Category Archives: lying

Human Beans Explained by a Bean-Head

Mickey was a bean-headed child, so he is the perfect person to nattate this essay.

Children don’t always hear and understand perfectly what grown-up people tell them. So it was with me and the term “human bean.” My parents were repeatedly saying that I was a “human being” like all other “human beings.” But I, of course. insisted on hearing that I was a “human bean.”

It made perfect sense to me. Mom was always saying to me at every meal, “Michael, eat your beans. Before you can leave the table you must clean your plate. So, eat ALL of your beans.”

Great Grandma always told me, “You are what you eat.”

And I believed her. That meant that more than fifty percent of me was made entirely of beans.

But Great Grandma told me that beans were protein and you needed protein to build muscles. And you also needed protein for your brain to think with.

So, I was a human bean.

And as a budding artist, I noticed things. I had visual proof.

.People like me who were bean-heads tended to be smarter people than those whose heads were flat-on top or flat in the back. It made sense. A bean-shaped head had more room in the back for brains. And that meant that bean-headed Mr. Greenjeans was actually smarter than round-headed Captain Kangaroo. And some bean-headed people were really good at basketball. John Havlicek and Wilt Chamberlin were better basketball players than the New York Knicks had, probably because they were smarter. with their bean brains.

And as a child with a bean-shaped body, I had proof that I wasn’t just “full of beans” as Great Grandma said, I was MADE of beans. That meant the fat parts of my bean-body were actually pure muscle.

One day I was out in a pasture at Uncle Larry’s farm flying my box kite, the one I made myself with only a little help from my dad.

As I was flying it high enough to be seen from far away, two girls I knew from school and lived nearby came up to me to admire my kite as it flew.

Coraline Bigsby was a couple months older than me and a grade ahead of me in school. Alicia Stewart was a couple months younger than me and in my second-grade class.

“Wow,” said Alicia. “I have never seen a kite like that fly so high. How did you get it up there?”

I was probably blushing as I answered, since I secretly had a crush on her, the prettiest girl in our school. “I know the magic secrets to get it to fly like that.”

“Could you let us try?” Coraline asked. She was blonder and plumper than Alicia, but still generally a nice girl.

I handed Coraline the kite string. Almost instantly the wind died down and the kite floated gently down to the pasture grass.

The two girls both were instantly sorry that they had been the cause of my kite coming down. But no matter which one held the kite and which one held the string, they couldn’t get it up in the air again.

“Okay, Mike, what’s the magic secret to getting it to fly?” said Coraline, frustrated.

I, of course, with my great bean-brain, decided it was the perfect time to tell an evil lie. “This kite will only go up if you reduce wind resistance by taking off all your clothes.”

“My parents would kill me, if I did that,” said Coraline. “It is a bad thing to do.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” said Alicia, “But I’m way too shy to take my clothes off in front of a boy.”

“You didn’t do that to get it up the first time, Mike. You’re lying to us.” Coraline was getting mad.

“Yes, I did. You two weren’t here then. I put my clothes back on before you got here.”

“There isn’t any reason to do it that way anyway. What’s the advantage of being naked?” Coraline growled.

“Your clothes block the wind that’s needed to make the box kite fly. That’s what’s different about box kites.”

“Why don’t you show us, Michael. That will prove you are telling the truth,” said Alicia.

My eight-year-old bean brain began to panic. I was putting my own foot into the evil trap I tried to set. Okay, maybe not precisely my foot. I had to let them uncover my lie, or I had to uncover everything else.

Coraline was glaring at me. Alicia was smiling.

Well, you made your own horrible situation come to pass, Mickey. What are you going to do?

When I first took them all off and put back on my shoes, Coraline covered her eyes and Alicia blushed, but smiled as she watched everything I did. I was worried what they would say when I couldn’t get the kite back up in the breeze. But it almost immediately caught the wind and went up even higher than before. They were both happy to hold the string for a short time. But when I asked them if they would use my magic method to get it back up, they both declined. They were perfectly happy to stand next to me while I flew the kite in my bean-body birthday suit. They giggled a lot and looked at me more than they looked at the kite. But they were both happy with how that day went.

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Telling Lies for Fun or Profit

When I was a boy in Iowa, living in a boring little farm town where nothing really ever happened, I made a bunch of stuff up in my stupid little head and had great fun pretending it was all real.

I loved stories about Flash Gordon, Tarzan, and Jungle Jim on the Saturday afternoon TV ;matinee on Channel 3 from Mason City.

So, naturally, I told my friends at school that I was secretly a boy from outer space pretending to be Mike Beyer as part of a super-secret mission from a Star Empire that nobody but me knew existed. I got really embarrassed one night at 4-H Fun Night in Eagle Grove when the girl I had a secret crush on confronted me about telling my friends that she was a Martian Princess trapped on Earth by agents from outer space. She wasn’t mad. She thought it was funny. But I turned shades of red and purple in the face that no one knew was humanly possible. I got both joy and agony out of being the sort of juvenile liar who is destined to grow up to be a story-teller.

But lies are not always harmless amusement. I am not saying I never told an evil, black lie. But I don’t think I ever did. At least, if I ever did, it was forgettable enough to be forgotten by me.

And the lie about the sexual assault I endured at ten was not really a lie. I didn’t tell anybody because he threatened to hurt me worse if I did. That scared me enough that it would be years before I even allowed myself to remember that it happened. And lies of omission are not regular lies. You are not telling somebody to believe something that isn’t true. You are simply not telling anyone about something you don’t want to be known.

To be honest with both you and myself, I never really ever got into trouble by telling a lie and getting caught for it. Most of the problems I ever had with girlfriends and eventually wife were created by telling the truth. That happens when you have two girlfriends at the same time and they really don’t like each other. It also happens when you decide things for yourself because you think it is the most sensible decision you can make, and when you tell your wife about it, you find out it is, in fact, the stupidest, most-wrongest idea any stupid person ever had… simply because husbands are always wrong. Funny, though, the decisions and ideas I carry out without telling her first always seem to work out fine. So, I must only be the world’s stupidest man if I tell her about it.

It almost seems like it is better to lie by omission than to tell the actual truth.

I am aware, however, that lies can be told in hurtful ways, fundamentally immoral and evil ways. It seems my email is full of scams and cons and lies daily. Not just African princes with money that desperately needs to pass through my bank account for some obscure reason, but Amazon gift cards for a thousand dollars that you just need to supply some information to have delivered to your bank account, and Norton security subscriptions that need to be renewed by credit card even though I stopped using Norton for that ten years ago.

And then there was an orange man who told us from before the first vote was cast that the 2020 election would be stolen by voter fraud. He whipped up an angry mob who took weapons and flags and anger into the US Capitol building so they could poop on stuff and kill some capitol policemen and try to get their hands on AOC because apparently they think she is a communist or something. That was an election lie that caused an insurrection. It caused people to get killed (on both sides, some battered policemen to commit suicide later, and Congress-people to tell more lies about terrorists merely being tourists. ‘

That’s a truly evil lie.

One of the things I appreciate most about nudists is the fact that naked people are not hiding anything.

So, I am able to identify being a liar as essentially a bad thing.

Of course, that is not going to prevent me from being the liar I have always been. Though, from now on I will be calling it being a fiction writer or a storyteller.

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Pants on Fire

Our previous President, the man whose name I will no longer use because it makes him happy to see it in print, has a hollow pumpkin for a head. Hollowed out with no remaining think-o-lating pieces, seeds of ideas, or potential candle lights to shine out of the carved eyes and fanged demon smile. Just empty. Desolate. Possibly a site for spiders to spin their cobweb houses.

And everything I said in that previous paragraph, the distortions, the metaphors, the exaggerations, are all lies.

Spiders would definitely NOT be comfortable spinning webs inside Trumpalump’s head. And I just used his name even though I distorted it. And he did have ideas. Lots and lots of EVIL ideas.

Really, journalists are writing lots and lots of books about it. They are giving him so many journalistic hotfoots, that his pants are bound to catch fire.

And that’s a lie too, unless you grant me the notion that the metaphors are accurate.

The pictures used in this post have nothing at all to do with the topic of the post. I was simply able to go all the way back in my media gallery to March 2014 to show you pictures I have not ben able to show you for a long time.

As the flames continue to lick upward around the seat of the defeated former President’s pants, brought on by an administration’s inability to deal with anything but by lying, we must all deal with the fact that most of what human beings on planet Earth actually believe and act upon are lies.

Yes, we are all necessarily liars. Not just the lying leader of what was, before his presidency, the leading nation of the free world. All of us.

And keep in mind, this article is written by a fiction author and former middle-school teacher, two jobs that necessitate telling lies to others daily.

It is entirely possible that I am even a liar as a fantasy artist. My sister never met the boy in her lap in the first picture. The Aztec girl was not really an Aztec as the background suggests. And if the red dragon is really personifying liars in the picture I call, “The Family Picnic,” that dragon will win the battle and eat the whole family.

Of course, not all lies are malicious.

That’s why it has taken this long for prosecutors and judges to start applying matches to the Trumpinator’s trousers. They have to prove how stupefyingly manipulative and harmful his monstrous lies have been.

The models for the “people” in this picture were both actually naked, but they were on horse, not a chicken. Therefore, this picture too is not a photograph.

Mostly, however, we tell lies for benign reasons. We tell ourselves that science and technology will find a way around extinction of life on Earth through Climate Change. We tell ourselves we will go to Heaven when we die. These lies comfort us in that, well, they might be true. And they give us hope against the bleakness of reality.

And there is truth to be found in the creation of fictitious worlds through books, movies, plays, and poetry. We can rewrite the world and its problems to our liking, possibly creating solutions to those problems along the way.

But basically, we all have to constantly be checking whether the smoke rising from our pants is being ignited by our dishonesty, or by the dire need to change something about our daily diet. Lying is a fact of our humanity. And it can get out of control to extreme levels where it Trumps everything else.

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Truthfully Again…

  1. Truthfully… I am glad I never tried to use this cover idea for Snow Babies. Naked kids do not give the right impression about the book. The snow babies themselves are spirits of the frozen dead. But this is not a horror story. And besides, the title refers to the kids in the story who aren’t ghosts as well, particularly Valerie Clarke, the female protagonist.
  2. Truthfully… I just got another five-star review on Snow Babies through Amazon. It now has ten, with one four-star review. While at least three of those five-star review are honest reviews by someone who read and loved the story, I believe most of them didn’t read the whole book, or only read a small portion of it, judging it five-star from reading the other reviews. Most of the reviewers come from Pubby where they must read a book and review it in four days or fewer to earn points they can put toward their own books getting reviewed. So, I understand why they don’t fully commit to the reading of the whole book. There is, however, evidence that some of them review my books without reading it at all.
  3. Truthfully…As a reviewer I try to read the whole book, even the long ones, before reviewing them. But some books submitted to the Pubby library are written by really awful or untalented authors. Still, I read as much as I can stand in the four days given, and I rate them as highly as I can justify it to myself. I have given only one two-star review, and no one-star reviews at all. But I have had to put a lot of three-stars on books that didn’t deserve it. Those authors have spent money on the service just as I did. They deserve something for their money. I see a lot of books, though, that I know are awful getting five or four stars.
  1. Truthfully,,, A while back I lost a dog here in Carrollton, my sister-in-law’s dog. And I only got it back because neighbors found it and made an effort to get it back to us. My butt was rescued from my wife’s fury by a good lady who found the dog hiding in her garage and posted it on the local news website, having remembered I had been asking around the neighborhood about it before she found it, but not remembering my name or address. Today my daughter and I rescued another fluffy little poodle-like dog who was obviously lost and wandering about the park near our house.
  2. Truthfully… Our effort didn’t amount to much since we couldn’t get the dog to come close enough to check for a collar with a phone number on it, like the last lost dog we rescued. But, as I went in to call animal control, my daughter watched it sniff around, preventing it from wandering too far or going into the street in front of cars. And as she watched it, the family of the little girl who owned and loved the dog were driving around looking for it, and they found it near our yard, called it by name, and it joyfully hopped in the car and directly into the arms of the relieved little girl. I do love a happy ending.
A painting by Maxfield Parrish
  1. Truthfully… I still think of myself as a nudist. In my head I have been one since childhood. But I am hardly ever nude. My chances of going back to a nudist facility and experiencing social nudity again are practically nil because my health is too poor and I don’t know anyone who would be willing to go with me and take care of me if I had a health crisis. And even working at my computer nude in my bedroom doesn’t happen anymore because psoriasis sores itch too much, and I end up bloody with developing scar tissue.
  2. Truthfully… My stories about nudism continue to do well. A Field Guide to Fauns now has three reader ratings on Amazon, two of five and one of four stars. One of those five stars has no accompanying review, but it still counts. Especially since that book isn’t even on Pubby’s book list.
  3. Truthfully…I still interact every week with friends who are Twitter nudists on Twitter where I often lose followers, especially fundamentalist Christian followers, once they realize I don’t treat nudists and naturists as sinners and perverts.
  4. Truthfully… My blog and my writing have benefitted from knowing real nudists, because they are usually far more accepting and empathetic than average Christians and Muslims.
  5. Truthfully… I like drawing and painting nude humans. There is something more basic and truthful about it than hiding the true form and structure of it underneath clothes.
  1. Truthfully… Everyone could benefit by telling the truth as they know it more often. It cleans out the constant cobwebbing of the mind by telling lies, both to other people, and to yourself. Even the lies you tell as a fiction writer.
  2. Truthfully… There are things on this listicle that I would not have been able to write about just fifteen years ago. The truth does set you free… Not in every single case… But enough to really matter.

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, empathy, humor, lying, Paffooney

When the Captain Came Calling… Canto 14

Canto Fourteen – Log Book of the Reefer Mary Celeste

Valerie opened the book to the page Mary had indicated with the red paper book mark.

“That’s the spot where the story seems to begin,” said Mary.  “The part before that ‘s all cargo manifests and navigational data.”

“Okay,” said Valerie, “Then here goes;” She began to read aloud.

We were sailing southwest from the Republic of Palau in Micronesia where we had taken on supplies at the big island of Koror.  It was September of 1979.  The seas were calm, although the first mate was tracking a big storm that could potentially turn in our way.   We were supposed to deliver the refrigerated meat and vegetables in our hold to Pinoy Proud  Food Markets of Manila by the beginning of October.  There were supposed to be bananas too, but we had made the mistake of putting the bananas in the freezer and frozen bananas become just the right shade of poo-poo color to make them unmarketable.  So the crew had been eating a lot of frozen banana pops.   Doc Johnson, whom we call Doc because he knows a lot of useful stuff was worried that we might inadvertently cause hyperkalemic death among the crew, which worried me a bit, but since no one else seemed to know what the heck hyperkalemic meant, we were okay with eating that many frozen bananas, but I was later led to wonder if, in fact, the whole hyperkalemic death thing might be the source of hallucinations.

It was a valid worry as it turned out.  Because that September, in the early morning on Monday, September 10th, Kooky Smith first saw the mermaid.

“Wow!” said Danny Murphy, “a real mermaid?”

“Well, that’s the debate, isn’t it?” said Mary.  “The story starts to get stranger and stranger.  And he even says it might be because they ate too many frozen bananas.”

“Does it say what the mermaid looked like?” asked Pidney.

Valerie looked carefully at the block of text ahead written in Captain Dettbarn’s goofy wrong-way-leaning handwritten letters.

“Um, yes, let me read that part.”

Chinooki was a naked woman from the waist upwards, with comely breasts and long pinkish-white hair.  Her skin was a kind of fish-belly-looking silver and her dark red eyes looked brown most of the time, but glowed like fire at night.

“Gonga!” said Danny, a word he often used to express both surprise and admiration at the same moment.

Pidney, however, was blushing a cherry red that covered most of his crew-cut head and neck.

“Chinooki?” asked Mary, “What kind of name is that?”

“It sounds kinda fishy,” said Valerie.  “Like Chinook salmon.”

“Or maybe Chinese,” suggested Danny.

They all turned and looked at Danny.

“What?  They call Chinese people Chinks, right?”

“Polite people don’t,” suggested Mary.

“Read more about what happened,” Pidney asked Valerie.

Kooky said that he saw her the first time off the starboard rail, swimming with her head and shoulders raised out of the water.  He thought she was some kind of shipwreck survivor, but when he hailed her to offer help, she waved at him and smiled, then dove and showed him her fish tail.

Of course, no one believed him.  Sea stories like that get told all the time, and Kooky liked to drink… sometimes even on duty.  We all knew he was quite capable of seeing things that weren’t real.

But the second time she was spotted, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones were also on deck, and when Kooky shouted they immediately came to the rail and saw her too.  Now, Bob was like Kooky in a lot of ways, so we woulda thought he was making it up too, or just backing Kooky’s kooky story for yucks and kippers.   But Chuck was well known for both sobriety and honesty.  He was the man I trusted to keep the ship’s books because I knew he’d never cheat any of us out of a single penny we were due.  And he’d sooner cut off his own hand than tell a lie.

“We have ta catch her and bring her aboard,” Kooky said.

“You gonna eat her?” Bob asked.

“Are you daft, man?  I don’t want to hurt her,” Kooky said.  “She’s beautiful.  I want to catch her and keep her.”

“Be wary,” Chuck said.  “If she’s not a natural creature, then she’s some kind of unnatural menace sort of thing.  Bringing her on board this ship might be the last thing we ever do in this life.”

“Well, I for one, would very much like to see this real mermaid,” I said.  I would later come to regret those words more than any I had ever said before in my whole life.

The four young Pirates all looked at each other, and all four of them shivered at once.  Valerie could certainly read out loud in a way that would scare you out of your under pants.

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Filed under humor, lying, novel, NOVEL WRITING, old books, Paffooney, Pirates

When the Captain Came Calling… Canto 11

Canto Eleven – Clubhouse Craziness

Two days had passed since the magic cat had given Valerie the strange wooden statue.  Now, it sat on the crate that served as a table in the middle of the Ghost House.  The newly re-formed Pirates were all there.

“I think it’s called a Tiki idol,” said Pidney.

“How do you know that, Polack?” sneered Conrad Doble.

“It looks kinda like the ones in the Tiki Bird Show at Disneyland,” said Pidney sheepishly, “Mom and Dad took me there when I was twelve.”

“Didja like the show?” asked Doble.  “The singing birdies and everything?”

“Yeah,” said Pidney matter-of-factly, “I have always loved everything by Disney.”

Both Valerie and Mary Philips smiled at him.  Pidney was always gonna have a lot of the little boy he used to be in him.

“It reminds me of the book you were telling me about, Mary,” said Ray Zeffer.

“What book?” asked Pidney.

“Ray was there when I showed the book to Mr. Salcom.  He’s in my Modern Novel Class third period.  It’s the book about the last voyage to the South Seas.”

“The one your Uncle Noah gave you,” added Ray.

“Noah Dettbarn is NOT my uncle.  He’s just a family friend.”

“Did your Uncle come to visit you recently?” asked Danny Murphy.  “Since he came home again, I mean?”

“He’s NOT my…  Oh, never mind.   It came in the mail a month ago.  It’s where I got those stories I was telling you about, Pid.”

“Oh, yeah.   The stories that you’re gonna share with us to become the Merlin of the Pirates,” said Pidney.

Valerie admired the way Pidney’s eyes sparkled when he talked about stuff that excited him.  And Mary’s stories were always something that excited him, no matter where she got them from.  Mary’s eldest half-brother, Branch McMillan wrote lots of fantastic stories full of lies and jokes and other nonsense.  A lot of that had rubbed off on Mary.

“So, you have a magic book after all?  Like old Milt Morgan had?”  Conrad Doble looked at Mary with an accusing stare that made Val want to punch him in the ear.

“Well, it’s not a magic book.  It’s a ship’s log book.  It has latitudes and longitudes in it, sonar readings, and some stories about what Captain Noah Dettbarn has been up to that are either huge honking lies, or the most fantastic things that ever happened to someone from Iowa.”

“Cool.  You have the book with you?” asked Doble.

“Not yet.  I’ll bring it to the next meeting.  I have to read all the stories myself first,” Mary said.

Doble squinted at Mary.  Valerie thought that must either mean that old King Leer didn’t believe her, or that his tiny brain was being squeezed too tightly by all the information Mary had just given him.  Surely it was the latter thing.

“What are we gonna do with the Tiki-thing?” asked Pidney.

“You really got it from a magic cat?” Ray asked Valerie.

“Well, I don’t know if it’s a magic cat, exactly.  It’s that ugly white alley cat that lives behind the Main Street businesses, by the water tower.  Crazy old Miss Haire asked me to go talk to it.”

“And did it talk back?” sneered Conrad Doble.

Pidney and Ray both glared at Doble, apparently not liking the tone of voice he used with Valerie.   But it was pretty much the same ugly tone he used with everybody.

“Um… It talked to me… yes.”

“But I didn’t hear it,” said Danny.   “Only Val has the witch ears that crazy old Miss Haire was talking about.”

“Witch ears?” asked Mary.

“She calls it the knowing,” answered Valerie.  “She says it is using all your senses to tell you more than any one thing can tell you by itself.”

“That’s real dog poop!” growled Doble.

“Miss Haire is rather eccentric,” said Mary, “but I believe she’s a good person at heart.  Did she say anything about the Tiki idol?”

“We talked to her before we got the idol,” said Val.  “We didn’t see her or talk to her afterwards.”

“Well, I think we should look up more about it in the library,” said Mary.  “Val, isn’t your aunt the head librarian?”

“My Mom’s sister, Aunt Alice, yes.”

“Can you, Pidney, and I meet in the library tomorrow afternoon?”

“You bet!”  Val liked the idea of looking stuff up with Pidney.  Using his football muscles to pull books off shelves and turn encyclopedia pages really appealed to a girl who liked to see football muscles in use and up close.

So, it was settled.  The Captain’s log book would be the magic book that sealed the New Norwall Pirates, and Valerie would get to do research with two of her favorite people on Earth all because of a silly little wooden-headed man in a grass skirt and a very ugly mask.

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Filed under humor, lying, magic, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Dump the Trumpy Grump

This is the best Trump cartoon I have done of him so far, so I will use it multiple times.

The current President of the United States initially seemed to me to be a gift from the gods of comedy.  I figured it would be easy to make humorous blog posts about a clown who wears orange face paint, wears super-long red ties, and is more cartoonish behavior-wise than Yogi Bear.

But the Grumpy Trump leadership style is more depressing than even that of Rodeo Clown in Chief, George W. Bush, though Trump has managed to be accused of fewer war crimes by international tribunals.  He is so relentlessly inhuman in his every deed that you can’t use exaggeration humor against him.  The reality is too far over the top for that.  And you can’t rely on insult humor, because he does it so much more often himself than any comedian can,  and he really MEANS it.  He doesn’t tell or comprehend jokes unless it makes a good excuse to claim he was only joking.

One of the things he does that bothers me the most is the use of criminals in his cabinet and departments that do all the dirty work.

Sleepy McBoing-Boing, the HUD secretary seems to be in his job to screw things up for poor people who were barely hanging on and turn them into homeless people while he commits crimes to put an expensive dining table in the HUD office for his personal use.  “Let ’em eat cake,” right, Ben?

Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, heads of the EPA and Department of the Interior are so busy spending Federal budget monies on personal uses that their departments are falling apart, and so the air we breath and the water we drink are now more at risk than they were under Obama, where it was a very real crisis having very real effects.

I think I am through posting criticisms about Trump.  Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers do so much better at skewering the pumpkinhead than I ever could, so look to them for actual political humor of the thoughtful kind.

The only thing I want from Trump now… Now that his tax cut has cost me extra money and his healthcare meddling has made the price of insulin out of my reach… Is for the whole thing to end.  He won’t resign.  You can’t expect Ebola Fever or brain tumors will go away on their own.  But it is so obvious that he has committed impeachable crimes that, for the good of us all, the Congress needs to get rid of him.  The Dark Lord with White Hair, Mike Pence, though deeply evil, would be better.

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Filed under angry rant, cartoons, commentary, humor, lying, Paffooney, politics

If I’m Being Honest…


If I’m being honest, I am a liar.  And that is not really a paradox, because I don’t always lie.  In fact, I often lie in order to reveal a deeper truth.  (I know, I know… rationalizations are simply another kind of lie.)  I lie because I used to be a school teacher.  You know that teachers have to be liars because you can’t say to a parent, “Your kid is ugly and stupid, and I have documented proof.”  You especially can’t say that if it really is provable.  Instead, you have to tell the lie that any kid can learn and do and be anything they want if only they are willing to work hard enough.  And you have to tell that lie often enough that the kid, the parent, and even you, the teacher, believe it to the point that it becomes true.

And now that I am retired and not telling the school teacher’s lie any longer, I have become a novelist, and I have now made it my business to make up fiction stories and compile lies into book form.  And though the people or characters are based loosely on real people I have known, they are really only a narrative trick to make the reader think about and possibly accept as truth the themes my writing puts forward.

(Boy!  I sure am an ugly old hairy nut-job, ain’t I? = a lie in question form.)

But if I’m being honest today, there are a few things I need to say truthfully, straight out without irony or falsehood or exaggeration.  Let me offer these truths.

  • In this political environment where partisan politics divide us to the point of attempted assassinations with bombs, I do not hate the other side of the argument.  I don’t hate Republicans and conservatives.  Some of my old friends in Iowa and some of my good friends in Texas are conservative enough to have voted for Trump.  I do not reject them as my friends because of their politics.  They are good people and worthy in too many ways to list.  And though they may be sympathetic to someone who threatens me because I have looney liberal ideas, I don’t expect any of them to send me bombs in the mail.  That kind of division is the opposite of what we need.
  • I know what statistics say about kids and learning potential.  I have worked hard during my lifetime to create educational achievement in places where it is nearly impossible.  I believe in the value of every student, and some of the worst behavioral problems and some of the most difficult learning disabilities helped me really get to know some of my all-time favorite kids.
  • I will continue to tell lies for the sake of education and art and all the things that matter to me.  Lies can be used for good as much as the truth can be used for injury and evil.  But my lies will always be soap-bubble hoo-haws, easily popped and seen through for what they really are meant to accomplish, never big black cannonball lies meant to rip people apart and destroy the fortresses they live in.
  • If I’m being honest, even though I am a liar, you can believe in me.


Filed under autobiography, commentary, education, goofy thoughts, humor, lying, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching, telling lies

Mickey is 561 & 1/2 Years Old

old mickey

Notice the white beard?  No, it is not really made of yarn and paste.  It means Mickey is old.

I was born in November of 1456.  That year Vlad the Impaler (yes, the guy who inspired Dracula) killed the Prince of Wallachia  and took over his throne, ruling the part of Eastern Europe that includes Transylvania.

Halley’s Comet made an appearance that year, just as it did the year Mark Twain was born, and well before Donald Trump became President of the United States.  Before even the comet itself was named by the Astronomer Halley.  So if it was truly an omen of the end of the world, it came more than 500 years too early.  Maybe that’s why it has to keep coming back around

The Ottoman Empire tried to march into Albania and take it over, but the outnumbered forces of Skanderbeg defeated them at the Battle of Oronichea, proving that bullies don’t always win.

And codpieces were in fashion, proving that men lack any sort of fashion-sense whether it was back then or even now, more than 500 years later.




But, of course, you knew all of that without me telling you.  It was an eventful year.

So Mickey is now 561 and 1/2 years old.  You’d think by that age he’d have learned not to tell lies or exaggerate things by 500.  No such luck.  But perhaps I can explain how this particular purple hoo-haw came to be.

You see it began in a classroom back when I was about 40 years of age.  That’s right, in 1496.  I was lecturing young Will Shakespeare about not putting his name on other people’s writing (which was doubly ironic, because the plagiaristic lad would not be born himself until 1564).

Young Will responded, “You are old, Schoolmaster Mickey. Shouldn’t you have retired already?”

“Just how old do you think I am?” I responded.

“I dunno, seventy or eighty maybe.”

I practically wet myself from shock.  I have long looked older than my actual years.  But I never let a chance for a good comeback with a slow burning sizzle added to it.

“Well, actually, I am 540 years old.  I have been considering retirement for quite some time.”

“Really?” He looked shocked.  So, either he really believed me, as thirteen-year-old English students readily will, or he was a much better actor than he was an original author of school essays.

And ever since that fateful day, I have always exaggerated my age to sound truly impressive.  I even went back in time and did the math, figuring out what my birthday had to have been to make what I said to the class sound true.

Now, be warned, this is a story full of lies.  But as with any work of fiction, it does bear significant relationships to the truth.  I will leave it to you to try to discern what those relationships are.

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Dawn in Iowa, Sunset in Texas


The recent Iowa trip has been more or less a metaphor for my life as a whole.  I don’t mean to be funny but… wait just a minute!  Yes I do.  This is corn-shucking humor blog, after all!  But the metaphor is still there.  I was born in Iowa.

Dawn broke over the farm yesterday where Uncle Harry used to live with his wife, Aunt Jean, and their three kids, Karen, Bob, and Tom.  Bob was in my class at school.  We got into a fight once over who should be Robin Hood when we were playing with all the cousins in the old brooder house on Grandpa Aldrich’s farm, the farm where mom and dad now live.  It was a fight that got so intense that we were throwing broke flower-pot shards at each other in anger.  Bob’s hand got cut so badly that he had to go to Belmond and get stitches.  Dang, was I in trouble after that.  Bob’s version, the shard I threw hit him right in the hand, directly between his thumb and pointer finger and cut him.  My version, he cut himself as he threw a pot shard at me, and it cut him leaving his hand.  Everyone believed Bob, of course.  I’m the nutty kid that always told the stories that gave the girls nightmares.  And those stories were never true… mostly.  So they couldn’t believe my version.


Mom and my sister Nancy designed and executed the painted barn quilt on the work shed that used to be the chicken house.


Bucolic farm scene to represent my Iowegian past.

But life, like days and car trips, moves on.  We had to pack up the little Ford Escort that brought me home and take off once more for Texas.  I was a little bit worried about the dog.  She didn’t poop as much in Iowa as she normally does in Texas.  Well, we figured that out on the way back.  She pooped a lot of funny colors at every rest-stop dog park on the way back to Texas because of all the people food she had eaten.  She got fed better in Iowa apparently.  And it was stuff like stolen Doritos and other stuff that is so not-good-for-her.


But going back to Texas with two kids and a dog is a lot like me after college, moving to Texas via Trailways bus in order to become a teacher.  I got a job in Cotulla, Texas, the place where LBJ taught way back when he was a young Texan and still working at being good at telling the REALLY BIG LIES.  I think I mentioned this before, but all the kids in the painting above were real kids I taught in my first year teaching (except for the kid sleeping.,, nobody did anything but hop around and yell at me my first year as a teacher… including the principal).  Oh, and the window is imaginary.  I taught for three years in a windowless concrete box with only buzzing fluorescent lights to keep the monsters from killing and eating me… or each other.  Within a decade of that first class, two of the boys had been to prison, three were already dead, and one became a star lineman for the Texas A&M football team.


And over time I got closer and closer to my goal.  My skills became bigger and better as a teacher.  I grew in wisdom and power.  Honestly, the grass in the picture was closer to the camera than I was, so I am looming in the sky above the photographer, not tiny and smaller than the grass.  So maybe I better claim the picture was taken by fairies.  Yeah, that’s it.  Down there in the grass.  Iowegian fairies got a hold of my camera and took the picture.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  (See.  I never really learned to get away with the REALLY BIG LIES.  A teacher, as a storyteller, has to also be a truth-teller.)

fulldance  So we returned to Texas, and that is probably where the sunset of my life will take place.  I am retired from teaching now.  I am blogging and telling lies instead… well, writing fiction.  I should have another book published soon.  And it has fairies in it.  So maybe there is still time to pull off the REALLY BIG LIES.

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