Monday, November 12, 2007

You Staring Back At Me

It's 10 A.M. and I haven't seen my gmail because I got tangled in this how-to tar pit.
How To Be Honest

Hang onto your garters, Martha. This one's got potential.
It's been said that honesty is the best policy. It sounds like the simplest thing in the world, but being truly honest, with others and with yourself, can be a real challenge. Political correctness, being sensitive of other people's feelings, and facing uncomfortable truths about yourself can take lots of thought and work. Steps:

1. Understand the workings of dishonesty. Most of us learned to be dishonest as children, when we realized that saying certain things (and not saying certain things) would garner approval and praise, or the opposite. Along the way, we can lose track of where to draw the line and how dishonesty can negatively affect our lives (see Warnings below). Dishonesty often becomes a tool used to:[1]

* pretend nothing is wrong
* shift the blame to others
* avoid embarrassment
* distract ourselves
* minimize conflict
* avoid responsibility or work

...And your reward is a fulfilling career in a shitty sevice industry - I mean, politics. Somewhere down the to-do list, it all comes undone.
5. Exercise tact. We all know that being literally honest can hurt feelings and turn friendships sour. It can also be misinterpreted as criticism or a lack of support. It's very tempting to tell a "white lie" when dealing with sensitive loved ones (especially children), but you can still be honest by being creative in how you express the truth.

* Emphasize the positive. Shift the focus away from what, in all honesty, you think is negative. Instead of saying "No, I don't think you look good in those pants" say "They're not as flattering as the black dress--that dress really looks amazing on you. Have you tried it on with those stockings you wore to my cousin's wedding last year?"
* Be vague. When asked a direct question (especially by children) and you know that your honest answer will make the situation worse, be as general as possible, and try to change the subject as soon as you can. If asked whether Santa Claus is real, for example, say "I've never met him myself, but just because we don't see something with our own eyes doesn't mean it can't be real. You don't see air, but you breathe it all the time, right?" Or, turn the question around: "Why do you ask?"
* You have the right to remain silent. If you're pushed into a corner and don't know how to respond, say "Can we talk about this another time?" or "I really don't feel comfortable talking about this. You should really address this with..." Don't say "I don't know" if you really do know--it can come back to bite you in the rear later on. The person might catch on and realize that you know something, and they might get pushy. Repeat yourself and leave the conversation as quickly as possible.
* When all else fails, be honest--but gently. Wrap the potentially hurtful truth in appreciation, praise, and, if applicable, affection.

So the high road to honesty is paved with sticky little white lies. Fortunately, in vino one can count on veritas, and thanks to new packaging methods, you too can be soaking in it.

Or macerating, as the case may be. My brother Todd, bartender to the stars, sent along this gem of an AOL recommendation without commenting on its retcherous coding, possibly because he was flabbergasted by the suggestion that a bottle of wine might outlast one commercial break in a house full of blood-related House fans. But I digress.

The Three Thieves site makes visitors promise they're over 21, so if you're not, this is an excellent place to practice for your career in honest lying. I mean, what? If you're under 21 you can't even read about wine? Now there's a steamer.

Being socially responsible, the Three Thieves have a section of their website devoted to pointing out that you should enjoy their products responsibly. This page is called Jug Support, and reminded me that one of my uncles got arrested years ago for walking while intoxicated. If only he'd had a dog, he could've said he was just following that short, furry guy, honest!



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