True lies

Ed Smith
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There are three great lies in life. These lies are often told us by the most important people in our lives.

People whom we know would never lead us astray. And neither would they - deliberately. The cruel fact is that they've been led astray, too.

The view from here - There are three great lies in life. These lies are often told us by the most important people in our lives.

People whom we know would never lead us astray. And neither would they - deliberately. The cruel fact is that they've been led astray, too.

These are in addition to the big three of: "Yes, your cheque is in the mail;" "Yes, I will respect you in the morning;" and that other one.

Lie No. 1

"Everything works out for the best."

Sometimes, there's a condition attached: for those who love God, or for those who work hard, or for those who have enough faith. Makes no difference to the basic premise.

After "graduating" from a two-room school in Western Bay, Conception Bay, I found myself almost immediately in Dalhousie University. "Culture shock" is not a strong enough phrase to describe my reaction to it.

One night soon after my arrival, a new friend invited me on a double date to drive out to Point Pleasant Park to "watch the submarine races." Wow! Submarine races! How much better could it get?

We meandered around Halifax for an hour or so, during which time I grew more and more agitated. The darn fool driving this jalopy had to know you couldn't see anything after dark.

Finally we got there, and sure enough it was dark.

"So," I inquired in great frustration, "where are the damn races?"

There was a moment of complete silence, and then my date burst out laughing.

"Oh Ed," she exclaimed. "Surely you don't think we come out here to watch submarines!"

Well, Ed did and was so unhappy with the situation that he demanded to be taken home.

I don't care how much you believe, or have faith or love God. There ain't no way that situation could work out for the best. It didn't, either. Never saw the girl after.

Lie No. 2

"Nothing is ever as bad as it seems."

No? I refer you to another friend of mine in Halifax who was, like me, set up on a blind date. He was given the address of the young lady and also the time he should pick her up.

Accordingly, he made his way to the house and in fear and trembling knocked on the door. One never knew what to expect on a blind date. To his relief, the door was opened by a lass who was somewhere in between homely and comely. You should know that to a shallow youth of the '50s, appearance was everything.

But she wasn't too bad, so he introduced himself, presented her with flowers he couldn't really afford and asked if she was ready to go. She sized him up for a moment and then said, "Sure!" and off they went.

Had a pretty good night, too, until he discovered next day he had gone to the wrong house and taken out the wrong girl. You think that wasn't as bad as it seemed? You're right, it was worse, much worse.

Turned out this girl had a boyfriend who was on the Dalhousie Tigers, the football team, who didn't take kindly to someone putting the moves on his girlfriend. A confrontation ensued in front of the gym in which my friend was just a little hurt physically, much embarrassed mentally and badly scarred emotionally.

On top of that, the girl he should have taken out was what we called in those good old/bad old days a sweater girl who wore tight sweaters and a lovely smile, both of which fitted her to a T.

She was totally peed off and wouldn't have anything to do with him after. She wasn't exactly hard up for a date and was only blind dating him as a favour to me. Anyway, he missed a lot of classes after that, which was probably the reason he failed his year. But it's never as bad. ... Right!

Shall we move on?

Lie No. 3

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Another university friend learned the hard way that this is one of the worst lies of all. This one more than the others has a way of reaching down into a person's heart and wringing it out dry.

He was engaged to a girl back home, I think Saskatchewan, who vowed on all that was good and holy, and a couple of things that were not, that she would love him more and more every day he was away.

She even quoted the old saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

That did it. He came to college sure and certain of her everlasting affection.

He was a very good-looking fellow, and several girls on campus were continually knocking themselves out to get him to notice them. But if he was tempted, he never let on and kept himself purer than a Gregorian monk.

Then, when the year was almost over Jim got a letter from Shirley, explaining that she was breaking off the engagement because it was too lonely without anyone to go out with and she was now dating another fellow who was closer.

Jim wrote her back, pouring out his heart on paper, and ending with reminding her of her promise that, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

A reply came in due time, telling him, in essence, to grow up and get over it. She ended with the lovely sentence, "And bulls**t makes the grass grow longer."

I think it was her way of putting an end to it once and for all.

Jim left the university without even writing exams, and I lost touch with him over the years. Hopefully, he realized the truth of her last quote before the first one destroyed him completely.

True lies? Not hardly. Try living by them and you'll see.

They're designed to rob you of the joy of life.

Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is

Organizations: Dalhousie University, Dalhousie Tigers

Geographic location: Halifax, Western Bay, Conception Bay Point Pleasant Park Saskatchewan Springdale

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