We all know right from wrong. Mom took care of that little chore before we could read. Lying was usually pretty high on her list when it came to wrong things we ought never do. And for that we all should be eternally grateful to our mothers. They did their mightiest to shape our characters properly and darned few of us arrive at out majority without a thorough grounding in what's right and what's wrong. So here we are as adults running our own lives armed with that great store of moral lessons. Then life throws a few monkey wrenches our way in the form of moral dilemmas, or as I like to refer to them: Quandaries.
We all know that lying is wrong and pretty much everybody knows it's an actual crime sometimes, like lying under oath in a court of law, cheating on your taxes, filing false reports and the like. It is also a crime to lie to the police. Fine, who can argue with that? They're dealing with grave situations and discovering the truth is important so they can solve the various crimes and misdemeanors that is their lot in life to solve. Well, what if your wife or girlfriend is a police officer and she asks you if her uniform makes her butt look fat? That's what I call a quandary. And don't forget, she's armed with a nightstick, a can of mace and a pistol, maybe even a taser too.
Life's full of quandaries, and the neat little black and white lessons at Mom's knee don't seem quite up to the task sometimes. You get a new job and you like it and just as importantly you really need the money. Your boss seems like a nice guy but he's also a terrible comedian, constantly telling horrible jokes that everybody around you laughs at. You find his sense of humor crude and very unfunny. Do you laugh too? Or do you inform your immediate superior who holds the fate of your continued employment at this job in his hands that you don't care for his sense of humor and you'd appreciate it if he'd leave you off his joke telling list?
Or do you you simply not laugh and hope he'll take the hint. But maybe it turns out he's one of those guys who repeats the punch line several times louder and louder to those who don't laugh at his jokes, like you were deaf and he figures deaf people will respond if you simply jack up the decibels. Then what do you do? Laugh and hope he'll go away? What you want to say is that you heard him the first time, everyone within 200 yards heard him and the damned joke was simply not funny and pretty damned immature, but you hold your tongue so you can keep collecting your paycheck, maybe start checking out other job opportunities on your lunch hour. No matter how you react, the job you liked so much becomes one you don't like at all and short of murdering the guy you know it's not going to change. I'm pretty sure that murdering guys is one of the big things on Mom's list of no-nos. So until you get a new job or funny boy drops dead laughing at his own jokes what you've got is a quandary.
Then there's the sex deal.You're dating a real hottie, a girl or guy you're dying to get into bed. I don't know about you ladies but us guys will do or say just about anything for a sample of your lovely charms. I suspect it's pretty similar for the ladies when they want someone real bad. Me, I've even pretended to like cats and enjoy veggie burgers for a roll in the hay, two things I could well do without for the rest of my life. And I'm pretty sure a couple of girls who liked me pretended they gave a damn about baseball. Now probably all involved knew the other was full of it but these little accommodations with the truth went unmentioned, at least until the deed was done. Was all this dishonesty worth it? Hell, yeah! Sorry, Mom.
Of course once we got to know each other better our true natures became readily apparent, and then you either enjoyed each other's differences or drifted apart. And when the time came to pursue a new love, once again we ate stuff we didn't like, watched movies we hated and wholeheartedly agreed with statements we really didn't agree with just to get that sweet reward. Then one day you get married and a whole new of quandaries are plopped in our lap.
In a man's case, there's a whole bunch of things he's got to pretend to care about to maintain peace and harmony in his marital abode. Like say, what color the walls are, what kind of curtains hang in the windows, exactly how many and what type and color of decorative pillows should be strewn around the living room. Not that you'd ever be allowed to use one of them as an actual pillow, my friend. The operative word in decorative pillow is decorative, and your wife usually frowns on naps anyway, she's got al list of chores for you to do. And there's also the grim reality of having to make do with only about one fifth of the closet space available, no matter how big or small is your home. Which works out, really since the lovely wife usually starts throwing out most of your favorite clothes as soon as the honeymoon is over.
And say goodbye to that Elvis on black velvet and your dogs-playing-poker painting. Ditto your neon Heineken sign and your favorite recliner that was broken in just right. So what if it was a little threadbare and had a stain or two or ten? It was darned comfy. And be prepared to be assigned only a tiny portion of the medicine chest and make way for a dizzying variety of creams, ointments, powders and special soaps and a knitted kitten to put on your spare rolls of toilet paper.
Which again, is just fine. What have we got in the bathroom? There's your toothbrush, razor, shaving cream, some floss, mouthwash, your deodorant and cologne. Maybe some shampoo and a nail clipper and some hair goop, but that's about it. Before you know it, though, you'll have a louffa, a water pick, several kinds of soaps, skin and hair conditioners and body creams and some other stuff she assigns to you that you can't identify. You might even pour some of it out every so often so she thinks you're using it.
At least that's my dishonest solution. What's yours? And married guys, don't even try to tell me that you've made no accommodations in your marriage that go against your grain. At least I never bought a damned mini-van and tried to talk my friends into what good good sense it made into how practical they are. You've got to draw the line somewhere and that's mine. And what about big flower garden you're always messing around with on Saturday afternoons or that dainty latticework gazebo in your yard where your hammock used to be? Were those your ideas, Caveman? The same guy who had his TV and gigantic stereo propped up on cinderblock and unpainted plywood shelves and and a pool table in your kitchen since you lived only on take-out pizza, tacos and beer back in the day?
To be fair, married women also make their share of accommodating their true natures to the realities of being married to an insensitive brute (let's call a spade a spade here). They're just more honest and vocal about their displeasure at men's inclinations, that's all. For the most part they don't care who wins the pennant or the Super Bowl or who the greatest heavyweight champ was. They have little interest in the latest scientific advances in barbecue grills and certainly do mind if you forget to shave all weekend. They hate the TV shows and movies you love, the things you like to eat and your favorite hat too. They're not big fans of the squalor men live in when left to their own devices and spend an incredible portion of their life's energy trying to correct us with very little to show for their efforts outside of the gazebo he built in the vain hope that it would shut you up. Yet, for all these mental and emotional egg-shell dances we do around each other most married
couples love each other and would do it all over again in a flash. Go figure us humans.
Ah, the quandaries of life. Seems like it's mostly about sex but there's plenty of other grey areas in life where we have to make what we politely refer to as judgement calls. Ever get a refund check from the IRS you didn't deserve? Did you return it or cash it and hope they don't discover the discrepancy? Me, I cashed mine and played dumb six months later when one of their intrepid bean counters figured it out. Ever knick somebody's car in a parking lot? How many of you left a note on the dented car's windshield 'fessing up to your carelessness? Kudos to you if you did. How many of us have ever reported a broken parking meter? That would be approximately zero of us. Who hasn't "padded their resume" when seeking a job? Well, that's lying. Ask your Mom.
And what about when a friend gets very sick and looks like hell? The first thing most of us do is tell them how good they look when we both know it's bullshit. They've got cancer, not blindness, fool! Nobody hid their mirrors on them. I suspect that we're just uncomfortable because we know that this could be us, too. No reason we know of that it was them and not us. We're just whistling past the graveyard when we see our friends or relatives all messed up from chemotherapy and radiation.
When we go to funerals we all seem to go out of our way to say how good a dead body looks! What a load of crap! Can't we think of anything else to say? That's just friggin' morbid. We mumble about the deceased looking so peaceful and in "a better place". A better place? Hell, the better place would be home having dinner with your family, not stiff in a box with your friends saying untruthful things to your loved ones. To my way of thinking, any place is a better place than to be the star attraction at a wake. I'd almost rather drive a mini-van. But yet I've uttered my fair share of lies and empty platitudes at funerals and I'm fairly certain I'll do it again, that is of course, if I'm not next. We all have a date with the reaper, no exceptions. I hope when my time comes people say I look like a bleached mannequin with a bad make-up job and that it's a rotten twist of fate that put me in a pine box, but that's not going to happen. There's as much chance of that
happening as you telling your wife that she does indeed look fat as a house in that outfit.