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Deception

I’m a sucker for quotes, and when I find a good one, I’ll ruminate on it for a while, years sometimes. I uncovered a gem that had been stuffed away in the recesses of my mind. “The problem with deception is that it requires eternal maintenance.” I don’t know who said this or whether these words were said as I have written them, but it’s one of those things said that everyone could attest to. We tell lies, some bigger than others. Psychologists will say that the reason we do so is because we idea of our best selves that we want to preserve. We don’t believe that the person to whom we are telling the lie will continue to hold us in high regard if we told the ugly truth. So the impetus for the lie is self-preservation, and this I can understand.
Can we handle the truth? Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men didn’t think we could. His character in that classic movie is unequivocal some truths are better left buried. In light of the Westgate attack, I’ve wondered whether the truth is even necessary particularly after the claims and counter claims of looting by the Kenya Defense Forces (or going by their new moniker: Kenya Dasani Forces). The committee chairing the investigations into the attack went as far as to suggest that the shop owners looted their own stuff so they could file insurance claims. As far as outrageous claims go, this one takes the croissant. After CCTV footage showed the soldiers engaging in what appeared to be unauthorized shopping, the story morphed yet again and we were told that disciplined forces were rather parched and helped themselves to some water. It was clear that the first lie needed reinforcement from more fantastic lies otherwise it would wilt away and expose the ‘liar’ to such derision. At this point I lift my hands in surrender and shake my damn head. If we can’t get to the bottom of this looting business, we’ll we ever know what really happened and how those very bad men unleashed that magnitude of terror on us?
I should not speak of the soldiers as if they are angels, faultless because the apples do not fall far from the tree. In my line of work, I’m often the recipient of foul text messages, threats that God himself will avenge the one I have ‘offended’. On several occasions I’ve been called a ‘bitch’ because a DNA test has exposed a lie. I used to take it personally, but now I smile it off. It’s business, it’s not personal, Don Miguel Ruiz taught me that in his great book The Four Agreements. When a man lies he says, ‘I have deadline sweetie, I’ll be home late’. Women lie about big things, ‘he has your nose or your ears or feet’. This is not to say that men don’t tell humungous lies, but I’ll limit myself to this subject. When a woman calls to insult me or sends me a message to say that it’s my fault she longer receives child support, I often wonder what she believes is the reason the guy felt the need to seek a paternity test in the first place. What triggers it? After all the clients do come looking for me. The women accompany them sometimes, being all coy and sweet or spotting that dead fish face, sagging unimpressed jowls.
I often get questions about the aftermath. What happens when that couple or that man leaves my office, the truth in hand? I don’t know, but what I do see immediately, regardless of the outcome is relief. They tell me of how many nights they have tossed in their beds, how food has not tasted the same, how powerless they have felt and how incredibly good they feel now that they know the truth.
The truth however remains elusive; the consequence of its exposure is often devastating. In a way, this is good for business for we are in the business of uncovering the truth and selling peace of mind. What do you think ladies and gents? Is it better to know or not to?

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