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.’’
(From MCT and Kansas City Star)