It was my aunt who taught me the meaning of honesty. Not because she actually was honest, but because she lied all the time. I think she felt that the easiest way out of any given situation was generally the best way out. And, for her, that meant telling a lie that sounded so believable. As a young child I thought it was cool to lie and get out of things so easily. And, naturally, when I would come to her with a problem, concern or a question wondering what I should do, she of course would advise me to lie.
"Aunt Linda, I told Jeff that I would go to the movies with him, but I would rather go to Kevin's house and go to the mall with him.
"Tell Jeff you're sick, she would say. And most often I would. But I didn't seem blessed with her lack of conscience. On many occasions Jeff would find out that I really went to Kevin's house and to the mall without him. These occasions taught me that it is more painful to be caught in a lie than to tell the truth in the first place. I wondered how it was possible that my aunt had never learned that lesson that I had just learned so painfully and so easily.
I started thinking of all the lies that I'd heard her tell. I remember the time she told her friend that her favorite shopping mall had closed, just so she wouldn't have to see her there anymore and have her approach her and talk for five minutes. Or the time when she told my Uncle that she loved the new purse he had gotten her for her birthday. Or when she told her friend that the car was down and that is why she hasn't been to see her in a couple of weeks. What bothered me the most after awhile was how she incorporated me into her lies. Like the time she called the school and told them I wouldn't be there today because I had a dentist appointment, when in fact, she wanted me to baby sit my little cousin so she could go get