Well, I believe I do, at any rate. If I should suddenly stop posting, it will probably be an indication that my persistent night cough has become even more serious. But in a way it is almost entertaining, as to some extent it was to have a broken ankle. I have concocted quite an ingenious little sleeping arrangement, and am now on a pattern of being able to sleep for between 2.5 and 4 hours, wake up coughing, spend only about ten to fifteen minutes coughing up stuff, read for up to an hour, and then get another two hours of sleep, with a somewhat less severe cough-up when I finally rise. Ingratitude, thy name is Hernia - and after I've been so kind to it for fifteen years, too!
L1: Now, it is usually great fun to cross-examine a Liar. They often make good impressions on the Judge and the Jury, and one can occasionally be pushed to new heights of ingenuity in order to pull off the mask and expose the witness for the walking bag of Untruth (s)he is. But an Admitted Liar? What's the fun of that? The Jury already know the witness is lying. Soapy Sam Ballard and Claude Erskine Brown for the Prosecution know it. Mr Injustice Graves knows it. On a good day, even Ollie Oliphant might have a clue.
But here we have a rather interesting situation. We have a woman who by her own admission lies to get what she wants or to avoid confrontation. She is caught out in a lie from some months previously, a case of combined selfishness and confrontation ducking, but in which she managed the lied-for act extremely clumsily. Now she understands why her husband questions her integrity, but expresses bewilderment that he questions the paternity of a surprising conception.
It would not be the most difficult thing in the world to build up a picture of a domineering bully. Because Little Wifey knows that her tendency to tell little or not-so-little lies is a Grave Fault, she does not stand up for herself in domestic differences of opinion. Husband plays on her inner sense of guilt and keeps her on a very short financial leash. He deliberately plays on her inclination to treat herself to a spa day and builds it up to such a point that she cannot take the pressure and lies her way into the treat. Then he has a foundation for questioning the paternity of his child, presumably to cover up some indiscretion of his own. I could make such a case fairly gladly.
Now would I believe it? I rather doubt it. The admission to being a lifelong liar has the flavour of the I Know I Have a Problem speech that has been used time and again by people to buy themselves some sort of grace without ever actually addressing the problem. One notes that LW1 presents no evidence of any attempt to address the problem. Then we have the framing of how her habit of lying played out during the marriage or before it. The spa visit is presented as the Big Lie, but if anything that draws the attention to that being the only lie mentioned, and makes one wonder whether one is not being gently led into the belief that there weren't other lies in play. A neat little omission. One might almost think that maybe there was never any question of fidelity earlier.
Just possibly H1 never voiced his concern about LW1's fidelity. And just possibly it was the spa visit that was his first indicator that LW1 is a confirmed and determined liar. But this has a touch of Nevile Strange in *Towards Zero* and his setting a trail of evidence that points to himself as the killer of Lady Tressilian while arranging for the case on those facts to fall apart, to yield to a second trail incriminating his ex-wife Audrey.
LW1 very likely wanted the spa day to come out. The easy answer would be that she may have been unfaithful after all, perhaps for some time, and wanted H1 to initiate the breakup. But to accept her evidence that she has slept with no other man, one might notice how she is able to adopt an indignant posture. "How could he?" practically drips from the conclusion of her letter. Even with the acknowledged scheduling, her own word that she has never slept with any other man since they have been together ought to be accepted. I am going to guess that LW1 either consciously or subconsciously wants her husband to suspect paternity because she has been entirely faithful. Would a paternity test really never have occurred to a confirmed liar as a possible solution? She wants to be dragged into it reluctantly, as the only way she can convince him of her virtue. And then who will have the whip hand in that marriage? It reminds me of why art dealer Jimmy Lazarus offered his friend Nick(Magdala) Buckley fifty pounds for a portrait of her grandfather that was worth twenty pounds at most. He knew that she would suspect the picture of being worth more, and would have it valued only to discover the truth. The next time he offered to buy a painting from her, she wouldn't - and he knew that another of her paintings was worth at least five thousand pounds.
If I liked LW1, I might advise her to take the Caroline Crale solution from *Five Little Pigs*. Horrified that jealousy had led her into maiming her baby half-sister, she adopted an extravagance of language in an attempt to give her violent streak an outlet. If LW1 could find some outlet where she could lie creatively, extravagantly to her heart's content, she might find it possible that her instinct to lie in real life would diminish. It might not do much good, but it could be worth a try.
Sorry, I'm not up to any morals this week.
L2: This is a bit of a muddle. In a way, it's similar to that annoying L2 of last week. Why has this family continued to host year after year when it was quite clear that their daughter had serious problems? Did they think that she was just misbehaving, or that it would be good for her to get herself over what they took to be a minor problem? The way LW2 is embracing the diagnosis as the greatest part of the solution to their problems is revealing. So it takes a medical diagnosis to convince LW2 and her husband (if he has any role in the making of decisions) to have a quiet holiday that her daughter will be able to handle. Ah, the damage done by the way in so many people have just bought into the Prudecutor-supported myth that Thanksgiving is supposed to be such a Lovely Occasion for Extended Family. Bleah!
So far so good, but then LW2 goes completely off on a tangent that it would be too much for her mother to host the dinner instead, and making a neatly-veiled crack about convincing her sister to host. Aha! One might have known that there was resentment that her sister's children have been such button-pushers for D2 all these years. But getting out of putting in an appearance? Oh, good grief.
The Prudecutor does not help by demanding that D2 immediately be thrust into the role of the Patient Living an Almost Perfectly Normal Life. I am almost revolted by the immediate impulse to turn her into a Poster Girl. Hasn't she suffered enough year after year? Can't she at least experience one quiet holiday with just the immediate family before some decision is made about being open about the diagnosis? I shall not even raise the question of whether a teenager might or not be permitted input into the question of whom to tell or not tell.
Interesting also that the Prudecutor sides with LW2 about her sister "stepping up" - what is WRONG with people who think that way, insisting on magazine-quality Family Holidays?
L3: So - while M3 certainly didn't put it very well, what is exactly going on between LW3 and M3 that firs the offer would lead to such an ungainly refusal and the violent reacting impulse to boycott the holiday because an offer to host was declined less than politely? These two deserve each other. I can't bring myself to care enough about this one to say anything more, except to hope that they remain bound up in a Prudecutor-sanctioned myth of the Perfect Family Holiday Gathering for the rest of their lives, making each other miserable year after year. I shall only hope that there isn't anyone in the family who genuinely deserves better than this sort of eternal tug-of-war.
L4: Why on earth continue to hold social events at work? A shower held by, for and with co-workers seems a horrid if not disgraceful idea. Talk about taking captives! And bosses socializing in this sort of atmosphere, where an employee was being honoured for a personal occurrence? Not a good idea at all. Think back to *Manor House* and the occasion of the festivities in the Servants' Hall. The Upstairs people might make an appearance Downstairs, but clearly not in the position of equals at the party. They would make a ceremonial appearance, perhaps including a short sppech or dance, and then leave the servants to their enjoyment. Or one might go back to *Cranford* and Lady Ludlow opening the May Day fair. She crowns Helen Hutton Queen of the May, but then takes no further part in the festivities as the townfolk celebrate. In these times, when birth class has virtually died out as a social indicator, perhaps corporate rank might make do.
A properly-framed apology when one has not quite maintained one's own standard of conduct never really seems likely to be out of order. The details LW4 can determine for herslef.