Telling a lie seems so clever: I mean, it sends all the good guys into a tail-spin because they can never quite believe anyone would have the cheek to do it. This leaves a liar sniggering scornfully at the rest of us, who have been too astonished to do anything to stop him getting exactly what he wants.
And then what happens?
Well, obviously, nothing the liar says is ever believed again - not even, sadly, when he truly deserves sympathy and help - because the truth, once broken, is broken for...well, I won't say for ever, but the cracks will certainly be visible for a very long time.
It's all very simple, though you will have noticed that some of our canniest and cleverest world leaders haven't grasped it.
But what about a fib? What about a completely harmless lie?
Does my bum look big in this?
Well, the last thing you want to do is lose the trust of those you love, but then you don't have to: you look absolutely wonderful, darling. You look fabulous!
You needn't specify the exact meaning of wonderful or fabulous, after all.
photo by Gustave Eugène Chauffourier
Thing Not To Do Today: fib. This word appeared in the 1600s and might come from the lovely fibble-fable, which is an unlikely story.