Marooned in a Blizzard of Lies…

There are fibs and little white lies, and there are big lies and half-truths. There is lying to oneself. There’s confabulation caused by faulty recollection and there’s perjury under oath. There are polite lies and noble lies, untruths and exaggerated puffery. There’s tactical bluffing, hyperbole, and rhetorical bullshit.

There’s equivocation and misrepresentation, propaganda and political spin, dissemblance and disinformation. There is speaking with forked tongue, being economical with the truth, making false and misleading statements, and there’s bald-faced lying… I could go on.

The capacity to lie convincingly is an essential part of our human development which, as every parent learns, generally occurs somewhere between the ages of four and five. By then the average child will have accrued enough experience to know that lying is a way to avoid punishment. In varying degrees, moral comprehension comes later.

In matters of mistruth there are those who subscribe to the beliefs of Aristotle (anyone who advocates lying can never be believed) or St. Augustine (there are no circumstances in which one may ethically lie … lying is a perversion of the natural faculty of speech), who simply could not countenance willing deception.

While others lean toward Machiavelli (appearances can be deceiving, and they should be deceiving … sometimes words must serve to veil the facts) or Nietzsche (some tell the truth only out of weakness … because it’s difficult to maintain a lie), who my have countenanced it a bit too much.

And yet we humans aren’t the only ones to verbally deceive. Perhaps you’ve heard of Koko the gorilla, who is said to understand nearly 2,000 words of spoken English and can communicate with her caretakers in American Sign Language. A number of years ago Koko was given a kitten as a pet to help sooth her nurturing instinct, which was very much in evidence except for the time when she somehow ripped a sink out of the wall. When asked what happened Koko’s response was unequivocally more Nature than Nurture. In crisp, clear signage she affirmed, “The cat did it.”

Cabaret fans will surely recognize the name, David Frishberg. Once a Journalism Major at University of Minnesota, he landed in Greenwich Village as a jazz pianist after a stint in the Air Force, and played for the likes of Carmen McRae, Gene Krupa and Zoot Sims.

Frishberg’s songs have since been performed by such luminaries as Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Diana Krall, and Susannah McCorkle – who actually covered this one. Still, his most popular number was memorably featured in an animated episode of Schoolhouse Rock in which he cleverly un-spun the legislative process with, I’m Just a Bill.

Blizzard of Lies

We must have lunch real soon. Your luggage is checked through.

We’ve got inflation licked. I’ll get right back to you.

It’s just a standard form. Tomorrow without fail.

Pleased to meet you. Thanks a lot. Your check is in the mail.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Your toes and knees aren’t all you’ll freeze

When you’re in it up to your thighs.

It looks like snow, but you never know

When you’re marooned in a blizzard of lies.

You may have won a prize. Won’t wrinkle, shrink or peel.

Your secret’s safe with me. This is a real good deal.

It’s finger lickin’ good. Strictly by the book.

What’s fair is fair. I’ll be right there. I am not a crook.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Better watch your step when your old dog Shep

Can’t even look you in the eyes.

You’re cold and lost and you’re double crossed

When you’re marooned in a blizzard of lies.

We’ll send someone right out. Now this won’t hurt a bit.

He’s in a meeting now. The coat’s a perfect fit.

It’s strictly fresh today. Service with a smile.

I’ll love you darling ’till I die. We’ll keep your name on file.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart.

And you’re in for a big surprise.

When you’re marooned, marooned, marooned

marooned, marooned, marooned,

marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies.

A blizzard of lies.

2 thoughts on “Marooned in a Blizzard of Lies…

  1. Excellent piece! I think Nietsche’s got my number, for the most part. It IS a handicap not to be able to BS, at times crucially so.

    Have a wonderful weekend..having an impromptu visit from Dave for 3 days. Can’t wait to spend time with him alone…first time since BJ died two years ago..be good for all if us.

    This is an extraordinarily gutsy piece. Like it. N/q

    Sent from my iPhone

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    • Thanks Nancy,

      Those “utilitarian” philopsophers certainly don’t mince words. To me the optimal word with Nietche’s statement is “some” … as in some people or (I think) some times. I’ve heard it said that if we actually knew the unvarnished truth about everything we’d completely lose our minds. Paging Dr. Freud.

      Sounds like you’re going to have a nice weekend! I’m actually in Newport today. My sister (who lives a half an hour from here) is having a baby shower for her daughter and people are flying in from all over. We’re putting up the Pettingell side of the family and, as ever, I anticipate a really good time.

      >

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