How well can you lie?

Dogs are eating a lot of homework these days and companies have suddenly started to hold their meetings mostly after midnight. And the lipstick smudge on your guy’s shirt, he was waiting in the queue at the bank and a lady who was standing beside him tripped on her stilettos and fell. He was helping her get back on her feet when her freshly painted lips landed so squarely on his left shoulder.

White lies, or Terminological Inexactitudes as some may call them are a necessary tool for social survival. That’s why you told that guy you’d call him and yet you knew only too well that you would not. That’s the same reason why someone told that lady she’s nice and shapely while even she knows that the truth is the opposite. The convenience of telling a lie to escape bad situations is just too tempting and people are using that to the maximum. And what’s more, we get better at lying as we age. How well an individual can lie depends on his/her imagination and ingenuity and some people have made it a fine art.

Lying is obviously no small deal. Scientists are spending more and more time and money inventing and perfecting lie detector machines to analyze pupil dilation, eye movements, voice pitch change and blood pressure among other things. But all these are not helping the layman much. We can’t hook our friends, spouses and children to lie detector machines every time we talk to them. But we can match wits with the finest lie detector machines if we try. There are many human ways of knowing when someone is playing little games on you.

There are the obvious signs like suddenly developing an itch on the chin, placing the hand on the mouth while talking, being evasive, being over emphatic and going on the defensive. The liar will tend to overact, knit his/her brows and be overly animated. Or if he/she is holding onto something like a door knob or phone, they will hold it so tight the knuckles turn white. Maybe that’s why my pastor grabs the podium so hard when he’s telling the congregation how much more money the new church will require to be completed. Or why the public address system we contributed money for months ago is not yet here.

These methods are not fool proof though. There are people who are just naturally nervous, fidgety and shifty regardless of whether they’re speaking the truth or lying.

Still there are some tough cookies who will deliberately look at you in the eye and drop a white one without even flinching. Some criminals have even been known to lie right through the lie detector machines. It seems lying, like any other art can be perfected.

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