When I came across the book “The Stranger beside me” by Ann Rule, I fell in love. The book is about Ted Bundy, a serial killer who made history. As I read about his story, it was evident that he was an intelligent maniac, obsessed with killing.
It was an interesting read. Theodore Robert Bundy was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, necrophile and paedophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s, and possibly earlier. The book wasn’t exactly about him, it was about the investigation of the murders he committed. What struck me was that Ted Bundy did not confess to his crimes until after being sentenced for them. Why? In spite of being a supremely intelligent killing machine, he had one minor fault (aside from being a serial killer) that would lead to his downfall and eventual capture.
In the book “The Kite Runner” Khaled Hosseini says, “There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life… you steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness… there is no act more wretched than stealing.”
Ted Bundy lied and committed theft, murder and infidelity. His entire life was a lie and he continued to exhibit patterns of a compulsive liar until his death. In fact, for him, his very existence was a lie. As a child born to an unwed mother, he was told that his grandparents were his parents. That was the first lie. Maintaining outward appearances of working towards a happy and promising future, he nurtured a monster inside him and lied to his own conscience (if he had one at all.)
That brings me to the question. Why isn’t lying as a crime taken seriously? For some strange reason, our society and law look upon lying as a nonchalant crime. Something that is laughed off if caught. It is never taken seriously. But why is lying always given a free pass? If trust and shared information is a basic element that lubricates the machinery of society, why treat it so lightly?
I remember a friend who once told me that lying to the people you love isn’t wrong (What!?). She explained it beautifully too. You’re not doing anything wrong, she said. You’re capable of taking care of yourself. You just don’t want to worry them. As a youngster with new found freedom and a brand new boyfriend, I wanted to go to the movies with him. I sought her for advice and was readily convinced.
I continued to apply her advice in my life long after she was gone. Almost four years later I read this book and lying doesn’t seem okay anymore. I had pushed the guilt of little white lies to the back of my head simply because having uncensored conversations with my loved ones would mean more restrictions than I care to bear. They why a change of heart now? I feel awful about myself, not because of some external power but because I think lying is a horrible thing to do. A sin. A crime that Ted Bundy and I have in common. Something that makes me a little closer to hell.
Ted Bundy was undoubtedly pure evil and yet I pitied him for one thing. The poor devil must’ve gone crazy trying to keep track of all his lies. I could relate to that, not because I lie a lot (nor because I have bodies in my closet). The thing is, I lie rarely and I have a pathetic memory. To add to that I am so guilt-ridden when I say things that I know aren’t true that you can read it written in bold red Times New Roman font all over my pale face. These qualities combined, I’m almost always immediately caught when I lie.
It’s an awful feeling. The entire process drains out your energy. Concocting a lie, evaluating the risks, shuddering at the thought of possible outcomes and practising and implementing it flawlessly, is quite the pain. I’ve decided to save myself the energy and put it to more productive uses. No more lying. Yes, I said it. No big black lies or little white lies from me.
How am I going to survive the wilderness of everyday social life without little white lies? I’m yet to see. So if you know me and I’m ignoring your question, assume that I don’t want to answer it. I’d rather be considered rude or dumb than lie. Will this insane experiment cost me more than I estimate? Maybe. Then again, if something was meant to be caught, it will be.