The concept of lying has always fascinated me. Growing up, I was always taught not to lie by people who were masters at it. Now, I don't mean that in a completely malicious type of way.

Relatives used to lie to protect us from painful truths and my mother used to fib a little when I'd ask what was wrong and hear, "Nothing, I'm fine."

What's always kept me rapt with astonishment is the ease at which telling a lie can come. Everyone is guilty of it. In fact, if there is ever a person who can claim to have never uttered a false word, I'll peel the leather off of my steel toe boots and chew on it.

Counselors can lie by saying things will be OK when all of the signs suggest otherwise. Diners of a homebound cook can hide the truth by grinding out a smile and a compliment for a dish that has too much or too little seasoning.

See where I'm going with this?

A lot of our civilization's history also holds records of monumental fibs. Anyone remember how Native Americans were nearly wiped out and put on reservations? False promises of peace were made and a cultural genocide was put into effect.

Nazi Germany was founded on a false belief that Aryans were a master race that had no equal. The resulting mass murder of millions of Jewish people, along with Russians, Poles and homosexuals, led to the start of World War II and the deaths of more than 60 million people.

One could even argue that the current war in Iraq was started on false pretenses, but solid evidence supporting that argument, such as a confession from President George W. Bush himself, means the argument would be baseless.

Today, lying is horribly prevalent throughout our society. I'm sure people don't even think twice when a false word or sentence escapes their mouths.

Most of it seems harmless, such as coming up with an excuse on why you're late for work or coming home. But look at the big picture, and I start to wonder how much of what we say is actual truth?

I pride myself on being able to speak my mind when need be and to debate my point when I feel I am right. It comes with the territory of what I do for a living.

But do I lie? Sure I do. I wouldn't be normal if I didn't. And therein lies the basis for my argument. If it's so easy to bend the truth, even a little, why is it so hard for some people to fess up, even when they have been caught red-handed?

Americans nowadays don't really give a second thought to the atrocities committed by our ancestors against Native Americans through betrayal, though the history is out there in black and white. It's even become somewhat of a joke when a Caucasian dresses up in Native American garb and pretends to speak in broken English.

Even a professional sports team is named after a derogatory term towards these people, that being the National Football League's Washington Redskins.

There are also some in the Middle East who seem to think the Holocaust itself is all a facade created by the former Allied countries: the United States, Britain and the USSR.

On a smaller scale, I once had a former co-worker at Blue Bell Creameries who swore up and down he'd been home resting with a twisted knee when I drove by a basketball court and watched him drive to the hoop and put in a pretty sweet lay-up.

I'm guilty of it myself, but then again, isn't everyone else?

Tim Olmeda is the news editor for the Nueces County Record Star. Readers may contact him via e-mail at news@recordstar.com