Monday, December 26, 2011

Are all lies, even white lies bad? Those in favor of white lies argue they aren’t that big of a deal, and that we all do it. Those against would tell you that if you respect someone enough you tell them the truth– no matter what.

Lies and white lies interest me as it relates to prison adjustment. I learned quickly that my time through prison would be tougher on my family, specifically my mother. When I called home during my first month at Taft my mom always asked me the same question: “So, how are you?”

If I told her the truth–that I was lonely, I missed my bed, my own toilet, and that I was sick for freedom–I would have worried her. If I lied–prison was a piece of cake, and that I was gaining a valuable perspective on life–I would mollify her anxieties. I always eschewed the former for the latter.

Is it wrong when prisoners call home and play down their experience to save their loved ones from worrying? Or, conversely, is it bad when prisoners call home, and in an effort to gain sympathy, play up their experience?

A dilemma rests in choosing between two options. I am not proud for having lied. Every time I told them I hoped that I would one day believe them.  I did. In retrospect, I feel I made the right choice.

Justin Paperny

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