Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

My Word is My Con

My dad told me “Your word is your bond.” He was an invariably honorable man who never lied. He believed in proving your character through both your speech and deeds. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I consider lying a despicable form of disrespect.

My husband and I receive numerous calls that are, to be blunt, scams. We’re classified as senior citizens now—potential suckers. So, it’s a daily occurrence that someone tries to trick us into revealing identity information (“The IRS is sending sheriffs to your house, so you need to confirm your credit accounts immediately”) or buying stuff or services we don’t want or need: “I’m calling in response to your request for information on back braces.” My back is fine, thank you very much, and so are my teeth, my computers, and my interest rates. My apologies if anyone ever calls us with a sincere offer, because I hang up as quickly as I can—whether on cell or landline—if I’ve accidentally answered a stranger’s call.

Businesses often distort truth or flat-out lie. We’ve all seen seductive ads for contraceptive devices—devices that a few months later are come-ons for lawyers looking for liability suits to press. Vaping was too dangerous to be on the market and now it’s not. We’re told oil pipelines never leak, self-driven cars never crash, and some mercury in your water won’t hurt. We used to have federal agencies tasked with exposing scams and risks—agencies run by directors who took their jobs seriously.

Certainly con artists (dishonest individuals, corporations, or government entities) have always existed. Some con artists are so clever I can’t help but wonder why they don’t go legit and make a legal fortune. They take from those they consider lesser beings. Others use deception to provide a smoke screen for their incompetence. Still others spout falsehoods because they’re simply too lazy to be honest. It’s easier to lie. For some, it’s more fun.

I am most angered by lies from the government. As my dad once said, “We pay you to be honest!” I suppose when you think about it, we pay anyone who provides products or services for money to be honest. We trust baby food manufacturers to discover how to make baby food that’s safe and nutritious for the baby. We depend on educational institutions to heed research that could direct which basic knowledge and skills empower people to fulfill their individual potential and operate as effective members of the society. We assume the medical establishment knows the fair prices, risks, and efficacy of the drugs and procedures they prescribe. We hire lawyers and banks and insurance companies to represent our best interests. Why do we let so many abuse us so badly?

Did we give up the idea that honesty is valuable? Why do we hear daily accounts of illegal behaviors that have gone unchecked? Is accountability too difficult to enforce for us to expect it? Or do we secretly want to be fed lies that make us feel important or secure or loved? Why are the terms “intelligent” or “educated” dirty words to people who could use sound advice?

I’d like to go on record as saying I do not want to be conned. I can handle the truth. I can even handle rude words when they accompany the truth. I want to be alerted by people who know a whole lot more than I do. My husband and I report violators of our trust to the agencies charged with enforcing accountability. Now we simply have to push our representatives in government to ensure our watchdog agencies and our representatives are working for—not against—us.

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