Monday, July 18, 2011

The Star

After a few years of meeting his potential the rising Star seemed to be flickering a bit. He did amazing things and crowds followed him everywhere just to hear him sing. Those close to him reveled in the popularity and jostled for the position of his right hand man.

But then something changed. The Star started hanging out with the wrong people and his image began to be tainted. The rumors were bad enough but now people began to SEE him hanging out with prostitutes and, even worse, the Bernie Madoffs of the day. Not only was he hanging out with those people who stole others money but he was accepting invitations to their home for dinner and sing for THEM!

The media of the day were having a great time documenting his fall from grace. The people still listened to him because he had a GREAT voice, one like no other. But the leaders began to manipulate the people by spreading rumors and innuendo. The Star made it easy for them by socializing with the wrong people and not even caring that they were the wrong people. The Star even called the RIGHT people the wrong people. What was he thinking?

It all came to a climax when the Star showed up at an event he was not invited to. In fact, he was WARNED to stay away or there would be “dire” circumstances. When the Star arrived, the crowds cheered him for his audacity but instead of singing, he caused such an upheaval the crowds ran away from the repercussions. Now the authorities had an opportunity to arrest him or worse.

Knowing this, and that his time was short, the Star had a last meal with his closest followers. The couldn’t understand his songs any more. They just wanted to go back to the popular times. Maybe he could to a come-back tour or something. After the meal, in the middle of the night he was arrested, tried and convicted in a VERY short time. The authorities felt they just HAD to make it a quick break. All his “close” friends ran away, fearing the same authorities.

He was executed. In retrospect many wondered how it happened so fast. From the greatest rising Star to a death sentence. But it must just have been one of those cases that kind of slip through the cracks of justice, propelled by … who-knows-what.

Now, many years later we know that it was the Star-wannabees that pushed the execution. The competition from the Star was too much and he had to be eliminated. His competition tried to bury his songs and punish others for playing them. But they never counted on the resurrection of the Star. Not just his music, but the Star himself. The ULTIMATE comeback tour lasted for 40 days and then he was gone. But his music, oh, his music continues to play in our hearts and minds even today.

I have his Easter album bursting from my buds today. Can you hear it? Does it move you still?

Cowboy Poem: Better Keep in Touch

Jake, the rancher, went one day to fix a distant fence

The wind was cold and gusty and the clouds rolled gray and dense

As he pounded the last staples in and gathered tools to go

The temperature had fallen, the wind and snow began to blow

When he finally reached his pickup, he felt a heavy heart

From the sound of that ignition he knew it wouldn’t start

So Jake did what most of us would do if we had been there

He humbly bowed his balding head and sent aloft a prayer

As he turned the key for the last time he softly cursed his luck

They found him three days later frozen stiff in that old truck

Now Jake had been around in life and done his share of roaming

But when he saw heaven he was shocked – it looked just like Wyoming

St. Peter and he talked for a minute or two, or maybe it was three

Nobody was keeping score for in heaven time is free

I’ve always heard, Jake said to Pete, that God will answer prayer

But one time I asked for help, well, he just plain wasn’t there

Does God answer prayer of some and ignore the prayers of others?

That doesn’t seem exactly square – I know all men are brothers

Or does he randomly reply without good rhyme or reason?

Maybe it’s’ the time of day, the weather or the season

Now I ain’t trying to act smart, It’s just the way I feel

And I was wondering could you tell me what the heck is the deal?

Peter listened very patiently and when Jake was done

There were smiles of recognition and he said “so you’re the one!”

That day your truck, it wouldn’t start, and you sent your prayer a flying

You gave us all a real bad time with hundreds of us trying

A thousand angels rushed to check the status of your file

Buy you know, Jake, we hadn’t heard from you in quite a long while

And though all prayers are answered and God ain’t got no quota

He didn’t recognize your voice and started a truck in Minnesota

Are you telling the TRUTH?

I am fascinated by the TV show “Lie to me” because I like the thought that you can read a person’s mind based on their facial expressions and on their body language. There are actual “Deception Detection” experts that work for the police and banks and even looking at the honesty of new CEO’s. These experts are usually former trained CIA officers using their skills in the public sector.

One of these experts share some of the tricks of the trade:

1. Fidgeting. Aside from true sociopaths, people aren’t natural liars and saying one thing while thinking something else can actually cause physical discomfort. Something we know as “squirming.”

2. Weasel Words. “expected to” or “probably” or “basically” or “should be” are WEASEL words. These kind of qualifiers crop up when someone is trying to obscure doubts or worries. Or hedge their lie with a smidgeon of deny-ability.

3. Detour Phrases. Think “as I said before …” Liars try to circumvent a direct answer by referencing past answers to different questions. The hope is to fold a potential second lie onto the previous one to stay consistent when really they have not answered the question.

4. Complaints. Grips like “How long am I going to be here?” are often used to derail a particular line of questioning.

5. Selective Memory. Phrases like “to the best of my knowledge” or “from what I remember” are evasive maneuvers designed to get away from telling the truth or having a bald-faced lie.

6. Ask for details. They are harder to lie consistently about and make up on the spot.

One of the most important things you must do to “catch” a liar is to establish a “baseline” of normal expressions and motions. In other words, you have to get to know the person in various situations and emotional states. That is why it is much easier to tell lies from people you know than from those you don’t. You know when a loved one is lying because you know what they are like when they are not.

I believe we pick up these indications all the time. We call them gut feelings or intuition or whatever but most of the time we don’t trust them. It is VERY difficult to say to a loved one “You’re lying” when BOTH of you know they are. It is easier to say to a friend “That’s BS” in a joking and non-threatening way. But most of us pass it off as a simple misunderstanding or smile and nod, allowing the liar to keep on lying even though we know it’s not true.

Lying doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We create the environment for lying. When we are silent we build up the walls for that environment by encouraging the liar to keep on lying. That is why your insurance premium is so high. I caused an accident a few years ago and admitted it. The policeman was so shocked that he asked me 3 times to repeat it and then asked me to write it down. Friends told me that I was stupid to admit it and left myself liable to lawsuits. I may have spit into the wind but I also took down one little brick in our lying environment.