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5/7/04 1:12 PM
Copyright 2003 David C. Loebig

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Do not alter the paragraphs in this column. It’s critical that the paragraphs not be split or combined. This column is about the disappointment of being lied to, so for an extra touch, you can split the column onto a second page and put just 2 or 3 lines of the last paragraph on the jump page.
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It’s All a Lie
or
It’s All a Lie, Even This Headline

People should lie more. Only a fraction of the population use deceit regularly, and it’s always a deep disappointment when you realize you’ve been had. So we’d be better off if everybody lied. Then we’d know who’s lying...everybody.

Okay, that’s not a real solution, but it’s a good opening because a column is supposed to “hook” the readers’ attention, if necessary by grabbing their collars and pulling them right into the newspaper. Now this second paragraph should use facts or examples to build upon the first paragraph and draw you further into the topic. I haven’t done that, but you’ve read this far, so let’s just call it a successful paragraph and move on.

The third paragraph should provide context for the facts and examples in the second paragraph. Since the second paragraph has no facts or examples, this third paragraph doesn’t stand a chance of fulfilling its role or having a purposeful existence.

So I’ll move right into the fourth paragraph. The fourth paragraph should build on the third paragraph or offer more context for the main topic (lying). We know that didn’t work for paragraph three, so let’s salvage this fourth paragraph and put it to use as the second paragraph. Since it’s been a while, let’s recap the first paragraph.

People should lie more. Remember that? That was the “hook.” The main theme is that we should lie all the time so we’ll be able to tell when others are lying.

Now that I think about it, that topic isn’t working. Maybe I should write about something completely different. Let’s say politics.

And I don’t limit “politics” to elected officials. I also mean the politics practiced in corporations, schools and almost any organization. It’s all the same. The larger a group is, the more political it is.

As an organization grows, outsiders are brought in, factions develop and people become entrenched in their positions. They start using self-serving reasoning, feigned intention and partial truths to get their way. It is nearly inevitable. And now that I think about it, it isn’t that much different from our initial subject, lying, so let’s get back to that.

And we were just getting to paragraph two, which now will be handled by paragraph nine even though I already promised that job to paragraph four. After everything so far, the fourth paragraph shouldn’t be surprised.

Neither should paragraph nine. Besides, it got off to a bad start by breaking the promise to the poor, vulnerable fourth paragraph. It doesn’t make good PR, so the second paragraph should distance itself from the ninth paragraph...

...by moving to the eleventh paragraph. But we’re running out of space, which leads us to the importance of a good conclusion that eloquently wraps up the column and drives home the main theme. Paragraph 11 wants no part of it.

So it’s dumping the job on paragraph 12, which isn’t any better prepared than paragraph 11. In fact, concisely summarizing this column will be a tough job for any paragraph, but just give me another week, and I’ll get right on it. I promise.

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Dave Loebig writes and banters out of the Tampa, Fla. Area. You can banter with him at RandomDigressions.com.

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