Camouflage is a game we all like to play, but our secrets are as surely revealed by what we want to seem to be as by what we want to conceal.
Are you good at keeping secrets? It’s a complicated social skill. One that always involves lying. Lying by intentionally giving the answer that is opposite of the truth. Lying by staying silent or professing ignorance when you know more than you say.
In my life as a lawyer, I deal with people who lie and those who seek to keep the liar’s secrets, every day. The way to expose the lie often involves digging deeply into papers and testimony and finding the inconsistencies. Those inconsistencies must be accompanied by a motive to conceal or they never go beyond mere inconsistencies to that darker stage of outright lies.
Searching and searching through thousands of pieces of paper, and other evidence, I’ve found hundreds of easy to expose lies in my career. And yet, these people thought their lies that would never be discovered.
Lies that surprise people are the best. These are fun to expose to a jury. When the jury sees these kind of lies, and I put them together with a motive in closing arguments, my job is mostly done. Whether a jury comes back with a verdict depends on how they view these lies and how well I’ve managed to advocate.
In my own personal life, sometimes I tell a little white lie. (What?! I’m not perfect!) For example, I’m terrible at saving money. In fact, I would say I have the opposite “skill”. I’m very, very good at spending money. I recognize my little “problem” and long ago relinquished any control of household funds to the hubs. Sometimes, however, I will, in a moment of weakness, buy an extra toy for the child.
Hubs has his own set of problems in that he is a bit of a hypocrite. He will repeatedly chastise me for purchasing a toy for our child and then, within say, a week of that tongue-lashing, he will take the boy out and buy him a toy. You see how unfair this is, right?
So, one day, not so long ago, the hubs was warning me – no more toys for the child. Of course, me, being me, refused to acknowledge this decree nor the purported authority from whence it was issued. I took the child to Target and bought him a toy.
After purchasing said toy, I had a talk with the child. My little talk will not win me any “mother of the year” awards. I told him, “Listen, Tootles. Mommy will be in trouble with Daddy if you tell him I bought you a toy today. Do you understand?” “Yes.” he answers. He’s so adorable and was such a good boy, I could not resist. Paint “sucker” on my forehead. It’s okay. I already know.
“Do not tell Daddy we got that today, ok?” I ask. “Yes.” he answers. I knew likely compliance with this conversation was next to nil.
However, because Daddy has a faulty memory, does not pay a lot of attention and does not know one toy from the next, I figured my odds of being busted were about 50-50. Often, he does get it wrong, asking if something that we’ve had for two years is new. If directly confronted, I will tell the truth and get ripped into if it is a new toy. However, I will try to sneak it by on occasion.
Daddy comes home. He sees the new toy. Rather than ask me, hubs goes directly to child.
Dad: “Tootles, is that a new toy?”
Dad: “Did Mommy buy it today?”
No hesitation. Whatsoever. Directly thrown under the bus by my cohort in crime.
What happened? I thought we were a team! Crime does not pay. Especially with an honest kid.