While going through the hiring process for my current job, I was required to take a lie detector test. I consider myself to be an honest person, but to tell you the truth, I was nervous. I felt like I was strapped into an electric chair. I was schvitzin.
I’ve read studies that say the average person lies several times a day. Experts believe that children learn to lie by observing their parents. For example, the phone rings and the mother has the child tell the caller she’s not home. The child is taught the art of deception by imitating their parents.
If someone chooses to lie, there is a wide variety of lies from which to choose. The half-truth is a deceptive statement that might contain some elements of the truth. A lie told with no malicious intent and little if any consequences, is a fib.
The white lie is probably a lie human beings are most guilty of telling: “No, you don’t look fat in those jeans.” These lies often considered harmless and told to protect feelings. Typically, the white lie is told to make the recipient feel good. On the other hand, if someone is smiling as they tell you a lie, they’re lying through their teeth.
Of course, I don’t want people to lie to me, but in fiction writing, lies can be an important storytelling tool. A character that lies will often catch my interest. A bland character becomes intriguing when he tells a lie or two. The reader will start to wonder, what does she have to hide?
When I decide to have my character tell a lie, I need to make sure the reader knows that this is in fact, a lie. If I fail to do so, he or she won’t anticipate when the truth will be discovered. The possible consequences of a lie can keep the reader turning the page.
I did pass my polygraph test. It’s not something I’d like to experience again. As I was unhooked from the machine, all I was told was that my heart was pulsating during the entire test. When I was offered the position several weeks later, I figured my rapid heartbeat meant I was truthful.