Two items topping the headlines the last week are the flu epidemic and Lance Armstrong. While influenza may be an epidemic, lying is a pandemic.
People lie, but generally there's a reason - not that it excuses or legitimizes the lie, but some gossamer reason for a lie does lessen the sting.
For instance, a stranger asks you to lend them money, and you tell them you left your wallet home. Or a friend wears an outfit you don't like, but you pretend you do. Those are lies anyone can relate to. But Lance Armstrong's lying was out of control. He lied on top of lies. He sued anyone who accused him of lying. How did he even keep track of his lies?
Why do so many of us lie with ease, but are furious when we are lied to? There are more to lies than simple falsehood - there's a fairly complex dynamic at work, and the part that enrages us first is the insult. For before the lie has escaped the liar's lips, they're telling us that they think we're stupid — stupid enough to believe their falsehood.
And so now, the word we hear most often repeated about Armstrong is "arrogance." But his arrogance is just a by-product of his lies. He's been calling us all idiots — for years.
Then today it was revealed that Beyonce didn't sing during the presidential inauguration—all she did was lip sync. So those facial contortions she made as she strained to hit high notes were lies. She was mouthing the lyrics to a pre-recorded track. Very relaxing.
And then there's the flu. If that doesn't get us, we'll be hurling from all the lies were are subjected to every day.
At least there's season for flu. And a shot. Liars are perennial. And there seems to be no cure.