“I Cannot Tell a Lie”


When I was a child a much repeated moral tale was of George Washington who, after cutting down a cherry tree, confessed the deed to his father saying “I cannot tell a lie.” Apparently this never took place, but we were given a model to emulate. When we made a mistake we were to admit it, not gloss it over with a lie.

Yesterday I went to the dentist to have a crown replaced on a back molar. It had only been four years since this crown was laid, so insurance wouldn’t cover any of it. (We have very good dental insurance, a rarity these days.) Here such a procedure costs upwards of $2000, so I was already trying to figure out how to budget the unexpected expense. But as he began to work, my dentist said “I don’t know how this happened, but it is my fault.” That’s right. The dentist said it was his fault. And then he said he wouldn’t charge me for the replacement since it was his fault.

I had already had another unexpected encounter with the receptionist when I checked in. I asked her why she had called me at the last minute to move the appointment forward twenty minutes. She replied,”I made a mistake. I overbooked.” On my way out the dentist told this woman that there would be no charge because he had made a mistake. I joked that this seemed to be a day of atonement at the dental office.

So far since he became president, Donald Trump has lied, as of October 9, 2019, 13,435 times according to Fact Checker which keeps track. These only include public lies told with a straight or an enraged or a victimized expression to the American people. He has managed to so confuse the public that half of Americans distrust anything coming out of the mouths of the other half of Americans.

May more of us act like the staff at the dental office. Whether of not George Washington actually said it, “I cannot tell a lie” is a good habit in our lives.

22 thoughts on ““I Cannot Tell a Lie”

  1. What a refreshing experience with your dentist. I want to believe that there are more honest people with integrity in this world than not. I am daily appalled at the lies coming from our president and don’t understand why more people aren’t up in arms over it. Hopefully they will be – during the next election (if not sooner.)


    1. We need to see examples of integrity to know what it looks like. I think that was the aim of the George Washington story. I am afraid future kids might take a different lesson from the current president.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Trump’s motto is, “I can’t go through a day without telling a lie.” The remarkable thing is there are many who continue to give him a pass, regardless of what he says or does. Whatever happened to just telling the truth?

    How refreshing for the dentist to own up to his mistake. I imagine the majority of people would not act accordingly.


  3. I find that an apology up front defuses a lot of ire that can otherwise build up in the inconvenienced person. Recognition that someone takes responsibility for the glitch is often all that’s needed; with no outlet that frustration can easily be taken out on someone else.
    It’s rare for it to actually cost money though. Congratulations, you!


  4. Honestly, I cannot tell a lie. I simply can’t. I have tried and am caught right away. So, I quit a career as a lawyer to be a writer. Atleast now I can lie (tell a story that is not a fact) and not have people call me on it.

    I completely agree. We all could do with more truth in our lives.


  5. No one will ever go through life without making mistakes. If we pretend we have never done so we will end up lying and upsetting people. Your dentist was right to admit his mistake, this way the resolution was better for both of you. This is a lesson unfortunately that politicians (who make more mistakes than most) seem unable to learn both sides of the pond.


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