- Instinctively every one says ” Yes”.
- But peculiar circumstances arise presenting difficulty.
- The truth may be very embarrassing at times.
There are some questions which are difficult, even impossible to answer with a straight forward. “Yes” or “No”. A parliamentary candidate was once addressing a meeting and invited the audience to ask him questions. One man stood up and said, “I am told that you avoid giving a direct answer. If I ask a question, will you give me a straightforward answer of “Yes” or “No?”. The politician replied promptly, “Indeed I will do so.” “Then,” said the man, “Have you stopped your bad habits of drinking too much liquor?”. The candidate was nonplussed.
On first thought, almost all of us answer, “Yes, I should always speak the truth.” But from the very beginning, special cases seem to arise. If the principal, looking fierce and with a cane in his hands, says, “Tariq”, did you throw that paper dart at the professor?” it is possible that I should say. “Yes, sir,” and face the consequences. But if he says, Tariq did you see Hameed throw that paper dart at the professor?” that is a different matter. It is a code of honor among college students that one does not play the part of tell-tale or informer about the acts of another. But how is this awkward question to be avoided? The principal will hardly be satisfied with, “I’d rather not say, sir!”
A play was founded on this difficulty. After an argument, the one young man promised that for a whole week, he would weight every remark and speak nothing but the truth. On the first evening afterward, he was having dinner in the home of his employer, a rather stern old gentleman. The host’s daughter was asked to perform on the piano. When she finished, the old father asked the young man, “What did you think of my daughter’s piano playing?” He was about to give a conventional answer of appreciation when he remembered what he had undertaken to do. So he replied, “Sir, I thought it was horrible!” What were his hopes of promotion in the future? You are in the employment of a good business firm. A college friend of your own is applying for a post. In the last year at college, he got into trouble for not returning some money he had found, where another boy had dropped it. You have reason to believe that temporary slip did not represent his true character, that it was only. thoughtlessness and that he has sincerely regretted it and learned his lesson. But the head of the firm calls you before him, and says, “Now, Jamil, I hear that you were at college along with Rashid. Would you say that, in your opinion, he is perfectly honest and reliable?” You are indeed faced with difficulty.