I Solemnly Swear to Tell the Whole Truth
In 2006, I was named Time Magazine’s person of the year.
Imagine my surprise—especially since I didn’t find out until three years later, in 2009.
Around the 2009 period, a blogger entered my world like a fly at a picnic. I noticed him circling a few times, then he seemed to be everywhere—and not in a good way—so I checked out his bio. It said he was Time Magazine’s person of the year for 2006.
Dumbstruck, I did some Googling and found that I, too, was person of the year.
I was person of the year—and so were you. In fact, we were all person of the year because, in 2006, Time named “You” its person of the year.
I thought it was clever. The blogger told the truth and beefed up his bio in the process.
He created what a lawyer friend of mine referred to as an intentional hole. A lie isn’t stated, but smack dab in the middle of the statement is a hole in the truth, rather than the whole truth. Here’s an example:
When my kids were small, my husband and I decided to bail on Winter’s remaining days and hit a heated indoor waterpark for a weekend with the kids. A few days before we were set to go, Spring made a surprise visit. It was gonna be in the 70s, without a cloud in the sky—and the last thing I wanted was to hang out inside. I called the hotel, explained we might not come, and asked if there was an outdoor pool. The receptionist answered with an affirmative yes, so off we went.
When we arrived, we found the pool doing an impression of a 70’s era California skater’s paradise. No water. Completely drained. But yes, there was an outdoor pool. She hadn’t lied—and I hadn’t thought to ask the follow-up question, “Is there water in the outdoor pool?”
She gave me the hole truth, not the whole truth.
I ran across the hole truth on a pitch the other day, asking Steve to be on a new podcast. At the bottom, the host stated, “Invited guests have included . . . “ and then listed some well known names.
“Invited guests” is different from “guests.”
Just as I thought the blogger clever a few years earlier, I thought the podcast host clever, too. Clever, but bothersome.
It’s tempting to tell the hole truth. Doing so might help you gain attention or make your case, but… It will catch up with you.
Clever doesn’t garner respect. It wins lawsuits, perpetuates lies, and deceives.
Just look at what happened after this cleverly written line was stated, “Cigarette smoking is no more ‘addictive’ than coffee, tea or Twinkies.”