Thursday, May 26, 2005

Budding Liar

Today the universe seems to be telling me I should start lying. My first indication came when I stopped off at the library this morning and a copy of Paul Ekman's "Telling Lies" was waiting for me on hold.

Then I'm doing my usual web surfing to avoid doing anything productive and I came across an article on charisma. According to researchers (and researchers are always right), charisma can be learned! Okay, not fully, but one can push oneself to be more charismatic. Unfortunately, it involves listening intently to others and not trying too hard to be the center of attention; there's two strikes against me.

The third, and strangest, sign came in the form of a voicemail informing me that someone I know has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. That means that anyone the person has been in contact with in the past few months is obligated by the health department to notify anyone who may have been exposed. I don't think anyone has tested positive yet and the likelihood of catching it is low.

Still, if it turns out that by some unfortunate stroke of luck I end up getting it as well, I will be called upon to pretend everything is fine in my life, which is where my book on lying will come in handy.

TB is curable in about 95% of cases if treatment is sought. So I'm not truly talking about a life or death situation. Nevertheless, TB is a conversation killer. If someone asks, "How are you?" and you answer, "I have TB, but other than that I'm cool." that's bound to freak people out, and probably prompt them to slowly back away from you. Armed with newfound charisma and knowledge of lies, I'll be able to smile and say "Fantastic! Yourself?", and then feign deep interest.

Anyhoo, for more on how to be charismatic, see below for advice I snagged off the BBC's website. And if you'd like to learn how you can become infected with TB, just click on the tuberculosis link.


General: Open body posture, hands away from face when talking, stand up straight, relax, hands apart with palms forwards or upwards

To an individual: Let people know they matter and you enjoy being around them, develop a genuine smile, nod when they talk, briefly touch them on the upper arm, and maintain eye contact

To a group: Be comfortable as leader, move around to appear enthusiastic, lean slightly forward and look at all parts of the group

Message: Move beyond status quo and make a difference, be controversial, new, simple to understand, counter-intuitive

Speech: Be clear, fluent, forceful and articulate, evoke imagery, use an upbeat tempo, occasionally slow for tension or emphasis


Sean said...

I'm not hoping you have TB but if you do get it can you write and sing us another song and dedicate it to all of us who suffer with TB..."Thats Right"! :)

pacoblue said...

If you get TB you should start smoking. When you don't get TB you should annoy everyone with some faux epiphany story about how you dodged a bullet and end it with "everyday's a gift." Also, you should learn to make yourself cry so you can have relapses appropriately timed when not getting enough attention. Not only will you be able to alienate most around you, but you might be able to sucker a couple of them into embracing you and rubbing your back saying, "there, there, you're fine. we love you." All owed to the power of lying.

Yogifish said...

You go to the Amazon, swim in the rivers, eat the native fruit and come back with nothing. But welcome to America, would ya like a case of the TB. :(

Take care of yourself lady, get ready for that NBC sitcom. :)

I think Oprah is calling...

Behm-Azis said...

I checked out that song, awesome. What better way to combat an illness than to sing about it huh? Surely you'll be fine and TB will overlook you then if it doesn't I'm sure someone will hit you up and ask you on Oprah then before you know it, the dough will start rollin in. Wishin you well...

Aaron said...

I like lying. It gets me out of sticky situations.

Butternut said...

Lots of words rhyme with tuberculosis. Any "sis" will do, like Cystic Fibrosis, osmosis, supercalifragulisticexpialidocious. Also it was referred to as the "King's Evil" which might be a cool thing to say at a party. "I have the King's Evil, step back".

Or you could lie and go for a less infectious but more trendy disease that would get you sympathy. One of those rubber band around the wrist types. Say, prostate cancer or better yet name it after you. Swisher's disease. That even sounds like a real disease! You can even make your own wristbands.

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