Monday, January 23, 2006

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

I don’t know why human parents waste time telling their children to speak the truth. In my experience, human kiddies fib their little heads off as soon as they realise they can get away with it. Telling them that lying is wrong is perhaps more sensible, as it’s easier to catch them out if they feel guilty when they’re doing it.

I remember a little fellow called Emilio, who used to pay us regular visits when the circus was performing in Mexico City. He would offer to shine shoes for a few pesos and flattered his clients outrageously in the hope of a generous tip.

“Oh Senor!” he said to the ringmaster. “You have the moustache of a revolucionario, like Pancho Villa or Zapata.”

The ringmaster – bloated arse that he was – chortled away and handed the little chap a crisp banknote without asking for change.

Noticing that I was barefoot, Emilio put away his shoe-brush and appealed directly to my charitable instincts. “Please spare some pesos for a poor orphan boy, Senor Gorilla,” he pleaded pitifully. “I need money to buy milk for my three little sisters in the colonias.”

Although I suspected him of embellishing the facts to gain sympathy, I handed over a few pesos. I’m not the sort of ape to deny an orphan his due. All the same, I made a few discreet enquiries about his background after he had left. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that the crafty little tyke lived in a fine home with parents who could afford to send him to the American school, which explained his command of English.

The next time he came round, I invited him into my trailer for some lemonade and addressed him as follows:

“Young man, you have deceived me! You are not an orphan, but have worthy parents who attend to all of your needs. Having solicited funds through fraud you must accompany me to the police station. Confess all and the judge may be lenient!”

Emilio grovelled before me in abject contrition. “Please do not take me to the police!” he begged, this time shedding real tears. “Senor Gorilla, they are not like the police in England! They will put beetles in my hair and feed me the chicken’s ass!”

He may well have been exaggerating, but as I had no real desire to go to the police I offered a compromise. “Very well then,” I said. “I will inform your parents instead.”

His mood changed abruptly from despair to sullen resentment. “Why must you cluck like a hen laying an egg?” he inquired testily. “I will give you 50 pesos to be silent.”

I wasn’t going to tolerate cheek like that after I’d spared him from the dungeons of the Aztec capital. “You dare to offer me a bribe!” I thundered, picking up my diary. “I am making an appointment to see your parents next week. If you are wise you will confess to them beforehand. Now away with you!”

I don’t know whether he did confess because I never did visit his parents, but I imagine that I’d taught him a good lesson.

Although the lying human is usually up to no good, it would be simple-minded to suppose that the human talent for deception can never be put to good use. Lies, in fact, are an essential weapon against the merciless despot who cannot be resisted in any other way. A good historical example is the Emperor Caligula. It was quite clear the fellow went completely bonkers when he declared himself a god and made it a capital offence to utter the word “goat” in any context. Let’s suppose that a naive Senator had walked up to Caligula and said:

“Caesar, you’ve been behaving very strangely lately. For the good of the Empire, you should abdicate and get your head examined by one of those Greek doctors.”

This truthful and friendly piece of advice would have resulted in the Senator being chopped into bite-sized morsels by the Emperor’s German bodyguards and fed to the fish in the Tiber. And if Caligula had thought the Senator’s sentiments were widely shared, a massive cull of the Roman nobility would have followed. Telling the truth simply does not work in situations like that.

The correct tactic, which ultimately led to a successful assassination, was to lull the madman into a false sense of security by pretending to worship him. The Senate and People of Rome buttered him up with remarks such as:

“Oh Caesar, we mortals are unworthy to smell your poo!”

“Those gods on Mount Olympus must be so envious of you!”

“That horse of yours was the best Consul Rome ever had!”

As a result of being toadied to like this, Caligula got careless. He allowed himself to be separated from his German goon squad and was hacked to death outside the amphitheatre.

So what should parents be telling their children about lying? I think it should be something like this:

Lying is wrong unless the person you are deceiving is an absolute bounder, in which case it may be a necessary evil, but don’t make a habit of it.

There’s no point patronising children by over-simplifying a complex reality.

Morning GB! Good weekend whacking baboons I hope! I have to say that you make some good points in this one. It's silly to tell your kids never to lie, otherwise they'll end up being rude to their friends' parents. Is the "chicken's ass" the same thing as the "parson's nose". My grandad thought that was a delicacy.
Lying requires a good memory if you're not to be caught out.

Meanwhile, GB, thought you might like to know that, courtesy of Dr Evil, you have now been immortalised in your first blunt cogs cartoon strip
Methinks our learned ape has been reading Suetonius, although if I remember correctly Calicula made it a capital offence to call him a goat long before he went mad.

As to your story about the boy, Bananas, didn't you notice that you punished him for lying by telling him another lie (viz that you would inform his parents)? The children of Mexico City deserve better than that, my good ape. Tut, tut.
or perhaps mynah, simply, one good lie deserves another. Since I have never been good with memory games, I have found utter truthfulnes to be the best bet, with fair dabs of tact and love where needed. I never could pull a lie off well, however, I ROCK at poker.. strange, that, eh?
Hello Ms Redhead, nice to see you back again. In fact, I did not tell that child a lie. I simply made a threat which I couldn't be bothered to carry out. There was no intention to deceive, thus no lie. I should have thought that a scholarly old bird like Mynah would have understood this.

Kim, thanks for the cartoon and for the new version of me. I'll have to think of a script soon.
Lying is wrong unless the person you are deceiving is an absolute bounder, in which case it may be a necessary evil, but don’t make a habit of it.

If only Spinoza had had your brevity. What a wordy bastard he seems to me now. I tug my forelock etc etc.

btw, if you didn't actualy put the appointment in you diary re the Mexican urchin, then Mynah Bird is right! He's a Mynah Bird! think about it.
This isvery tue Gorilla. I am very interested in this site, I found it on google. My website is Karima means generous one just in case you were wondering.
Spinoza, God bless him, did his best for the human species. The Mynah Bird is right about Caligula, who was a more devilish fiend than I thought.

Suga monkie, I don't want to be nosey.....but I am. What were you searching for?
"Spank the monkey"
"Spank the shemale" more like.

Welcome back Ginger Dollface. I wish you and I could have played some strip poker 15 years ago.
Back in 6th form me and a friend got a cute but shy guy to play strip poker with us, but the bastard kept on winning! When we were down to our undies we said "enough of this crap mate, just get your kecks off". Funny thing was he couldn't get em off fast enough! Shit, they're horny at that age.
good post
The Mexican police are indeed "not like the police in England". They might put beetles in your hair and feed you chicken by-products, but at least they won't hold you down and shoot you eight times in the head. Now that's what I call zero tolerance.
Fair point. Although in defence of the urchin Emilio, he wasn't aware of the death-squad innovation in English policing methods when he made that remark.
Tarzan ~ thank you ~ I imagine it would have been rather fun, and perhaps a touch ~revealing~ ;-D I used to love to win and lose at key moments ~ one might lose for instance the bra, but not the shirt, one might lose three buttons down, but no more,, I was the worst tease ever in the whole world, as I remained a virgin until the age of nigh unto 20, and YET had played with oohh soo many a man... mmmm... caught up with me though ~ one of those men just plain refused to get teased constantly,, heheheh( and now I have his 5 children....;-D)
Well there's a lot a girl can do without losing her virginity, Ms Dollface. I think we would have both had a lot of fun and you would have still been a virgin for your husband.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Follow my blog with Bloglovin