I was just wondering………when should we tell the truth or not tell the truth?  Most of us like to believe that we are always honest and always tell the truth.


I think the truth is a little fuzzier than most of us believe.

While I was lost in thought the other day writing my first column, a friend phoned me.  I shouldn’t have answered, which was confirmed immediately as I heard her ranting hysterically about a pair of boots. This friend is great fodder for amusement, however, so as she interjected that the present situation was like a Seinfeld episode I began to listen more carefully.  I soon realized that this may be good! So, my interest now piqued, I listened intently as she related her story.

It seems as though several month earlier a woman in her apartment complex offered her a pair of second-hand boots she felt that she no longer wanted. My friend went on to explain at length how she resisted, with questions like “Are you sure you don’t want them?” and so on. Having been duly assured, my friend took the boots, claiming them now as her own.  After she wore them a few times she decided they hurt her feet and they were no longer useful to her.

As my friend is wont to do, anything that she finds useless soon makes a trip to the consignment shop. My friend actually has a part time job there.  No, not as a paid employee, mind you, but as the recipient of the money we all pay to acquire someone else’s clothes.  She does all right for herself and it has become almost an art form for her.

Anyway, I digress.  So, back to the boots.

As I continued to listen to her ravings, I came to realize that she was, in fact, driving full speed toward that very consignment shop. I expressed a brief concern about her ravings while driving, but when my friend is in one of these states the listener can barely get in a word, let alone be heard, so I gave up on this idea, put the phone on speaker and let her rant.

Sometimes it’s just better to keep quiet and this was one of them.

What I was able to assemble out of this mumble jumbo were things like, “When someone gives you something, it’s yours, right?” “Once they give it to you you can do whatever you want with it, right?” You probably have guessed by now, but it seems as though the giver of the boots left her a message that she would like to borrow them back now to wear somewhere special.

At about this time my friend arrived at the consignment shop and after a rapid appraisal of the current stock she exclaimed in a state of horror, “They’re gone!” It seems as though she hoped she could still salvage this mess, but now all hope was gone. To further complicate this dilemma, she now would be the recipient of profit from her action.

My friend’s thoughts quickly shifted to what lie to tell about the boots, things like: she spilled nail polish on them, she lent them to someone else, she lost them, they’re at the shoemaker’s being reheeled, and so on. She asked me which story would be most suitable, and at first I demurred, noting that only she could answer that question for herself.  Finally, unable to withstand her pressure anymore, I shouted in exasperation,

“How about the truth?”

This seemed to come as a refreshing surprise to her as she mulled it over.  “Maybe I will,” she replied, but I heard enough “maybe” in her response to know that the solution was still under question.

A simple moral dilemma, another little joke on the human condition.

What should she do?

What would you do?

I was just wondering….