The third Wednesday of every month is a time for all of the ChicagoNow bloggers to come together, though separated by wards or cities or states, and focus on one topic for an hour. I knew this was coming up today and I knew that I was going to be home on time but then I wasn’t. Now, it is two hours past the blog curfew.
Here is the topic to discuss:
“Write about a time you told a lie” (It can be a little white lie, a whopper of epic proportions or something in the middle. Maybe you got caught, maybe you didn’t. Maybe the lie was actually a really good idea. Maybe you’ve never lied in your life or maybe you lie every day.)
I would have lied to myself if I thought that I was going to do anything but exactly what I was living at the moment this afternoon. My first plan was to pay a visit to a departing colleague’s good-bye event but at 6 o’clock, I decided that I really wanted to finish writing an article that I was inspired to begin last night and was enthusiastic to re-draft this evening. Then, I stuck to my plan of meeting friends for dinner at a new Peruvian restaurant in Washington DC where I live ( The place is called Nazca Mochica). I would be lying if I said that I cared about the restaurant before, during or after the meal. It was only the company that mattered, as is always the case.
Today is over.
Now the question is for you. Do you tend to ‘take something away’ or ‘take stock of’? Are you settled or are you looking for ideas and insights into how you can reach your goal? These questions can help decide whether you lie, to whom, how often and to what extent.
What did you consume yesterday? Be honest.
My answer: Vince Staples on Youtube, lots of headlines, an inspirational spoken work of R. Kelly singing the story of his life, vegetables, a few chapters of Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakai, Danzig “Skeletons” on c.d., “Fame and Fashion” David Bowie‘s Greatest Hits.
Lying has to do with one’s level of comfortability. The grandiosity or whiteness of a lie is not relevant to the one telling the lie. Any lie creates a division.
——-OK, the intro is over——-
I recently spent a week with my brother and his wife and my brother brought up something that I felt so far removed from but it has really defined my life . He said, “My little brother has always studied, has always learned for the sake of learning and has never cheated.” I’m sure that I have cheated in a lot of ways but learning is all that I have cared about since I began studying Latin with Frank Raispis at St. Ignatius College Prep and him teaching us, “repetitio est mater studiorum,” meaning just do it over and over and over and over and over, and even the dumbest of you will get it.
Later I studied with a man named Yaniv Iczkovits in Oxford, England. After his courses in Wittgenstein and Kant he returned to his home in Israel and he started a movement called the Refuseniks. They were a group of Israeli soldiers who refused to serve in defensive forces in occupied territories in Palestine. He was later imprisoned. He spent time in prison and later told me stories about how much he enjoyed this experience. Each night he would lecture prisoners about skepticism, realism, modernity and my favorite, feminism. Every day in prison, they would play the Fashion TV channel. If you have not seen it it is like ESPN for models: runway highlights, photo shoots and interviews with models. The prisoners would say lots of crude things about the women they would see on TV.
Yaniv took out his pen and pad and jotted down all of these statements.
When it was time for his daily philosophy lecture, this time on feminism, he began, “I’m going to fuck you so hard.” “I’m going to fuck you in the ass.” He made spitting sounds and screamed. Then he became silent and explained that most likely, no man in this prison will wield as much power as any women he screamed at on Fashion TV. No man will make anywhere near as much money and no man will have as much influence on society. [Not a lie.] And, that was just the intro.
My hour to write is almost up and I have not addressed my lie situation. Well, I have been uncomfortable for the past 2.5 years in Washington DC and have lived through a lot of lies. That is changing though. I need way more time alone than I allow myself and being new in a city, it’s easy to think that reaching out and socializing is the best way to go. A little bit though can go a long way. I have been lying to myself about how much I don’t need values, friends and ideas that make me stronger. Now, I have to see if they’re still there.
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