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Prairie Spy - Alan Linda

Last week, I gave you the first five of Dr. Susan Block's commandments, which were discovered in a pocket during a rare wearing of one of my favorite herringbone sport jackets. It had gotten pushed to the back of the closet somewhere along the line.

Last week, I gave you the first five of Dr. Susan Block's commandments, which were discovered in a pocket during a rare wearing of one of my favorite herringbone sport jackets. It had gotten pushed to the back of the closet somewhere along the line. In fact, it hadn't been worn since 1998, which was the date of Dr. Susan's appearance here at the Great American Think-Off.

I guess I don't dress up that much.

Anyway, just to remind you, the first five were: 1. Thou shalt always tell the truth, except under critical circumstances; 2. Thou shalt lie to save lives; 3. Thou shalt sometimes withhold the truth to protect yourself, or your loved ones; 4. Thou shalt lie to help the needy; and 5. Thou shalt honor life over truth--beware of truth mongering zealots.

It occurred to me as these were being retyped that perhaps the last phrase--beware of truth mongering zealots--voids the entire rest of the commandments. For those of you who don't remember Dr. Susan, a forty-ish attractive blond showing more cleavage than a road ditch, she came into town with her television support staff like a bowling ball flung down a polished lane.

We were her pins, we and the other contestants. The question that year was: Is honesty always the best policy?" Well, yes, it did turn out that way. Dr. Susan's tidal wave of attitude seemed to carry her into the first round of debate, and maybe half way through that before it began to dawn on her that she was further out of her water than a whale in Iowa.

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I don't think it was within her to say she slunk back to Los Angeles. Dr. Susan couldn't slink. However, she left a lot quieter than she arrived. Too bad. I liked her. Most women haven't the ability to hold the field of battle with dishonesty. Maybe she should try politics.

A relationship with her would be like playing liar's poker--a web of fiction, full of the staunch belief that each of the two was doing so with the other's best interests in mind. At least, such might be the case. I really wouldn't know personally. (The first lie comes that easily.)

Anyway, here are the other five.

Number 6: Thou shalt sometimes lie to inspire hope. (So, the correct response would always, always be: Yes, dear, I have noticed that you are losing weight. In fact, you're as skinny as a teenager--want to go upstairs?)

As my mother always said, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Number 7: Thou shalt lie when planning a surprise party or other playful, loving endeavors. (What? Isn't Dr. Susan great? I'm surprised every man in town didn't go home with her. Here one must refer back to number 6, and the going-upstairs-loving-endeavor statement. Other playful, loving endeavors might include but not be restricted to: I'm going drinking with the guys; I'm going fishing with the guys; I'm going with the guys period."

Number 8: Thou shalt lie in creating fictional art, literature, tall tales, fantasies and fish stories. (That's an exact quote. It's like she read my mind. I'm surprised I myself didn't follow her back to L.A. Except for I don't lie about fish stories, my life is a number 8; my motivation for getting out of bed tomorrow is to make up a better one; and my wish to live to be a hundred is to see how long I can keep it up.)

Number 9: thou shalt sometimes lie out of kindness and good manners. (Well, heck, Mrs. Smith. That was without doubt the best roast I've ever had, figuring as how it was road kill you found on the way home from work. ((Such is an example of a left-handed compliment.)) Well, heck, Mrs. Smith. You've never cooked a better roast. ((Now that's an example of a right-handed compliment. Never mind it was the equal of old shoe leather--you've demonstrated good manners, and you didn't have to lie at all, not with either one of the two examples I've just given you.)) All this should give you hope in your quest to cut down to only a couple of loving lies a day.)

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Finally, number 10: Thou shalt lie as little as possible, and not beyond one's needs. (She insults the male gender egregiously here. We need, we need! Apparently Dr. Susan hasn't fully realized the massive need that exists in the male of the human species--since when has one of anything ever been satisfactorily adequate? Up to and until I have a ten-car garage full of cars, boats, RVs and off-road vehicles, I have needs.)

Matter of fact, I have one right now. One more commandment: Number 11: You can only hang once; therefore, after the first lie, the rest are free.

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