The next day I saw the doctor, my GP, and right from the start there was some kind of undercurrent of antagonism here. He immediately told me that one glass of wine with a meal was all I could have and I could completely forget beer, and on top of that I was to get my blood pressure down to 120/80. Oh yes I said, why don’t you take 30 years off me and I’ll attain that blood pressure no problem. I also told him that I didn’t like Ace inhibitors and that I’d rather have some other medication if any more was needed. He completely ignored me on that one and prescribed Ramipril, I was already on Amlodipene and Aspirin and the day after, after being in hospital for neurological tests I was further prescribed Persantin.
 
Now I’m a chemist myself and in my job I work with some sophisticated instruments and one thing I know from that experience is that when you change things on any kind of sophisticated instrument you should change one thing at a time, that way you know what does what. So this sudden onslaught of pharmaceuticals should have concerned me, considering myself at the very minimum to be a sophisticated instrument of some excellence, but I was not as aware as my normal self and I was extremely vulnerable and easily led, I mean Santa Claus would have been welcome in my world at that point. So, off home I go armed to the teeth with pharmaceuticals to ingest at various times of the day, warnings aplenty to keep me nervous, and a single beer and a mug of hot chocolate to calm me down and then to bed. I awoke to the sound of my doorbell being rung in an unbelievably insistent and rapidly repeated way as if some utterly imperative message just had to reach me before the previous ring had faded. I threw on some clothes and descended the stairs feeling sorry for the bell.
 
I get to the door; it’s the guy through the kitchen wall, 3rd floor flat next to mine, and I don’t like this twat at all. You think you could ring that a bit more insistently next time I say as I open the door and he finally extricates his index finger from the doorbell cavity and the bell finally stops ringing, I have an image of it gasping away on the wall. He goes on about a car being clamped, not mine, someone else’s, yes right, so what’s this got to do with me, or you for that matter, when did you become the caretaker around here I think. I don’t know whose car it is and I leave him, post mini stroke victim that I am, well pissed at this intrusion but generally glad to get away and leave this unemployed self important jobsworth trying to work out who else he can show his self importance to, sheesh, I need some coffee.
 
I was signed off for three weeks while I tried to get my life back together, which for a while I thought I was doing quite well under the circumstances. Though I did have some strange feelings some nights, not sure at the time what they were but it certainly felt very weird, but I just put it down to the post brain flash situation, or communication blockage as I thought of it, as it’s apparently caused by a temporary blood clot, that stays long enough to cause damage but liquidises itself quickly enough to keep damage at a reasonably low level. Anyway I coped with whatever it was and crawled my way, time wise, through the following three weeks and went back to work.
 
Two weeks at work then two weeks off and everything looking ok, and then I was driving into work and I tried to go in the wrong gate. Now I’ve been driving in here for over 10 years so this was a bit of a surprise, which became even stranger, when after correcting my error I went on to compound it by missing the turn for the proper entrance and had to turn round again at the end of the road. Finally though I did actually get through the gate but when I did, the streets and turns seemed terribly unfamiliar. I did manage to get my car parked and get into the laboratory and everything in there was alright so I decided that it was best to stay with the alright and put the strangeness thing down to some blip, temporary blockage, geo-spatial aberration. Though entrance to the site was achieved with previously customary ease, this unfamiliarity on site lingered for a few more days, which was a concern yet it did feel as if the unfamiliarity faded a bit each day until, like the Cheshire cat perhaps, left only a fading, though possible baleful, grin.
 
The doctor in the meantime had raised the level of the Ramipril, from 2.5mg, to 5.0mg, and then to 7.5mg, saying that he had to do this because my blood pressure was too high. It was then that I started to get serious weird sensations that turned out to be hypo and hyper tension attacks. As I didn’t like ace inhibitors, I don’t know why really, maybe just the name, it suggests stopping the sharpest card in the pack, which suggests a kind of cheating to me, I didn’t focus on that drug at the start but told the doctor of these problems and we agreed to stop the Persantin for a week and see if that sorted it. It didn’t of course and these attacks, which at that time were completely sporadic but with increasing frequency, so that some of these occasions began to coincide with my time at work.
 
These were neither pleasant nor confidence building situations; quite frankly they were bloody horrible. I was taken to hospital again from work, driven home twice, called from home for an ambulance three times; I didn’t know what the hell was going on. As for work, well this would look good on my record wouldn’t it? More time off work. Now I realised that it had to be the ace inhibitor and I told the doctor but he wouldn’t have it, but as my blood pressure was down a bit he reduced the dose to 5 mgs. A partial victory, which, unlike partially bad things that become wholly bad, don’t become victories at all and in this particular case it made a Pyrrhic victory look like a glorious success.
The attacks lessened which undoubtedly was a good thing, and they became regular, therefore predictable, which initially one would think to be a good thing too. This unfortunately was not to be the case. There were two attacks overall I discovered, one whilst I was asleep, which didn’t really count and one around tea time each day. Now, you would think that knowing when this attack was due, more or less, would be a chance to prepare for it, make sure you were in a safe place and so on, and yes, it did enable that, but plain sailing it was not to be.
 
First of all I didn’t have a clue what these attacks really were, and, neither, so it seems did my doctor. I had though, proven the ace inhibitor to be the culprit, but still he would not reduce the dose. This proof was how I discovered the second attack, the middle of the night one. I did this by altering the time I took the pill, delaying the ingestion by some six hours and waiting to see when the attack, or as it turned out attacks, which was I freely admit, a bit of a shock when it occurred, occurred. So this shifting of the attacks, the tea time one to late night and the middle of the night one to the afternoon, left no doubt as to what was causing these attacks. Yet still he would not reduce the dose, saying that my blood pressure was too high, I even argued that even on the couple of occasions I was in hospital they had said the dose needed to be reduced. Whatever, nothing could sway him, I argued that it was all very well setting a target and devising a means to get there but when the means is creating a worse problem than not reaching the target then either you forget the target at least temporarily, or you change the means, and you are not prepared to do either, but it is me who is suffering here.
 
So there was serious antagonism between me and my doctor, there were serious concerns regarding my work situation, at the time I couldn’t go in because I wasn’t sure some attack wouldn’t waylay me in the lab. The biggest problem though, was the regular time. As it approached, you must remember that these attacks were bloody scary, lasted anything up to an hour, and left me utterly exhausted afterwards, I found an anticipatory dread building up each time. These circumstances lasted some four months, so these anticipatory horrors had some time to build their gothic landscape in my imagination. The attacks over this period neither got worse nor improved; they were in fact, the only horrendous constant in my life at that time.
 
The simple fact is this. I was fast losing any trust of my doctor, what he was saying as regards the need to keep this dose up was beginning to sound like excuses, I began to look at changing surgeries, there being one nearer me, so I looked at their website. On there, they had a link for recommendations for safe levels of blood pressure and it turned out, according to this information, that not only was my blood pressure considered safe at this time, but it would have been considered safe when my current doctor had raised the level of the ace inhibitor. Not only that but according to this information his target was nonsense, nice to reach of course, but unnecessary.
 
So, over this period, I find that I can’t trust my doctor, I’m having these attacks, I’m losing time at work, and my social life is shot to hell, and my anticipatory horrors are building up.
So I go to this new surgery and sign up on the Wednesday and that evening, during the usual attack this develops into a full-fledged panic attack, looks like the anxiety department of my brain finally thought it was time to react.
 
The last time I saw that doctor was that Friday. I told him about the panic attack. The next thing I know he’s telling me he wants to stop the ace inhibitor! What? After all this, you have got to be kidding me. He also suggests I go on Prozac for a week. No thanks mate. Holy shit, has that been your target all the time? I tell him I will reduce the ace inhibitor back to 2.5mg and then see after that. Weird, I’d become the more responsible of the two of us. Now I think of it, there was another weird occasion with him: He’d started to give a very strange kind of apology for what I’d been going through, with some strange inference that something had been done to me, but saying that he hoped I understood that everything he’d done was all for my good. It was kind of creepy, very disturbing, and at that point didn’t really mean anything to me to tell the truth. Anyway I walked out of there, got back to work and joined the new surgery and as the dose of the ace inhibitor decreased the attacks ceased and the panic attacks began to lessen. Things were looking up.
 
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I was driving home from work, when I was hit with a panic attack and it turned out that the new doctor, or one of them, had prescribed me another bloody ace inhibitor, Ramipril’s half -brother, just as I was starting to look forward again, son of a bitch! So there I am back in the anxiety stuff again. So how the hell had that stuff been prescribed, it was on my file that I reacted badly to them. Useless bastard I thought. Well, I had some time off so I could walk it off over the next few days, or so I thought. Unfortunately I had blisters on both feet from the previous weeks walking, and I hadn’t really done enough to heal them properly, so I was caught in the clutches of severe anxiety, enhanced by the realisation that my normal coping method was no longer available to me.
 
I go to the doctor, explain the situation, and tell her I could just do with something to tide me over for a few days, just until my feet come back to play. Bloody blisters, all it was, blisters on my feet, what did it for me as they say. My feet failed me, but let’s not get beyond ourselves, that would be unforgiveable. So, somehow, I get sucked into accepting a prescription for Citalopram and a six week set up process, to this day I cannot connect tide me over to six weeks but there you go.
 
The first week on this stuff is, well, until these pharmaceutically induced episodes of anxiety, I had never had any kind of anxiety in my life, but this stuff pulls anxiety out of sealed up cupboards or something and just parades it in front of you, behind you, above you, beneath you, and most of all, through you, and it is horrific for about three to four days and then it settles down and things are better. You do kind of wonder why the doctor doesn’t mention this first week effect, or maybe it’s just me. Actually I’d found online that this was a common effect for the first week, but had I not I might well have thought it was me. Anyway, after the first week, I can function, though I have a tension headache like a too tight balaclava on my head. After what I’ve been through of late though, a headache is almost a relief.  
 
I was back at work when I reached the six week stage, the time when the full effect of the drug comes through and I’m fully expecting my tension headache to disappear. Well the headache didn’t disappear, but I did get a change of my too tight imaginary headgear. If you remember railway clerks in the old westerns, or the telegraph man, they wore what were visors with elastic bands, at least I think they were elastic, that went round the back of the head. This, was,  my new headache profile, definitely not an improvement, but in fact more bothersome being nearer the front, but that wasn’t the worst change, something else came along that was totally unexpected; I got a tickly face. Now, don’t read tickly as funny, it was anything but, it was like having some ephemeral spider crawling over your face, unpleasant is an understatement here.
 
 
Something even stranger happened at this time too. These changes had happened after a shift at work and I wasn’t sure whether to go in the next day or not. A headache I could cope with, but a tickly face in a laboratory was a non starter if ever there was. So I get up the next morning with full expectation of phoning in sick but what do you know. No headache, no tickly face, so I go to work. The pattern became obvious over the next few weeks. When I left work and got home the tickly face and the headache would come back. If I was off work I had both problems, indeed the only time I didn’t have these problems was when I was at work, talk about a Calvinist headache, it allowed me to work, but pleasure, and leisure, were simply not permitted. John Knox would have been proud.
 
I saw a doctor and explained the problem and he kind of intimated that the tickly face thing was kind of normal. Well, it sure as hell wasn’t my kind of normality, and I’d never heard of anyone whose normality it could be. He suggested dropping the dose of Citalopram with a general view to coming off it. That, thought I, will do for me. So that’s what I did with the following effects. As I dropped the dose of the drug the headache and the tickly face began to creep closer to work, also I began, as I dropped the dose a second time to feel intimations of anxiety again, at which point I realised that this was the anxiety that this stuff was supposed to have sorted, all it had done was suppress it. So here we go again, I’ve got a headache, a tickly face, and anxiety all creeping closer to my laboratory, and simply driving home was becoming difficult. I remember the last shift while taking that drug; I felt the headache take over as I took off my lab coat, I couldn’t even have a tea break without a tickly face. I was supposed to drop the dose one more time and keep at that level for a month, but the dark forces of anxiety, the front head headache and the dreaded tickly face had me surrounded and I couldn’t do it. I had to stop from the current level. I had some leave booked so I decided I’d stop it then, thereby giving myself some time to recover from any withdrawal effects. So I stopped.
 
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Something was wrong, I’d stood up, but it appeared that my left leg was a tad reluctant in that task, definitely shoddy in support. I was, naturally, concerned, but also confused. I had a bad knee, and I thought that it was maybe just that despite the new feeling from this loose left leg, there was no other way really of describing it really, loose, untethered, both from me and the ground. Strange feeling, then it was ok, leg re-attached, world around me was, well, around me, still, scary.
 
I was fine for the rest of the morning, then early in the afternoon it happened again, worse this time, felt bad too, really bad, left hand began to tingle, this is not good thought I, not good at all.
 
I’m going to pop over to the medical centre I said to the boss, something very wrong, feeling bad. Ok he said, I’ll come over with you, you don’t look good. We didn’t say much on that short, precarious for me, walk, to the Occupational Medical Centre. Initially things were not too bad though, not for a long time would I realise just how gentle, relatively speaking, this beginning was, but for now I was a bit fearful, though not too bad. Actually, thinking about it, I was remarkably contained. The Medical people checked me in, took temperature and blood pressure, called an ambulance, connected me up for ECG, brought me a cup of tea, and asked me some general questions which I answered best I could.
 
I asked Allan to phone Elayne and ask her to bring me my coat over as by now I knew that I was not going back to the laboratory, not for a few weeks, and then not for that long either.
 
While I was waiting for the ambulance I decided to text some friends just to let them know the good news: I’d had a mini stroke but I was ok, under the circumstances, no lasting damage. I realised Alizon and John were off to Spain the next morning so if I didn’t see them tonight, I’d miss them until they came back. There were no such problems with other friends. They could come when they liked, well, if they liked I thought, as two ambulance men came in and basically whisked me away after a brief flurry of questions and picking up charts and forms and some personal belongings of mine that I didn’t have on me.
 
On the way to the hospital, I felt kind of lucky to tell the truth, I mean, mini stroke, loose leg, tickly hand, ok now, tired, bit shaky but hell, not bad, could easily have been paralysis, speech, mind, well, no I realised fairly quickly, it looks like the language side is fine, thinking fine, so if, I thought, I do have a full on stroke, it might paralyse me, but it will leave the thinking stuff, the language stuff intact. This meant, I thought, a little too complacently perhaps, I wouldn’t be completely useless. No, not completely useless, just partially useless, which, hopefully is only partially bad, I thought, though all the time realising that partially useless had no partiality when it came to bad, bad it would be, but it was a decent enough musing to spend time with.
 
In the meantime, we travelled towards the hospital on, it seemed to me, unfamiliar roads, though whether that was to do with genuine unfamiliarity, or induced unfamiliarity, I wasn’t sure, but also didn’t bother to question which it was likely to be, and it seemed the unasked question was answered when I began to recognise the roads as we approached the hospital. The ambulance men left me in a curtained cubicle and I awaited attention, which I got, after a while, from an alternating series of nurses and doctors, with the same or similar questions, tests, and reassuring talks, to temper, any anxieties I was feeling, which, oddly enough, I wasn’t.
My blood pressure was too high, so they wanted to keep me in for a few days until it was back at a more manageable level. I was whisked off to the too full wards and left on a trolley waiting for a bed. Bring books I messaged to my friends as I waited, fortunately Alizon had had the same idea and when she and John arrived shortly after they had books for me. Well, I said to Alizon and John, another fine mess eh, mini stroke? Yeah, bit serious, but maybe a bit lucky in a way. Alizon related how her dad had had a full stroke and that he’d been getting progressively more paralysed down one side ever since. I chirped up that at least I now knew that if I did have a full stroke it wouldn’t interfere with the thinking and language side of the brain, so at least I’d be able to do some things I was good at. Small mercies, John said, here are some books for you. We’ve got to go, packing to do and stuff. Ok, see you when you get back, might even have a bed by the time you land in Spain, I was still on a trolley waiting for a vacant bed, we hugged and parted and a few minutes later I was taken to a bed, given examinations, pills, checks and a talking to, then things went quiet as the teams of doctors and nurses whisked their way to the next ward. The tea lady came around and I got settled with a brew and a book and drifted into the sentences before me as the sounds around me faded in to the distance.
 
I wake as the first nurses come in to the ward, rub my eyes and look around. The time of day was the only difference really as far as I could see as regards the surroundings. In the other beds all you could see were vaguely body shaped heaps of bedclothes, human figures of some kind well concealed beneath, not much change from the previous night. Once I’d taken and ingested the proffered pills and gotten a coffee when it came around I began to turn my attention from beyond myself onto and into myself. How did I feel? Tired, exhausted actually, but other than a bit of a headache not bad at all. I got up and everything was working ok. All things considered I was pretty damned well, at least according to my own senses, but then my senses didn’t tell me how my blood pressure was, nor my heart for that matter, and no doubt a host of other things your body doesn’t bother you with until it’s too damned late.
 
I was told I’d be in for a few days while they monitored my blood pressure, but the word was my heart was fine, I felt a quietly thumping ovation from inside my chest at that, so I needed to exercise, diet well, drink less, take pills, stay calm. It was a warning I was told, yes I said I heard the alarm. As the noises of the ward began to mount I sought the comfort of my book and burrowed quietly into the pages until lunch time.
 
Jayne arrived just after lunch, just in time for a cup of tea in fact. Andy couldn’t come she said. We’d been going to Kendal for a concert that night but under the circumstances that was one gig that was now unreachable. She’d brought me a couple more books and some soap and razor stuff so I could keep myself reasonably presentable to the sick folk all around me. I see you’ve been reading already she said. Well yes, not much else to do around here. I couldn’t stand being in here without reading material, now that would do my head in. We spoke about changing my lifestyle, or drinking less basically, but also better diet, exercise and stuff. We exchanged the requisite amounts of small talk, news of mutual friends and spoke of planned trips that might now be in jeopardy, though I suggested they would still be ok, that I’d likely be out of here in a few days, which as it turned out was quite true.
 
The doctor came around the next day and said that my blood pressure was now in a self manageable state and once all the notices and medical needs were issued I could go home. I had to get to work to pick up my car and I had a number for transport at work. They would send someone for me. Time began to stretch then, it took forever for all the medical stuff to get done and then I had a hell of a time trying to get through to work and get transport. Patient as I had been, patient I now had to be, but eventually, after numerous calls, a taxi arrived for me and took me to the works gate. I walked onto the site and picked up my car, I thought about popping in to see my boss, but I thought no, I just want to get home, so home I went
I walked off this long suppressed anxiety in three days. So I was quite pleased with myself that I’d read things right, that all that drug had done, apart from giving me some major problems was suppress the bloody anxiety that it was suppose to sort, fix, clear, call it what you will, but not bloody well sit on it which was all it had done. I was stunned, the stuff was a bloody disgrace, it did nothing for anxiety, nothing at all, it maybe worked for depressives or suchlike but why was I given this stuff? I had no history of depression, the only anxiety I’d ever had was from prescribed medication. There wasn’t even any family history of depression, where the hell did this doctor ever get the idea that I should be on Citalopram. I shouldn’t have been within miles of this stuff. I was puzzled, a bit worried about this, but the anxiety was gone and so far, there were no withdrawal symptoms. I’d also taken a liking for walking after having to do so for anxiety plus it was good for the blood pressure too, I also had got myself a rowing machine and I was unquestionably overweight. So it being still early in the year, I made a late resolution to lose weight and accordingly I began to exercise with some passion.
 
The withdrawal started, my but this was fun, when it really got going it was like some kind of exquisite torture, something cooked up by Dick Cheney I mused, I’ll just bet that shithead watches videos of torture. The best for Cheney would be, now let’s see, oh yes, imagine every finger tip is coated in a conductive coating paste and this is wired up to an electrical source, and it’s wired to course through your forearm muscles with your elbows in a vice and you begin to get some idea. I won’t say this stuff is horrible, it isn’t: its evil, that’s why Cheney would like it, there’s malevolence to this stuff. No fury like an RSSI discarded, malice, that’s what I feel when this is happening; outright malice, nasty, evil, remorseless, inexorable, unstoppable, little demon from hell. You don’t always get the full Guantanamo show, but you get choice bits of it for a couple of weeks, sweet stuff for sadistic or even masochistic creeps, but for myself I didn’t find any enjoyment here at all. What keeps you going, unlike the real Guantanamo bay, is the knowledge that it isn’t going to last, that this situation will improve, that you will feel ok soon anyway. 
 
Well, things changed, improvement, yes you could say so, Cheney’s torture brigade had departed, to be replaced by some relentless work master; my brain. Except at the time I just assumed it was another stage of the Citalopram withdrawal effect. I’d never liked the stuff but in a very short time I would come to hate it with a vengeance. The reason I think why I thought it was still the withdrawal effect was that the change was as I recall remarkably quick and did not seem to be caused by any different source, though it must be said considering all this was caused by my brain this left a fairly broad source.
 
So, now I’m sat down, my hands facing each other, in front of me about waist level and it’s obvious that there’s some kind of brain cycle going on. As the cycle progresses the hands shake more vigorously or less, depending on where it is in the cycle. The job you have to do is to try and calm these hands until they are controllable. In the meantime my legs are shaking in a more controlled manner, coming together than going apart at a reasonable rate. There were two movements of the legs, the more vigorous was saving settings, as it were, and the less vigorous was scanning. The actions of the hands involved communication and the smoothing of this was the smoothing of the communications. Okay we have the verbs, but the noun, the object of these verbs: setting, scanning, communicating; was the brain, my brain to be precise. How did I know this, well it could be argued that I didn’t but it was the only interpretation that made any damned sense to me. As for the actual actions there was no choice, it had to be done.
 
In time, as the actions smoothed, the ability to stop for periods extended as the actions flattened. So, the vigorous time was around two weeks altogether, but gaining any more than temporary control of my own hands turned out to be extremely time consuming and, as it turned out gaining control of the hands became a minor problem. So this situation lasted around two weeks after which I could get around a bit more, do things again, but only for fairly limited times. Although not a very good situation there was no question that it was an improvement and that it was still progressing. I did, of course have to see doctors for medical certificates where I told them of what was happening and that things seemed to be improving, slowly I must admit, but improvement nonetheless.
 
The ‘slowly’ though, was slow indeed, so I thought if I take one Citalopram every two days to ameliorate the current effects of withdrawal then this may balance things out a bit. The image I had was of a graph whereby the line was too high above the baseline and the careful use of the offending drug would nudge this line down. Unfortunately this ‘careful’ use of the offending drug just reoffended with some style by inducing anxiety, previously slain, and increasing the ‘withdrawal’ effect by some force. It would seem that my ‘graph’ was not the ideal metaphor in this situation. The doctor, at least the current one suggested I take four tablets over four days and see how that goes. I told her she was insane, that after my recent experience all it would do was make things worse, and refused to follow this advice.
 
On consideration I did subsequently decide to take this advice that I did not trust in order to get the doctors trust by seeming to trust her. It did however make things worse as I expected and this I reported to the doctor who now appeared to trust what I was telling her. Unfortunately I never saw her again, which, I began to realise, was beginning to become a bit of a habit, or perhaps that’s the wrong expression, habit being the kind of word you would use to describe something that someone does on a regular basis. This was more like an unhabit as it were, in that as soon as I got to know a doctor that doctor would simply disappear, puff of smoke job, gone. Continuity, there was none except perhaps the continuity of non-continuity, or maybe a continuity of difference?
 
Now during this time I did a great deal of walking, both when personal and meteorological conditions were both unexceptional. I was writing a story at this time called The Perilous Adventures of an Unfulfilled Full Stop and during these walks I would often think of the themes, direction and ideas behind the story, and of course as time went on I could not but begin to consider the links between what was going on in my head with, well, with what was going on in my head. What was going on in my head outside of the story, although of course much that was at first outside the story began to get in to the story, via my head of course, was the feeling that I’d had for some time that I was completely surrounded by lies. Well, not all lies, but almost anything that wasn’t was just bullshit, and, in those circumstances, the bullshit might not be lying exactly, but it most certainly was an accessory, or at least in support by creating a bullshit environment that basically allowed lies, untruths, misdirection, obfuscation, and a host of other kind of story swerves to thrive completely unharassed by any kind of critical gaze or question mark. I remember thinking that in a completely bullshit world there are answers for everyone but no questions, none at all.
 
So I’m pacing around the park, feeling like shit, or maybe just feeling immersed in an environment of bullshit, and I’m thinking of the way lies have come out of the cupboard as it were. I mean they used to be a wee bit coy about themselves in case they got caught out, but they don’t seem to give a shit anymore; hmm, that’s a lot of shit in this paragraph but well it goes with the territory.
 
The human species has always been very good at lying, stories, which we all love, are lies in a sense, though it could be argued that in such circumstances, a good sense. I think it was Picasso that said all art is a lie that tells the truth, and I like that, like those kind of lies, the ones that tell the truth. Little lies, or white lies as they are called, are also fairly okay, social lubricants some say, essential fibs that smooth relationships. The main reason that white lies work is that everyone knows you are lying, but that lie is allowed, permitted, even encouraged. The thing is that all of these lies depend on an environment of honesty to work properly, because they are essentially honest in intent. Also there is always a pressure to elaborate the lie, colour it, or darken it a bit, but the clean environment keeps the lies reasonably light.
 
When the environment grows darker though, then darker lies can creep in, not the lies that tell the truth, but the lies that do the lying, the cheating; biting, utterly uncaring lies that begin to take over when light fades. Stories, art if you like, and white lies, have a positive effect on relationships, they add to them. These are lies that care about the people who utter and hear them but care not a whit about themselves. They don’t have to add up to anything because though they are socially beneficial kinds of lies, they don’t matter to themselves, they only count beyond themselves, lies, you might say, that  only count at either end. Darker lies care too much about themselves and whoever creates them but not at all about anyone else. They also always try to add up, something they do by marshalling an army of lies to insist on the accuracy of the calculation. These lies depend on a dark environment to hide their truth for they are anything but honest in their intent. 
 
So when I say that the lies use to be coy about themselves, I’m probably thinking of different kinds of lies, white lies. It’s the nature of the lies that’s changed, changed to fit the darker environment. Question is which way round did it go? Did the lies make the environment darker or did the darkness feed the lies? Probably some kind of reciprocal relationship I guess, as the lies darken, the darkness lies sort of thing. Whatever, there is no doubt that lying has gotten beyond bounds of late.
 
There are the obvious ones, the politicians and the corporate world has always lied to a certain extent, but they did at least pay lip service to the idea of honesty until fairly recently. You hear politicians now though: well, there’s a kind of pre and post Bush level of lying state isn’t there? Is that Truth there, lying in State? Indeed, you could say that what was lip service became finger service as it were. It’s hard now to fully realise just how much lying took off in the Bush years. Oh there was no shortness of lying prior to Bush, but with Bush it went positively stratospheric, higher even, it went all the way to Mars in fact. Remember that one? We’ll send a manned spacecraft to Mars he said: Utter bollocks, there was never any intention of funding anything like that in that administration, none at all. What Bush did though was to empty words of meaning. Seymour Hersh said it best; Bush doesn’t lie as such, words have no meaning to him.  Now Bush wasn’t the first person to uncouple meaning from words and he sure isn’t likely to be the last, but he surely was the first President of the United States of America to careen down this semantic slope. This uncoupling of meaning and words was coupled with the idea of American exceptionalism, itself a corruption of the corrupt Calvinist idea of Predestination and justified sinners: The Elect.
 
I guess it started with insurance and small print, you know, the get out clauses that you never read? This ‘small print’ made its way stealthily into contracts of employment, service contracts, warranty contracts and quietly began to poison the contracts they were in. In the end you had small print that effectively negated the contract itself, so the contract itself was a lie. Well actually this is where things get a wee bit complicated. Is the contract now a lie or is it the lie that is the small print that’s lying? Let’s put it another way; was the guy who wrote the contract more likely to be honest than the guy who wrote the small print? Who is more likely to be a lying bag of shite? What if the same guy wrote both? Is this a sheep in a wolf’s clothing or a sheep in a wolf’s stomach? Whatever way you look at it there’s a lie at the heart of this thing isn’t there?