of lying i suppose.

  2. We (a group of women) were discussing just this thing at a Bible study (no less) called A More Honest Me. We realized slowly (some more slowly than others) just how dishonest we all are. And, no, not the rob-a-bank dishonest; the lie-about-our-age, dye-our-hair, fib-for-a-friend, withhold-information, try-to-look-good-and-strong kind of lies that we try to justify but still take us down while we deny we lie to ourselves that sometimes lying is ok.

    1. And of course it is so very human. I think we would be a very square individual if we were rigid in our belief that we should never lie.
      I know I shouldn’t say this to you as you are quite religious, but I do sometimes chuckle about a lie, although I would never intentionally hurt anyone.

      1. On the contrary, (and please don’t equate me with Bible-thumping, law-pointing religious kind of folks. My religion is following the words of Jesus, not those of someone who tells me what his words are supposed to mean.) I’ve had a laugh or two myself over lying about something “innocent.” I just try very hard not to kid myself that it’s ever a good or right thing to do.

        1. I sure don’t imagine you to be a bible thumper at all. Just a very sincere individual. As you say we do our best to minimise the wrong in our minds and most of our lies are indeed harmless or for good reason. See what I just did there? I minimised the wrong again! 🙂

  3. I have of course bent the truth a dab…or didnt give the entire details, but I’ve always had the conscious of your brother. I was a scoot in school, getting in trouble frequently, but if I was asked…I told the truth. Lying would eat me up….really, it still does. So, what m saying to you is please….just tell me the truth 🙂

  4. I have such a guilty conscience similar to your brother. I found a $20 bill the other day and felt the need to tell at least 3 close people about it to convince myself that I hadn’t done something awful. I tried to track down the woman racing out of the store but she drove off. My husband has no issue with these things and said “well, she must have done something wrong, and you right” 🙂 I can live with that

  5. We all bend the truth occasionally. I told my kids that there was alcohol in the chocolates once so that they’d leave them for their horrid parents 🙂 My kids thought I was nuts this summer because I took money back to someone who’d given me far too much change. Hurrah, I can still surprise the little buggers 🙂

  6. I don’t believe anyone who says he or she doesn’t lie. We all do

    1. Is there any man, anywhere, anytime who has ever (and lived to tell the tale) answered ‘yes’ when asked ‘does my bum look big in this?’

    2. When asked about a new purchase, is there any woman who hasn’t said

    a. this old thing – I’ve had it for ages or
    b. it was on special offer – reduced to ½ price

    3. Is there any parent who hasn’t told their child about the tooth fairy and santa claus?

    I don’t think lying is bad per se

    Whether it is good or bad depends on its intent – to smooth social intercourse and avoid causing hurt or offence to anyone or for some selfish motive of our own which will harm someone else?

  7. This sort of thing is (for me) all about a personal sense of integrity. When I was young I had none of that and yes I too would think nothing of pinching stuff. Nothing huge mind you but still…. it was dishonest.
    As I grew older I became more responsible and things changed although I would still at times justify being “dishonest” such as for example if someone else made an error (like giving too much change) in my mind I would think oh well – if they’re stupid enough to do that why should I tell them?
    I recall in my early twenties once making an $825 withdrawal from the bank for a car payment and later realising that SOMEhow the teller had stuffed it up and actually credited me the amount (meaning that I was in the black by $1650!). I didn’t tell them about that since i figured why should I – if they are silly enough to make such a mistake?
    Thinking back now – who knows how they rationalised that shortfall – maybe the teller got the sack over it? I will never know.
    These days I would say something. because I actually have a conscience. But it took me quite a while for it to properly develop.

    1. I so get you. I have attracted people around me who are incredibly honest. My husband in particular. I think by the time I got into my twenties I was more a ducker and diver than a baddie and over the years with maturity, honest people and having children my honesty really kicked in.

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