Monday, August 9, 2010

The tale of two men -- truth, lies & who cares?

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo -- Time Unveiling Truth / 1743

Just who do you trust for the truth?

I met two men during the past few days.

One was from Sierra Leone, who was about my age, had three children between ages three and eight by a wife here in America, but who also once was married to a woman still in Africa and who has six adult children there.

He initially described his American wife as beautiful. When I met her later, I thought she was sort of average and, obviously, the boss of the family. He told me he had a brother who was in the Sierra Leonean army, and who killed rebel insurgents and was killed by rebel insurgents in the wars surrounding the notorious "blood diamonds." He said his brother, his brother's wife and their six children were locked in a house which was then torched.

He mentioned that his mother also lives with him, and that she requires a lock on her bedroom door at night to prevent her from "going wandering."

I cannot help but wonder how much of his story is fabricated. On the other side of the coin, he most certainly has been places and done things I have not done, so who cares where the lies end and the truth begins? To talk to him is an experience onto itself.

As an aside: Thunder and lightning rule the sky here at the moment.

The other man was a real estate agent. God, could that man talk. And, I do not mean trying to sell me anything. Within about thirty minutes, I knew his entire life story. I knew how much he loved his wife and, in the same instant, how much he hated her; loved, because they had been married nearly twenty years and had two children ages thirteen and eleven; hated, because, in this failing American economy, she kept putting pressure on him to bring home more and more money.

He told me how a friend of his since childhood had recently died from pancreatic cancer, how this man had been his buddy and his confidant and his confessor.

Once more, I cannot help but wonder how much of his story is invented. On the other side, he most certainly has been places and done things I have not done, so who cares where the lies end and the truth begins? To talk to him is an experience onto itself.

Yeh, I know I said the same words about the Sierra Leonean, but is it not wonderful to hear the stories people tell you about their lives -- here, there and everywhere?

It is absolutely amazing how, in the span of twenty minutes or so, it is possible to learn all the relevant details in an individual's life. Maybe, this is because I worked as a newspaper reporter, and learned interviewing skills. Maybe, it is because I have interrogated literally dozens of criminals, trying to break them down and to confess to "high crimes and misdemeanors." It probably is more simple than that. It probably is because some people need to talk to someone, to anyone who will listen, and I happened to be there, in the right place at the right time.

It takes an expert to tell when lies end and when the truth begins. But, hope and dreams and just plain stupidity sometimes overrule even the experience of an expert. Remember, the bottom line is that no one can lie to you unless you wish it to be so and allow it to happen.


Peggy said...

Interesting thoughts, Fram. I understand entirely where you are coming from on this one and agree, in particular, with you last statement.

I still have vivid memories from my past relating to a pathological liar I ended up living with for 2 years. There were numerous "red flags" which alerted me that these were fabricated stories - woven in with bits of truth - this person would tell me however he was such an utterly charming person and the stories so artfully told, I just decided to enjoy them for what they were and give up worrying about fact vs fiction with this guy. I had never met someone who fabricated to this degree - someone who did not worry if his stories didn't check out.

In the end it turned out not so harmless to me... but that was my fault for allowing the charade to continue. Since then I have this little voice in the back of my head (like you) that wonders how much of a story I am being told is invented.

I think I preferred my previous state of naivety, I had never encountered quite a Paul Bunyan in all my life, but of course this new found scepticism is much safer for me.

Kaya said...

"Remember, the bottom line is that no one can lie to you unless you wish it to be so and allow it to happen."

I thought about it and I asked myself how can you not allow somebody to lie to you. Perhaps, I am naive in some ways but when I meet a new person I believe him until some things don't make sense to me. Then I begin to doubt.

Anonymous said...

Frammy..that is a very nice nick name..what have you done today!!

Your post is very good..Have you actually been a policeeman or something?..

I think people that talks to people that never has been listened tooo..and people that lie..they have it misarble..very they creat something good..something beaiutiful..a they can live..but who cares as you long as you understand why..

Fram Actual said...

Peggy, you became impatient with me. I apologize.

My thoughts and experience with this are not from "personal, personal" experience, such as you describe, but from "personal, professional" experience. It was not until I began reading case files of convicted felons and interviewing them for one reason or another that my sense of awareness regarding the truth, an exaggeration, a misinterpretation, ignorance and a lie became more fine tuned to life as it actually exists.

This sense is ingrained into my psyche now, and "big brother" that I am, I occasionally caution people through my posts to be careful and a bit skeptical about any stranger they might meet. Not every guy is as nice, mild mannered, polite, honest, truthful (what is the Boy Scout motto again?) as I am.

Seriously, it pays to be careful.

Thanks, for the visit and the comment, and I still do owe you.

Fram Actual said...

My first comment from Kaya. Thank you, very much.

I think all of us, most of us, at least, give other people the benefit of a doubt. In a personal sense, I think I always accept people for who they say they are unless reasons arise to be doubtful and skeptical. That said, I always keep my shield in front of me and my sword within reach.

The thought in regard to the sentence from my post which you quoted stemmed from this: I have known my children to lie to me, or a companion or a friend or a co-worker to lie to me, but I have allowed it to pass for one reason or another. In a personal sense, I have wanted (and, therefore, have allowed) people to lie to me because I want to believe them. Does that make sense?

The root goes deeper still. I think most of us can distinguish between truth and lie, which means it can only happen when we allow it to happen. I suppose I might be wrong, but I believe I can tell the truth from a lie with ninety-nine percent accuracy, and I assume others can do so, too, if they study people and actually wish only to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

In any case, such things are enjoyable to discuss.

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Anita. It is a nickname that has the influence of beautiful music on me, whether I read it or hear it. I think this name will be on my next passport.

What have I done today? Written, and spent about three hours going through boxes and tossing things and repacking other things. Soon, there will be very few albatrosses in my life.

Policeman or something? Something is the answer. Remember? In another incarnation I ran a small prison, and had to decide who would go on furloughs or into a work release program or be allowed to apply for parole, not to mention finding resolution to crimes committed within the prison. No room for error there. Failure to make the correct assessment of a situation could have had severe consequences.

But, beware. My boss, the secretary of corrections for the entire state, used to say that the only difference between the staff members and the inmates was that the staff got to go home at night.

And, yes, I think you are correct in your assessment about people in regard to talking and lying.

Thank you, Norwegian girl, for visiting and commenting.

Anonymous said...

hello fram..I can not sleep tonight..a storm is blowing up--the rain is pouring , i hear the leaves and the trees scracthing at my window..
You know ..some days ago..i had not heard from you in some days..I wok e suddenly up in the middle of the night..feeling someone was looking at me..he just sat there in the thin air..a thin man with a thin face..His skin was not milky white rather tanned..his hair to his shoulders..i sais "Hey you!!Why you watching me while Iam sleeping?The man said nothing..just looking at i turned around and fell a sleep again..later I woke up again..dreaming you was in my blog..i could see you typing a message..Isnt it strange.?. thought about drawing that ,man,..but now he is like a be gone..The Indians always said every person has a quide or protector..I have one..thats for sure..I think you are a very wise man Fram.I dont know you..but you seem real and honest..Keep on following your dream..You deserve the best. I try to catch up with some sleep..Bye!:)

Kaya said...

"but I believe I can tell the truth from a lie with ninety-nine percent accuracy..." I wish I could do it also.

Fram Actual said...

".... like a fog ...." That might be a good way to describe me, Anita.

Well, I am not certain if that was me hovering near you in Norway or not, but my Manitou has been known to sneak out on his own from time to time. Then, too, Fram the First is a constant problem. He is a ghost, actually, and frequently impersonates me. He was causing so much turmoil last year that I felt it necessary to begin calling myself Fram Actual rather than just plain Fram so it would be clear which one of us was writing which posts on my blog.

I guess I used to write about Fram the First quite a bit, too. Look back at the March 28, 2009, post, for example. As a matter of fact, when I think about it, I have not seen him since before I went to Poland. I wonder where he is and what he is doing.

As for your apparition, I am neither thin nor heavy, but I still do have the shoulder-length hair.

So, now, Anita. I hope the storm is long gone and that you still are sleeping and having a happy dream .... later ....

Fram Actual said...

Working as a reporter and/or in a prison is excellent training ground for deciphering truth from fiction, Kaya. Although, I do think there is some innate ability to it, as well.

Anonymous said...


Fram Actual said...

謝謝你的訪 ....

Anonymous said...

It is good to see so many comments!!

I couldnt find what Iwas looking for at your august/sept 2009..only Magdalenas diet..and that was very interesting!!In fact she is a very beautiful woman.Sad she is not on the blog or maybe has created a new one..who knows..

Yeeahh..I am pretty tired and bored today..And my internett was gone for hours..quite a job to fix it!!!..


Have a nice time Frammy on the blogs;)Bye!!

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Anita, it is good to see some comments. It has been a while for this many (except for you, who stays with me), and probably will not happen often anymore.

I made one trip to the storage unit and worked on some more boxes. I want to be ninety-five percent done by the end of the week so I can quit thinking about it until just before the end of the month.

You should be relaxing and enjoying your vacation .... later ....

Anonymous said...

No no no..I am thinking to much of my already into night shifts in my body..see..want to sleep all day and stay awake the whole night..yes it is a shitty life sometimes!!!Iam very bored.Dont you have ajoke or something to tell me (just kidding..)I want to laugh!!!(!)And I ate to much icecream with strawberries..not good at all..
well you must do what you must do.(packing ect ect).write sometimes when you can..
I will be stuch to some old james bond movies..ohhhhhh what a life what a life..Bye!!:))))))))))

Fram Actual said...

I have worked nights at times, too, so I know what you mean, Anita. Besides that, I am a night person.

Now that you mention it, I think I will have some ice cream. I became addicted to it in Poland, a bar called the Magnum Classic. Since they cannot be found around here, I have had to switch. My Minnesota favorite is French Silk chocolate.

Yes, pack and write, pack and write .... I have an easy life ....

Something special ....