In the good old days, Halloween was seen as the scariest day of the year, followed by milestone birthdays. Five years ago, that all changed.
Having built his reputation on being the first actual honest politician in history, President Mackelby decided that everyone needed to be more honest as well; so he declared January 31st National Truth Day. For one day of the year, every citizen in the land was expected to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth No fibbing, no “Just kidding!” attempts at backtracking and no “Why yes, you do look nice in that outfit” white lies would be allowed. Anyone caught lying would be punished. What that punishment would entail, no one could say for sure, but if an honest guy such as President Mackelby said that you’d be punished, then you could count on something happening.
Husbands suddenly had no choice but to tell their wives that dinner sucked when asked that day. Those being interrogated by the police found themselves confessing to their crimes right away. Grocery store clerks ended up admitting that the reason there are more lanes closed than there are opened is so you’ll be stuck in line, thereby increasing the chances of you buying all that stuff they keep near the cash register on impulse.
Every year from then on, people dreaded January 31st. What unwelcome truths would it bring this time? How many relationships would it destroy? Should people just tape their mouths shut and wait for February 1st to arrive? Or should they show up at President Mackelby’s residence and tell him where he could stick his honesty?
“Everyone just calm down,” he said in a press conference the night before last year’s National Truth Day. “Have you really lost anything since you started telling the truth or might you have gained something? Think about it: when’s the last time you’ve had to eat your wife’s bland lasagna? Aren’t there now fewer criminals on the street? Haven’t your shopping habits changed for the better? I didn’t ask you to be honest in order to hurt one another. I asked you to be honest so that each and everyone of you could become your true, authentic selves. Skirting around the issues, denying your culpability in matters, or trying to fill a void with useless material goods will never solve anything, but open and honest communication will.”
It was a thought provoking speech, but for many people it was also a speech that reminded them just how icky and hard it was to become better people, better spouses, and better corporate citizens. So that fall they voted President Mackelby out of office.
“You want us to be more honest?” they shouted at rallies. “Okay, we honestly don’t like having to be this honest with ourselves or with one another. We’d much rather go back to living in the dark.”
Before his limousine pulled out of the driveway of the President’s official residence for the last time, President Mackelby left his former constituents with these parting words: “I am honestly disappointed that so many of you prefer to lead such false lives. But I’m also thrilled that my pension will pay me enough that I don’t ever have to deal with you people ever again. Just being honest. Toodles!”
This January 31st, everyone chose to celebrate the end of National Truth Day by lying straight through their teeth all day long, and indulging in the country’s new national dish: bland lasagna.