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Volume 71, Issue 77, Friday, January 27, 2006

Opinion

Maybe honesty not always the best policy

Jude Maydwell
Opinion Columnist

"Honesty is the best policy" is an old adage that has been bludgeoned into our heads by our parents and teachers for years. Telling the truth is allegedly the "right" thing to do at all times, and lying is something that only scumbags, criminals, vermin, and Columbia Music do. (11 CDs for a penny my eye!)

However, the romantic world where there are raindrop blossoms and sunshine prickles everybody's truth-telling lips is far from the reality we live in today. The fact of the matter is that a well-placed little white lie sometimes will do more good than the blatant, glaring, punch-you-in-the-gullet truth. 

Everybody has those times in their lives where they lay down that landmine of a request, "Now, tell me the truth." Be it girlfriend, old roommate, neighbor or stepbrother's cousin, you know fully well that you do not want to hear the truth. You just think you do. When you hear the actual truth, which involves some twisted relationship between all of the aforementioned people, you will regret ever being ignorant enough to think that you could "handle the truth."

Then there is the one scenario that we here as college students see all the time. You are out late Sunday night at one of Houston's hot spots and you may or may not have had more drinks than you can count, danced with every bartender and bouncer in the building, (the latter of which got your "escorted out" to the curb), lost your shoe beside a building and finally fell asleep in somebody's house whose name you still don't remember. 

Now, do you think your 8 a.m. professor wants to hear the explicit details about why you missed his class? I'm pretty sure this is the time to tell him that either your alarm didn't go off or your bowels were not cooperating for the majority of the night. 

Lying has been an institution of our society for a long time. Honesty became taboo as soon as Chris Columbus came here to the New World and promised to "be fair to the natives," and it has only gained steam all the way through to the protein stained dresses and the "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" of today. 

The truth can be a very powerful, painful thing when put into the wrong hands. The God-honest truth can do more damage than any well-crafted, enigmatic, clever fabrication of half-truths. I am not saying turn into a bold-faced liar, but there are some times when what actually happened is not the story you're going to want to tell, especially if it paints you as how shall I say a huge feminine hygiene product that shall remain nameless. 

So next time a sticky situation arises, take a step back and evaluate how much of the "truth" is actually necessary. The straight truth may be as cacophonous as a kitten in a blender. 

Just remember a little adage I live my life by: "Words are just words the way you construe or misconstrue them is your fault." 

Maydwell, an opinion columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached at jmaydwell@gmail.com.

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