Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oprah on Lying or Lying on Oprah

I've read it at least thirty times.

It's located in the upstairs women's teacher bathroom, taped to the wall at what is right at eye level if you are conducting your business in an appropriately womanly way. I've read it because words are magnetic, smashing your brain up against them like an iron filing. I've read it because the upstairs bathroom is infinitesimally cleaner than the downstairs bathroom, and closer to a window besides.

So I pee and I read, again and again, the same one-page wellness newsletter from November 2007. I have most of it memorized. It's like a small, sad liturgy I've accidentally learned by heart. Eat an apple. Throw a party. Get 8 hours of sleep.


When we are living lies, our lives start to break down.

According to the newsletter, this little gem was released into the wild by Cheryl Richardson, a guest on a 2002 Oprah episode entitled "Lifestyle Makeovers: Living with Integrity." I used to find it unobjectionable, if trite. Today, though, maybe because it's February and bitter cold and four and a half weeks until Spring Break, it got under my skin.

Whom does Ms. Richardson think is living the truth, exactly? Your average woman on the street tells herself tens, if not hundreds, of lies a day. It's not going to rain. My child is brilliant. I am not, in fact, hiding from small children in the upstairs women's teacher bathroom.

And then the bigger untruths: I have never regretted having kids/turning down that job/the one who got away. It's alright that I devote the daylight of my life to doing something moderately unpleasant for mediocre pay. Everything, all of it, is going to be OK.

LIES! Lies are the way to go. It's the truth-tellers who are sour-faced and mean.

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