A cow-orker passed me on the way into the building this morning, and gave me a smile and a wave. "How are you?" he asked.
"Fine, thanks. You?"
"Oh, fair to middlin'."
Niceties observed, we continued on our ways. Probably the only words we'll speak all week.
But as I continued on my way to my desk, the thought occurred that my answer had been, well, not a lie, exactly, but certainly incomplete. In these parlous times, when flat-out mendacity, dissembling and prevarication emanate daily -- hourly! -- from the highest reaches of government, when religious fanatics on every side justify lying in the name of what they deem a higher purpose, when employers, moneylenders, advertisers and PR weasels tell the most baldfaced whoppers to advance whatever crappy agendas they themselves have been lied into believing, it becomes a sacred duty for we ordinary folk to preserve, protect and defend the Truth no matter how much discomfort it may cause us. Thus do we defend our jackboot-crushed Reality.
Let's try that conversation again, shall we?
"How are you?"
"Gassy. Woof. Just blowin' like a Roman candle. You do not want to get in my truck cabin right now, smells like the whole Red Chinese Army used it for a latrine. I cut my palm Saturday rassling plywood, that throbs a bit, looks a little red and angry. Prolly oughta get some Neosporin on it. Felt this weird twinge in my gut on the drive in, right side, maybe my liver. Or more likely just that gas. Temperature's right where it should be, blood pressure's OK. Been drinking a little too much lately, which might indicate emotional emptiness, or could just be high spirits, I don't know. Got laid Saturday, so I'm doing OK on that front. Could do it again right now, but no urgency. I've got four screen-mockups to do by COB today, but I'm a pro, I can handle it. Right sneaker's tearing a bit at the sole, prolly oughta shop for some new ones. Not living paycheck to paycheck, socking some away, hitting the credit-card bills OK, nothing to complain about there. 'Course, being naturally frugal with the fripperies helps on that score. Got the taxes in on time. The boy sprained his ankle on the halfpipe we built together, so I've got some guilt going over that. Had a flying dream last night, which I think is good. Don' t know for sure. Hating this cold rain, but the garden sure could use it.
"And how are you?"
The instant my interlocutor opens his mouth to speak, I turn on my heel and stalk away. The defense of Truth can only go so far.