Well, kind of. I mean it’s accurate, but incomplete. As the Christie administration recently discovered, there’s another adage that only the remarkably arrogant or unbearably stupid ever forget: Never put anything in writing! I’m guessing the people involved in the George Washington Bridge scandal ~ a bridge named, ironically, after a man who could not tell a lie ~ are both.
But I’m not one to judge. Listen, lying in the Posting Modern Age is hard. Harder, in fact, than it has ever been in the history of humankind. Harder than it’s been since man first stood erect. Harder than it’s been since man first got erect. And I think we can all agree that erections are the leading cause of lies.
Take a moment to consider: Have you tried to tell a lie recently? Even a little white one? It’s impossible. Our every breath is now splayed out across multiple platforms, apps, tags, check-ins, tweets, posts, pics and likes, each incestuously tethered to one another in a crisscrossing pattern that echoes and repeats like a fun house infinity mirror. “Oh, what a tangled Web we weave” indeed! The technology ostensibly designed to make life easier has done nothing but complicate everything. We all live our lives, to some greater or lesser extent, in public. Willingly. And whether we are posting backyard burger pix or criticizing those who do, we are all just waving our hands in the air saying, “I exist. Pay attention!,” and we hurtle forward like comets, leaving behind a trail of virtual debris.
Lying, however, turns that debris into evidence, and all that attention we so desperately craved suddenly begins to curdle. That’s when all those likes suddenly feel like eyes squinting through a Facebook keyhole ~ when all those retweets suddenly feel like strained ears pressed up against a Twitter wall.
The truth is this: At any given moment a liar is but a tap away from being exposed. The art has morphed into a virtual plate spinning orgy of untagging, unposting, unfriending and sweaty, trembling deletes all conspiring to render even the whiff of a spinning pinwheel the new definition of eternity. With all due respect to Jean-Paul Sartre, hell is no longer other people ~ it’s a bad signal.
And as we discovered yesterday with the Christie administration, and as we discovered with General Petraeus before him, and as we will likely discover again with some idiot ~ our emails too are indestructible, eternal, and not all that difficult to access. Has no one been paying attention to the whole NSA “we’re looking at your emails” thing?
C’mon people! If you’re going to lie, keep your wits about you! Do your due diligence! If you are on a computer, you are in public! Never in writing! Never in an email! Never on the internet! Never in a text! And for the love of all that is good and holy, if you’re stuck in bed sick with the flu and some stomach thing that you “really don’t want to get into,” don’t post pictures of you and your ex lounging by a pool in Miami the Friday of a 3 day weekend. Lying 101: Don’t do that. Just don’t.
What we are witnessing is a unique moment in history ~ the survival of the slickest. Only the most thoughtful, forward-thinking and detail oriented amongst us are truly prepared to not get caught. Bad liars will soon find themselves extinct. So, if you just stick around for a generation or two, we should have an entirely new set of politicians and cheaters. True, they won’t be any more honest, but at least we won’t know that.
In the meantime, try telling the truth, it’s easier. And to paraphrase Mark Twain, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to delete anything.”