Stretching the Truth

Lying is bad.

That certainly shouldn’t come as a revelation to anyone. After all, John 8:32 says that “The truth will set you free” and the 8th Commandment states: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”

From a secular perspective, we here axioms like “Honesty is the best policy” and sayings like “Liar, liar, pants on fire” further reinforcing the fact that lying is bad.

But is lying ever justified?

Some would argue it’s acceptable if you are trying to protect someone or something you love. Or maybe when it’s the best option in choosing the lesser of two evils. And what about for poker players? Or for reality TV contestants?

Whether you call it a fib, a white lie, or stretching the truth…it happens all the time. It’s simply human nature. And sometimes it’s certainly not malicious: for example it’s very easy to exaggerate a bit when telling a story or in trying to convince your listener of something.

I recently was privy to two extraordinary cases of stretching the truth, courtesy of my two wonderful sons at their indoor track meet at St. Paul School earlier this month.

It was a fun, spirited and loud morning inside of the school gym as all of the kids from kindergarten to grade 3 participated in numerous relays and races.

Sean excelled in almost all of them, especially in those requiring hand-eye coordination (ie. bouncing a basketball, dribbling a soccer ball).

Jake did well also, notably crushing the competition in a race that saw him run, scoot under desks, and jumping through hoops (see the video here ).

After Jake completed the above-mentioned race, I overheard him “holding court” as his classmates complimented him on his athletic prowess. They were asking him why he was so good at that particular race.

“Oh, I practice at home every day” Jake replied in an obvious stretch of the truth. “My dad brings out the desk and hoop for me so I can do it.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I also didn’t want to ruin his moment in the spotlight.

Later on, they called on a few parents to demonstrate the team relay, in which the students had to pass the baton to each other after running around the gym. For our parent demonstration, and I had the honour of going first.

Channeling my inner-Donovan Bailey, I exploded from the invisible starting blocks and raced around the gym, even sneaking in a tricky behind the back maneuver with the baton while I was running. I actually ran quite quickly, and by the time I handed the baton off I was looking for a defibulator.

Later on, Sean told me that his friends couldn’t believe how fast his Daddy was. (I think they were just surprised I made it to the end without collapsing). Sean gave truth a test when he told them that I was a champion sprinter in high school.

According to Sean, my nickname back in the day was “The Bullet.”

Come to think of it…that might not be that much of a stretch. Short. Sharp. And solid as a rock.

Ah, forget it. I’ll just stick to Sushi Master.

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