Because, alas, I spend a portion of each day on Facebook, taking little retreats from my work as a freelance writer, I have a constantly renewing source of bullshit (refined and unrefined) shared with me by people from all over the place—all of whom are my “friends,” though I’ve only met a few of them face-to-face. Most all of them, however, seem inordinately fond of a smorgasbord of handy clichés they pass around, doling out the wisdom that they, in their turn, received from people who had friended them, and are probably as little known to them as they are to me.
It’s bad enough that our politicians lie to us so consistently and so shamelessly. And it’s worse when we catch our spouses or our children in a lie. But probably the worst dissembling occurs in the diet of lies we feed to ourselves, gorging on bullshit like gluttons at an all-you-can-eat casino buffet.
Here’s some of that bullshit we all seem to swallow without chewing, washing it down with sloppy logic and wishful thinking.
1. Age is just a number. Nope. Wrong. Bullshit. Age is also: organs wearing out, experience piling up, energies amping down, dreams refocusing or receding, children somehow transforming themselves into unexpected adulthood, and enthusiasms being shifted—with some passions dulled and others, if we’re lucky, springing to replace those that have been indulged and discarded. It may be a number, but it’s also lost hair clogging the shower drain, a diminishing of libido, and an increasing propensity to say the kinds of lame bullshit your parents used to say, like “age is just a number,” and “you’re only as old as you feel,” and “life begins at 40,” or “50,” or “60,” or whatever number they needed to bullshit themselves with on any given birthday.
2. Money isn’t everything. Maybe so, but it’s also bullshit: the kind of bullshit seldom uttered by people who have lots of money. Oh yeah, people like Oprah will say it, speaking from her private island, or her gazillion-dollar place in Santa Barbara, or her $85-million-dollar crash pad in Chicago, or her hideaway in Maui. Nope, readers, money isn’t everything, but it sure does keep you from having people sneer at you because you’re buying your groceries with food stamps. Donald Trump is seldom quoted uttering this “money isn’t everything” bullshit, nor are those guys who are stealing money with both hands in the top tiers of the corporate and financial empires. But us peons and pawns in their game nourish ourselves with our own bullshit every time we repeat that little mantra for chumps.
3. You get what you pay for. Now that’s some puredee sho’nuff bullshit. Take medical expenses, for instance, or pharmaceutical companies that charge an arm and a leg to treat a finger, or add the insult of co-pays to surgeries or pills that have already been billed out to the insurance companies at obscene profit margins. Or take cable TV for another example, where you pay for dozens of channels you don’t want and will never watch, but must pay for because the cable outfits have bundled stuff together, forcing you to buy a whole lotta crap channels in order to get a couple to which you’ve become addicted.
4. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. More bullshit, of course. While it’s true that guns don’t usually develop grudges or get drunk or go postal while sitting in a drawer somewhere, they will help people who do when those people want to kill other people. When discharged, guns do quite often kill people. That’s what they’re for.
5. All politicians are the same. If you think there’s no difference between Congressman Bernie Sanders and Senator Ted Cruz, then you’re truly full of shit, including the kind that issues forth from bulls. If you think Representative Louie Gohmert and our own Doug LaMalfa are the same as Gabby Giffords and Senator Al Franken, then there’s probably no bullshit you won’t buy.
6. It’s all good. I’m not sure this is bullshit. It’s more like smoke, the kind you blow up your own ass.
7. Cheaters never prosper. C’mon. Just c’mon. Now you’re trying to piss me off. Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs. Merrill Lynch. Bank of America. Need I go on?
8. Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose. I’ve walked away from more poker tables than I can count, with nothin’ left to lose, and it never once felt like freedom. And there were times, long ago, when I lacked the freedom to buy something to eat cuz I had “nothin’.” That didn’t feel like freedom, either.
9. The best things in life are free. Maybe, but even a Nissan Versa ain’t free, and you’d better not ask what the best cars can cost. A Bugatti can run you well over a million bucks. The better houses are also seldom given away for free. That’s seldom, as in never.
10. It was meant to be. This is what you say when you do something really dumb, it doesn’t work out, and the consequences start mounting up. “It was meant to be” is a way of washing one’s hands of responsibility for fucking up. It’s bullshit.
11. Good things come to those who wait. Tell that to the restaurant customers who sit patiently, and then have their food delivered to the table cold, because it was overlooked by the waitress who was on the phone out back, breaking up with her boyfriend who’d been waiting for her to call.
12. Honesty is the best policy. (See #7.)