The man who didn’t ‘lie’ for a year

SOMEHOW, Phil Callaway kept his friends and held his marriage together while attempting a year without telling a lie.

He recounts the experiment in his book To Be Perfectly Honest.

When his book editor called with the idea, Callaway, a humor author, had severe reservations.

“For some, a lieless year would be an easy assignment,’’
Callaway says in the book’s introduction. “Their natural habitat is the truth. I lie for a living. … I’m a humorist.’

Most of the stories he tells are 99 ) percent true, he says.

“But sometimes I add just enough salt to keep a tale savory, just enough falsehood to keep people interested. Some of the things may not technically have happened, but they might just as well have.’’

He told his editor that he has been “a chronic fudger’’ all his life.
“I fudge that I’m fudging,’’ he said, hoping that would nix the deal.

Callaway says a lot of his “fudging’’ was learned at the church his family attended when he was growing up, where the appearance of piety was rewarded.

“So I learned to fake my faith,’’ he says.

When his editor insisted that he was the perfect writer for the experiment, the Canadian had a troubling question: “Could I stay happily married while being completely honest with my wife?’’

It wasn’t long before that was tested and before he’d become adept at the project.

What got him into trouble with his wife, Ramona, were the little things, like the time she overcooked some peas.

“I made the mistake of saying these peas are horrible,’’ he says with a laugh. “Then I said, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

“And she said, ‘He would shut up and eat the peas!’’’

That taught him one of his first lessons, he says: Think. And sometimes just shut up. And when telling the truth, be kind about it.

And then there was their daughter Rachel, who told him she liked her old dad better.

“Why?’’ he asked.

“Because you’ve been so blunt.’’

“It was a long year,’’ Ramona says, “but I thought he did quite well. It seemed to be a fun book for him to write.’’

(More below)
(From MCT and Kansas City Star)

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6 thoughts on “The man who didn’t ‘lie’ for a year

  1. In the book, Callaway keeps a daily journal. One day he was cutting his grass when two young men came up and wanted to share Scriptures with him.

    Instead, he did some fake sign language and mouthed the word “deaf.’’

    “I guess he’s deaf,’’ one of them said. They walked away.

    “I think they knew I could hear,’’ Callaway says. “The headphones from my iPod might have tipped them off.’’

    As the days went on, he says, he began to think about the people he had wronged.

    “If I was to be truthful, I had these nagging things in my life that I needed to take care of,’’ he says.

    On Day 10 he asked the question: “Does this mean apologize to fellow golfers who thought I beat them fair and square, when in truth I cheated?’’ Then he wondered if there was a statute of limitations on how far that should go.

    He decided that as God brought incidents to his mind, he would take care of them.

    Then there were friends who were not doing right. Should he tell them?

    “I don’t like confrontation,’’ he says. “But we do people no favor by not telling them the truth.’’

    He tested his theory, and to his relief – and amazement – “people would tell me, ‘Thank you for being real.

    He tells of the days he praised God, the days he questioned God, the days he whined and the days he felt incredibly blessed.

    When the year was over, he says, he found out, “that I’m a Pharisee. I often want to look good and will do almost anything to accomplish that.’’

    “Many people have said this has helped me to take a good look at myself. I am a broken person and don’t necessarily lead a humble life.’’

    He also says he felt “an overwhelming sense of God’s grace. We talk about doing, doing, doing. Yet I came to the point that it is not about doing, but what God has done.

    “He had taken on the guilt himself. I need to be thankful for all he has done.
    )

    It wasn’t long before that was tested and before he’d become adept at the project.

    What got him into trouble with his wife, Ramona, were the little things, like the time she overcooked some peas.

    “I made the mistake of saying these peas are horrible,’’ he says with a laugh. “Then I said, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’

    “And she said, ‘He would shut up and eat the peas!’’’

    That taught him one of his first lessons, he says: Think. And sometimes just shut up. And when telling the truth, be kind about it.

    And then there was their daughter Rachel, who told him she liked her old dad better.

    “Why?’’ he asked.

    “Because you’ve been so blunt.’’

    “It was a long year,’’ Ramona says, “but I thought he did quite well. It seemed to be a fun book for him to write.’’

    .In the book, Callaway keeps a daily journal. One day he was cutting his grass when two young men came up and wanted to share Scriptures with him.

    Instead, he did some fake sign language and mouthed the word “deaf.’’

    “I guess he’s deaf,’’ one of them said. They walked away.

    “I think they knew I could hear,’’ Callaway says. “The headphones from my iPod might have tipped them off.’’

    As the days went on, he says, he began to think about the people he had wronged.

    “If I was to be truthful, I had these nagging things in my life that I needed to take care of,’’ he says.

    On Day 10 he asked the question: “Does this mean apologize to fellow golfers who thought I beat them fair and square, when in truth I cheated?’’ Then he wondered if there was a statute of limitations on how far that should go.

    He decided that as God brought incidents to his mind, he would take care of them.

    Then there were friends who were not doing right. Should he tell them?

    “I don’t like confrontation,’’ he says. “But we do people no favor by not telling them the truth.’’

    He tested his theory, and to his relief – and amazement – “people would tell me, ‘Thank you for being real.

    He tells of the days he praised God, the days he questioned God, the days he whined and the days he felt incredibly blessed.

    When the year was over, he says, he found out, “that I’m a Pharisee. I often want to look good and will do almost anything to accomplish that.’’

    “Many people have said this has helped me to take a good look at myself. I am a broken person and don’t necessarily lead a humble life.’’

    He also says he felt “an overwhelming sense of God’s grace. We talk about doing, doing, doing. Yet I came to the point that it is not about doing, but what God has done.

    “He had taken on the guilt himself. I need to be thankful for all he has done. “

    Like

  2. Many lies can be avoided with tact. “Do I look good in this?” when you’re already at a party, doesn’t have to be answered “No, it’s horrible.” It can be answered with “I do prefer such-and-such other one, it suits you better.”

    When a blow can’t be softened, you can’t lie anyway. “Is he dying?”

    I have to admit that “Am I dying?” can have problems when that person’s life is in the balance. You hope for a recovery – should you project a positive attitude?

    Like

    • Actually Strewth, if look up the movie “Scorpion King” there is some chinese actress that makes sackcloth look good. So it depends on the woman

      Like

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