Sunday, June 26, 2011


Pareidolia is defined as a psychological phenomenon involving a random or vague stimulus as being perceived as significant. For example: o_O or other "emoticons" that resemble a face, or seeing the hand of "God" in the clouds, Jesus' face in a piece of toast, or even something like "answered prayers". Our brains are prone to look for and find patterns where there may or may not be any. Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptic Society, calls this tendency "patternicity" which is defined as "the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. Everyone has probably experienced this phenomenon, whether it's something like learning a new word and then hearing it the same day on TV, or seeing those old American Express commercials where they made ordinary objects appear to resemble faces. It's a perfectly normal occurrence, but sometimes people can go a little too far with it.

I was checking for messages and updates on facebook this afternoon and stumbled across this link that talked about this woman finding the word GOD outlined by veins in her leg (talk about taking God's name in vein; hardy har). I must admit that, once you know what you're supposed to be looking for, it does kinda look like her veins do spell GOD. But, I'm not altogether sure I buy it; pictures can be altered, and people will do anything for a few seconds of fame. But even if the photo is not doctored, I have to ask myself, "WTF?" First off, I don't believe in God and I don't think one exists. I can't be one hundred per cent sure of that (nobody can; not even believers), but I'm sure enough to live my life accordingly to that stance. Secondly, if there were an omnipotent being somewhere out there, why would he see fit to write his name in blood vessels on some woman's leg? Couldn't an all-powerful deity muster up a little more than that? Oh wait, I forgot; "God can't reveal himself; that would nullify free will". Right. But according to the same people that tell you that will refer to the argument of predestination--God being omniscient and all. Which cancels out the free will argument, so why doesn't he appear to everyone and then leave the choice of following him to each person? Some might say that they'd prefer not to spend an eternity pontificating and being a sycophant to a megalomaniac forever; that hell would be the better choice, far and away. So, again, why not reveal yourself? I God exists. Can't we, as humans, just concede and understand that we're not all that we think we are? That this entire universe with its billions of galaxies and innumerable planets wasn't made just for us; and that we're just a random event of fortuity and life is capable on this planet mostly by accident?

If that woman's leg really has God's name on it, so what? Good for her. Maybe she should find a circus and travel as a sideshow attraction or something....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Back online....

It has been a long four days. This past Friday, I noticed a lot of activity outside my window; police officers and all sorts of other "official" looking people mulling about in the parking lot of my apartment complex. Police presence is the norm around here...I'm used to seeing them on a daily basis lately, though they've never been called on my behalf. This part of town in particular is rife with--unsavory, I guess you'd say--characters, but the rent is cheap and it's all I can afford for the time being. I was a little alarmed, though, at the sheer number of officials present, so I figured it had had to be something big. I didn't dare go out and ask; whereas I'm not generally afraid of police--after all, their job is to protect and serve, right?--I didn't really want a part in whatever it was that they were doing out there, so I stayed put until I knew they were gone. It took a while, but they finally left after a few hours.

I decided to go ask management what was going on, but got no further than just outside my door before I found out what the problem was. A large section of the walkway on the upstairs level had fallen through and there was (and still is) a giant fucking hole where the walkway had been. Thankfully, no one had gotten hurt and it had just spontaneously collapsed. Come to find out, the police and some people from the city were in the process of condemning the building, and that was the strange activity I had noticed earlier. The manager told me that she was trying to prepare other apartments for everybody to be relocated to and that she would let me know when and where I was to be moved to. And there was a man from the city who was putting up notices on everyone's door--very bright and meretriciously florescent flyers which can probably be seen from a few miles away stating how it was unlawful to inhabit and so forth and so on. It turned out that I was to be moved to the front, near the office, which I thought was just swell since I could probably get a better internet signal and wouldn't have to worry about it fading in and out like it was prone to do once in awhile. Not to mention that I wouldn't have to walk half a mile just to take out the trash as well. Moving on up, so to speak, but not to a DEluxe apartment in the sky or some shit, but an improvement nonetheless.

I was told at first that I could opt to keep the new apartment or choose to go back to my original apartment once they fixed the problems; that I had a week or two to decide. So I packed up the things I needed the most--my computer, some clothes, food, etc. and moved it all to the new place. I was happy with it; the lighting is better and the internet had an excellent signal--five bars. This would work just fine. So I spent all of Friday night/Saturday morning just messing around on the web. At about 8:30 Saturday morning, the signal started to fluctuate...I was hoping that it was just a temporary occurrence; things had just been going too well to start fucking up now. I spent the next hour trying to get connected again, but to no avail. So I decided to go to sleep and worry about it when I got up. When I woke up, I checked it once more; still nothing. Long story short(er), it stayed down until just a few hours ago. Four long ass days without internet access is quite annoying when you're used to being able to get online just about everyday. I was ready to murder someone; I complained several times to management about it and just felt like they weren't really doing anything about it, despite them telling me that they were working on it. That's what they all say, right? There's only so much Freecell and Mahjong one can play without losing one's mind. I swear I dreamed of those damned mahjong tiles last night. I'm really glad that it's working now and that I don't have to kill some damn body.

I found out earlier today (yesterday) that once the building gets fixed and the city deems it fit to live in once again that I have to move back to my original apartment. Everybody's going back to their original places.Talk about a pain in the ass. Seems to me that they should have kept the buildings and walkways in good repair and avoided inconveniencing themselves and, indeed, the tenants like this, but I guess there are unforeseen circumstances sometimes. So in a couple of weeks, it's back to the far reaches of the property and the relative desolation it brings. No, there won't be any 5-bar internet signals, but then again, I've never gone four days without a signal back there either. So, when the time comes, I'll slither back into my dimly lit apartment, back to the familiar setting I've grown accustomed to, and I'll be happy. At least I probably won't be bored. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Passive Agression

If there's one thing I hate, it's people who say one thing and do another. I'm not talking about something like saying you'll take out the trash and then forgetting it on your way out; people are entitled an oversight or two once in awhile. What really pisses me off--to NO fucking end--is for someone to lie to your face just because they don't have the balls to speak the truth. I know everybody lies, and I think that is sometimes okay to lie, if the lie doesn't hurt another person and if there is a greater good to be had by not telling the truth. It's different, however, when you lie for selfish reasons or, indeed, for no reason at all. 

I don't have a working car at the moment, so I've been spending a lot of money for cabs so I can get to the grocery store, pay bills, etc. Sometimes I'm able to ask a friend for a ride in exchange for some gas money. There is a guy who lives in my apartment complex who has given me a few rides here and there; up until today, he was pretty decent about it. I've been trying to get to the post office for several days now and, since I don't really have the money to pay for a cab to wait outside for however long it takes for me to handle my business in there (the post office tends to be very busy), I figured I'd ask him if he'd drive me up there if I offered him ten bucks. I knocked on his door this afternoon and asked him, to which he replied, "Yeah, just give me a minute to get ready and I'll take you". He said that he would pull up to my apartment and honk the horn when he was ready. So I went back to my apartment and waited. And waited. 

An hour passed, and I was losing precious time before the post office would close yet again, postponing an already tardy errand another day. I went around and knocked on the door again. No answer. His car was still there, so I figured he had to be home, so I knocked again. Still no answer. I decided to call a cab, since there was still forty-five minutes left for me to get to the post office. I called, and they told me that it would be about twenty minutes before they could get here. I told them not to bother then, because I didn't want to pay for them to drive me up there only to find that I couldn't get in so close to closing time. So here I am, pissed off and extremely aggravated at the fact that I'm still holding the package I was supposed to have sent yesterday, and the prospect of getting it in the mail tomorrow is dismal at best. As for my lousy disposition at the moment, maybe I'll get lucky and a meteor will hit my apartment building and take away my gloom, as well as the lying sonofabitch that is responsible for it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Purpose Driven Life?

As I was doing some reading last night, I came upon a reference to a book I read several years ago: Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life". Of course, that was when I was a Christian and was attending church for every service; a far cry from the baby-eating, atheistic heathen I've since become. For those unfamiliar with the book (can't imagine how you wouldn't be; it's sold some thirty million copies), it is meant to be read over forty consecutive days (and/or nights; those damned biblical parallels) and contains "inspirational" writings, scripture, and suggestions for how one can live a better life--a life that glorifies Jesus/God and that just generally makes you a better person. More or less. I had forgotten all about the book until I just stumbled across it a few hours ago, and I can't say that it really changed me for the better at all, even when I was going to church. This entire entry will not focus ultimately on Mr. Warren or his book; it's just the means to an end, so to speak, with purpose as a theme. 

In mid- to late-2005, the church I was attending--and was a member in a leadership position in--had just remodeled the sanctuary, changing from the traditional theme to a more contemporary one, changing the operation of things as well. What was once the church your parents would have recognized from their youth had transmogrified to a miniature version of the churches you see on TV; the customary pews were replaced with plush chairs, a new sound-engineering booth was constructed, and the stage had mutated from an elevated rectangle to gradually tiered half-octagon. There were committees now; six "teams"--the members of which were delegated certain tasks such as organizing music and praying and such. I was a member of the prayer team, which gathered during the week to pray over the prayer requests people in the church had submitted. I also served on the praise team, since I played drums and sang in the music portion of Sunday service. Since the times they were a-changin', the pastor decided to jump on the bandwagon and lead the church as a whole in a six-week long serial sermon based on The Purpose Driven Life, since all the cool churches were doing the same. Everyone in the church was obligated to purchase a copy and participate in the reading every day for discussion the following Sunday. The book had suddenly gained popularity, according to Wikipedia and The Associated Press, after a hostage read a chapter to her captor--Brian Nichols (who had already killed four people that day), and he saw fit not to kill her. Come to find out later--according to her own memoirs--that she had also given him some crystal methamphetamine as well to calm him down. Bet the churches weren't aware of that. What makes me wonder is why a woman would be carrying around Rick Warren's book and just happens to have some meth on her. I guess I should start carrying meth with me from now on just in case I get held hostage. Anyway, I bought the book, I read the book, and I did not find it inspirational or special in any way at all. 

Now that I've stepped down from my soapbox, I suppose I should get to the point of my starting to write this.... I've always heard--as I'm sure everyone has--that "God has a purpose for you". We're supposed to believe that there is some bearded sky daddy up in space somewhere controlling the lives of everyone simultaneously and that everything is predetermined for us from the day we're born on this earth. I have problems accepting that, even IF I could concede that there is a sky daddy up there, and I'll tell you why. I've escaped death several times in my almost thirty-two years alive and, if there is something "God" has ordained for me to accomplish, or to have participation in accomplishing, I have just one question: What the fuck is it?

When I was born, I had medical problems. I was born via Caesarian due to some difficulty or another with my mom's health. I was born with a collapsed right lung, which was re-inflated by the insertion of two tubes into my peritoneal cavity, which left me with two scars that look more like bullet wounds than anything now. Obviously it worked though; crisis averted. When I was a toddler, I suffered a hernia; had surgery to tuck my intestines back inside, where they belonged. I survived yet again, this time with two four inch scars right above my junk. That's two medical emergencies within the first two years of my life, and we're not even done yet. There was to be worse to come.

My brother and I were placed in foster care for about three years while we were children, due to my mother's boyfriend/man du jour falling asleep with a cigarette and burning the house down. I was about seven; my brother five. My mother won custody back just before my brother's eighth birthday, so we went back with her. We ended up moving here to Huntsville, and the school I went to was within walking distance from our house. It was about a ten-minute walk; the only potential danger was crossing one of Huntsville's busiest streets, but there was always a crossing guard to direct traffic to stop. On December 5, 1990, I decided to stay after school for a while; a friend of mine and I would steal candy and snacks out of the vending machine. Time got away from me and, by the time I left school, it was a quarter til four. The crossing guard was gone. I remember crossing half way across the five lanes, waiting for the traffic to dissipate on the far side. That's the last thing I remember. I recall waking up in the hospital a couple weeks later, tasting the Dilantin gel that the doctors were giving me to control some seizures. I stayed in the hospital for a total of about three weeks; I had suffered two broken bones in my right leg, a fractured skull, and a lot of road rash. Everyone who visited me--my parents, other relatives, teachers, etc. said that I was lucky to have made it through alive, that "God had a plan" for me. I recovered from that and here I am today.

Fast forward to when I was fourteen.... It was a hot summer day. I decided to cool off by going inside and grabbing an ice cube from the freezer to suck on. I had it in my mouth for about thirty seconds when I accidentally swallowed it. I couldn't bring it back up and I had no one else there to help me. It fucking hurt; jagged edges and all stretching and poking all sides of my esophagus. With great effort, I was able to swallow it and get my breath back. It hurt for days, but I was still alive. It could've gone much worse. Another life-and-death situation and I survived despite long odds. About three years later, I was hit by lightning. My step-father owned a home improvement company and had built an office building adjacent to our house (we had since moved to the country). He decided a while after building it that it wasn't as practical as he'd thought it'd be, and that I could have it to use as a bedroom. The door had been forced open, so all you had to do to get in was to just push it open. Long story short, there was a heavy thunderstorm one night and the wind blew the door open, crashing into my drums and waking me up. I got up and closed the door and went back to bed. Not three minutes later, it happened again. The concrete floor was soaked in rain, and I really wanted to get back to sleep. I slammed the door and held it there for a few seconds. Next thing I know, I hear a loud bang--something like a gunshot--and I'm lifted off the ground. I could feel my hands and arms tingling in the second or two that I was hovering in the air. I said "fuck this" and ran across the driveway to the house. I waited for my parents to wake up and went to the ER. They told me once again how lucky I was. I figure it's not lucky to have things like that happen to you in the first place, but I guess in the whole scope of things, it's lucky for you not to die from them. 

I haven't had any more real skirmishes with death since then, so I guess I've finally discovered true luck. But after all these near-misses, I have to ask myself: What is it that I'm supposed to accomplish, IF Sky Daddy doesn't want me dead yet? What is there to do in the grand scheme of things? I don't believe in God/gods, so I really don't worry myself too much over it, but I would challenge any Christian to tell me why I shouldn't have already died from one of those things I've discussed. As I've alluded to already in a previous post, I tend to spend a large portion of my life suffering from very painful and debilitating arthritis attacks, to the point of where I have actually considered getting one of those Hoveround power chairs just to save myself some agony when I'm hurting bad. Is the point of me surviving all those things which could have ended me then just to live out a long life of suffering with a few breaks every now and again? Am I alive just to do my part in helping pharmaceutical companies be successful by taking their medicines all the time? Provide inspiration to someone who doesn't have as many problems as I do? If you've made it to the end of this diatribe, I congratulate you; these ramblings are probably at least half fueled by a steady diet of caffeine and hydrocodone, and I thank you sincerely for staying the course. Is there purpose to suffering? You came this far; you tell me.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Atheist Blogroll

Real Talk has been added to You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service that is provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you are interested in joining, visit Mojoey at for more information.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

From the depths of melancholy.....

Have you ever been depressed and you can't figure out just why? While I've never really been the overly happy and over-animated type, this mood--this damned mood--is hanging ominously over my head like a shadow. What's worse is that I can't figure out exactly why. It's a feeling of starkness; as if I'm utterly alone, almost an ant-in-a-warehouse sort of feeling. I know there are other people close by--within earshot, even--but tonight I can't seem to shake this feeling that there's just nobody there. To quote a Dream Theater song: "How can I feel abandoned, even when the world surrounds me?" There's an emptiness in my gut that just won't go away; a sense of foreboding consequence. If I had some legitimate problem to deal with, I would be able to relax a little and this feeling wouldn't be so bad. Instead, I'm sitting here over my computer, chain-smoking and drinking too much soda, trying for the life of me to figure out exactly why I feel like this. 

As soon as I started noticing this gnawing sense of despondency, I tried to counter it with some music, which usually helps to some degree or another. This time, no matter what it is I try to drown this sorrow with is having very little beneficial help. My favorite bands and songs aren't having their usual mood-improving effects. I've concluded that no matter what it is I decide to listen to, nothing will overcome this funk. As I type out this forlorn testimony, I'm listening to a song which accurately matches my mood: Opeth's To Bid You Farewell. Slow tempo, sad lyrics, and in some damn minor key that just makes you feel...alone. Doesn't matter; I've tried up-tempo songs with almost overly enthusiastic lyrics, but no effect whatsoever comes from them. If there is an effect from the faster songs, it's just to piss me off at their cheerfulness and, frankly, their downright smarminess. I suppose misery really does love company. 

Back in the early days of medicine, the Greeks based one's personality and temperament on the balance of four "humours" within one's body. The four categories are sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholy. I find myself very easily belonging to the category of melancholy, the qualities being despondent, irritable, and insomniac. The first and last are immediately recognized by the reader if he or she has read the content of these musings and has noticed the time of which I'm going to eventually post this. The irritability I try to keep in check for the most part, but sometimes it does rear its ugly head. I tend to think a lot; perhaps too much. I feel empathetic to a large degree, and it is easy for me to shoulder others burdens, sometimes forsaking my own. I'm not trying to boast selflessness and charity, but I very often feel obligated in some way to help others in my life. My willingness to help and the easiness with which I trust people have been detrimental to me time and time again, but still I try to make others lives better in whatever way that I can. I've learned a few lessons over the years, but I must remind myself to stay vigilant when dealing with other people now, for fear of getting exploited again. I don't suppose any of this is necessarily pertinent to the subject of this rant, but sometimes the words just type themselves. 

I've got some errands to run in a few hours, and I am not looking forward to them at all. Even if I'm in a better mood by then, I am not relishing the thought of going out, crippling my ass around on crutches, exclaiming with every step how much it fucking HURTS. Everyone who knows me knows that I am prone to some epic arthritis flare-ups, this particular one lasting for about four months, with minor periods of respite in between. Multiple joints at once flare up, making it hurt just to shift position while I'm sleeping. Sometimes even the weight of a sheet on my feet feel like they're being crushed into fine powder, and it occasionally feels like I'm being stretched apart on the rack, just like they did in the days of the Inquisition. More often than not, I'd just as soon have bionic limbs so that I know they won't hurt then. 

I guess I'll wrap this up for now; it hasn't done much for my mood really, but either it'll improve or it won't. Reckon I shall continue burning the proverbial midnight oil, smoking cigarettes and drinking Pepsi. Ten o'clock isn't far off, and I'm really dreading it by the minute. A massive dose of opiates would do just fine right now. 


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The many shades of dishonesty.

So, here it is: my very first blog. I can't promise you much in the area of actual reading enjoyment, but I do feel like these words might be useful in some sense or that--at the least--they might inspire the reader in some way. How? you may ask? Well, we'll just have to see. If they indeed are not inspirational at all, it probably doesn't matter anyway. You probably didn't discover what you are currently reading in an attempt to learn about those things you need to know more about; this is just one madman's ramblings posted in an attempt of catharsis, an exorcism of thoughts that haunt an already haunted mind. So read, if you will, and maybe I can make this a beneficial discussion for all involved, perhaps even myself.

I, just as every other human being that is alive or has ever lived, am capable of dishonesty and duplicity. Sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, the motivations for lying are selfish and a means to defraud another person. But there are times when chicanery is acceptable, even justified. For example, the "does this dress make me look fat" situation; how does one answer such a question, even if said dress makes its wearer resemble a shrink-wrapped package of link sausages? Any man confronted with such a quandary knows that it is far better to lie in this position than to speak the unflattering truth. The man knows that if he tells the woman that she does look fat, there would be hell to pay. If he values a peaceful--and indeed, a sexual--relationship with her, he realizes it is quite necessary to not tell her the truth. "No, baby", he says, "that dress looks amazing" is the best, if not necessarily an honest, response. There is nothing to gain here by telling the truth. So that is one way, and a fairly common one, that people can be dishonest and justified in doing so. 

Another lie that is perpetrated almost ubiquitously, at least in Christian nations, is the concept of Santa Claus. I don't know of a human being alive that didn't grow up believing that a rotund, bearded gentleman in a red suit flew around the world in one night delivering presents to all the good boys and girls from a reindeer-led sleigh. Most parents I know will allow their kids' belief in Santa Claus until the children are old enough to figure out for themselves that such a person cannot logically exist. I personally discovered it when I was about seven; I was in foster care and, when Christmas rolled around, presents were not delivered to me. I got some gifts, but I had to attend a church party to receive them. Children relish the idea of there being these supernatural entities like the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny because it gives them something to look forward to. As a parent (I'm not one, but know many), you allow them to believe in such silliness because it makes them happy to do so. I've known parents to do everything within their power to get something--anything--for their kids for Christmas just so they won't think that Santa Claus has forsaken them. We all know that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are imaginary, but we pretend for the children's sake that they're not. Good-natured lying, but lying nonetheless.

This next example might be a little more ambiguous than the previous two.... This one comes from personal experience and, while I find it to be absolutely justifiable, others may disagree. Once again, I'm not necessarily advocating dishonesty, but I am arguing the position that it is sometimes acceptable to lie, if the good gained from lying outweighs the risk of telling the truth. About five years ago, I was in the habit of going to different establishments to sing karaoke. It started off as a once-in-a-while type thing, but quickly became something I looked forward to on a near-nightly basis. It was fun, relatively inexpensive, and I met a lot of good people at the various bars I frequented, making some friendships I enjoy to this day. One November night, I was singing at a bar that was within walking distance from my apartment. There were quite a few people there whom I knew fairly well, one in particular whom I shall call "Jack". Jack was sitting at my table, and for all I knew he was a pretty cool cat. We were talking and he asked me if he could crash at my place for a few days until he got in touch with his mom, who lived out of state. He stated that he had had a disagreement with some roommates and he was trying to get out of there until he could move back to where he was from. My brain told me "no, you really don't need to start letting people stay with you; it destroys friendships", but I felt sorry for him and told him that it would be okay. He had a car, the use of which would benefit me while he was there, since I was spending a lot of money on cabs. Everything went fine at first, as it's prone to do. Just like in a romantic relationship, the parties are usually on their best behavior until the facade just fades away, ever so gradually. His mom sent him some money to come back with, but he decided that, if it was okay with me, he'd just as soon stay put. I made an agreement to him to pay x for rent and help with groceries in exchange for living with me. For the first few weeks, all was well. He lost his job as a security guard and started falling behind on his share of the bills. I was enrolled in college at the time, and was awaiting a check from my financial aid. Meanwhile, he spent what little money he could on beer and cigarettes, all the while saying he was looking for a job, although I know now that he wasn't too worried about it. He was, however, interested in the check I was waiting on. Since I was subsidizing him, things were a little tight financially and we were both suffering somewhat. When the check finally came in the mail, I decided that I was going to act as if it hadn't arrived yet, because he seemed so interested in it and I didn't want any problems. I'd already told him that if he couldn't pay his bills that he should reconsider moving back home with his mom. A thought that had crossed my mind was that he was planning on getting my money and dipping out with it. And I wasn't about to let that happen. 

I had had the check for about four or five days; it was deposited (without Jack's knowledge, natch) and I was sitting in my apartment, eating delivery pizza, when Jack comes back from wherever he'd been that day. I heard the key inside the lock, so I quickly shoved the pizza box under the table next to the couch where I was sitting. He came in, asked about the check yet again, to which I responded "still nothing" or something similar. He replied, "That sucks", or something like that, and then says, "Guess what? My car got hit earlier". I asked him to tell me about it, and he goes on to say that he was driving, was hit from the rear and spun into a telephone pole. He asked if I could reschedule my appointment since he didn't have a drivable car until it was repaired. I told him not to worry about it. I knew he was a lying bastard, but decided not to call him out. He came over to grab an ashtray from the table beside me and, lo and behold, he finds the pizza. He asked where it came from, since I'd been pretending that I didn't have any money to spend on stuff like that. I had grown tired of the charade, of course, and the fact that I knew he was lying to my face just made me angry enough to be honest. I told him I'd had the money all damned week and that it wasn't really his business. He wanted to know why I lied, so I replied that I had noticed his lack of effort in finding a job and his explicit interest in the check ever since he knew I was expecting it. And that I didn't want it to come up missing or to start a fight over his apparent sense of entitlement. He seemed to get terribly offended, and said that he'd have his belongings out of the apartment the next day. Storms off and leaves. As I already stated, I knew he was lying about the car, so I didn't feel bad about insinuating that he was a thief. I can't say that I've known him to steal, but I knew for a fact that he was a liar. The next day, he came to the apartment in his car; his unwrecked, looks-like-it-always-did fucking car. So he packed up and left. Haven't seen him since.

All that leads up to this: Was I justified in lying about having received my money just because I didn't trust him not to steal or otherwise try to obtain it from me? Was I also justified in assuming he was a thief because I knew he was a liar?  He had no reason to lie to me about having wrecked his car; if he had other things to do, then why not just say that he couldn't take me to my appointment? I would have understood and made other arrangements, and the matter would have been settled. It's my opinion that, if someone lies to you, especially for no good reason, they're of the character to steal you blind if given the opportunity. The dishonesty inherent in making a decision to lie is no different than that involved in choosing to steal. The fact that I didn't know--but suspected--his dishonesty when I got the check matters not; I feel that it is wise to be prudent and that my suspicion in this case was not unreasonable, and therefore, my deceit was entirely valid. Trust is a gift that should not be given lightly or without considerable thought. I have been betrayed several times before and since this incident by people that I thought worthy of such a gift and it has jaded my rationale for other potential recipients of it. It's indeed very unfortunate that many suffer for the sins of a few, but that's just the way it goes. Is it okay to lie to people if you expect them to be honest with you? No, it's not. But sometimes it's needed. Exigent circumstances sometimes call for a breaking of the rules. And in this world of charlatans and pretenders, one must occasionally fight fire with fire.