I Am An Optimist, But I Am Not A Fool: Lies I’m Not Buying

July 11, 2010

For Saturday, July 10, 2010

I don’t mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy. • Samuel Butler, Note-Books, 1912

One size does not fit all. I usually only think about this when I’m in a store looking at a childsize piece of so-labeled ladywear hanging on the rack in the women’s department, but this morning I found a shiny gold tag proclaiming this oft-repeated untruth in the motel parking lot. Someone anonymous once said that if you want to ruin the truth, you should stretch it. This is also true of those o-s-f-a duds.

“Fits most” is another variation of the promise. Not quite as bad, but still disheartening when your arm won’t fit into the leg of the pants so tagged. I’m an average size person. I am not tiny, but I am not huge, and I am often not “most.” This is disheartening, but less so than not being “all.” These little lies remind me of the bigger ones I’m being sold.

Adolph Hitler said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” I’m being sold lies about war, about human relations, about education, about just about everything that matters to me, and the ongoing challenge of my life is to recognize the lies and live in the truth that I must discover for myself, trying on ideas to see if they fit and discovering that truth is no more than one-size-fits-all than a pair of black spandex leggings.

What lies have you been told?

It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen. • Homer Simpson, ” The Simpsons



  1. I lie to my students all the time. It is a big part of my classroom management and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to teach without lying. What I’m not telling you is that my students know that I’m lying (most of the time) and think that it is funny.
    At the beginning of the year when we talked about the school rules was that as middle school students, they are part of a closed campus, meaning that unless a parent gets them or sends a note, they are not to wonder off. I told my students that the middle school raises an underground farm of velociraptor that are raised specifically for campus patrol. “Haven’t you seen the documentary “Jurassic Park”? I have also told my students that big foot is real, if they swim in Emergent Lake on the field trip that they will dissolve, my CT has evaporated, and that I have “spidy” sense that tells me when notes are being passed in my class (actually, this one seems to be true). I guess I get it from my dad. I make sure that my student know that I’m joking and would never say anything that could be taken seriously, but I think humor is so important to teaching. I also use a lot of other joking with my students and try to keep the mood light as long as the classroom climate allows it.
    You need to build a report with you class and know the students that you can joke with, and the ones you can’t. Since I’m such a reserved person, I think it’s important that my students are able to see the full spectrum of my personality. I don’t know where I would be without a good sense of humor, and I hope that I can use it in my classroom to make students feel at home.

  2. I love your lies! Very much in keeping with your creative spirit and a delightful part of creating your teacher persona.

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