OP-ED: Grasshoppers who Misrepresent the Truth

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

by Mike Polka

On an old episode of “Kung-Fu”, Kwai Chang Caine, played by David Carradine, nick-named “Grasshopper” by his elderly mentor & Shaolin Monk “Master Po” is given a scroll he requires delivered to a distant Chinese venue. He is entrusted by Master Po to deliver this priceless scroll from their home, the Shaolin Temple.  

During young Grasshopper’s arduous journey, he is set upon by a thief, & is soon relieved of said scroll. Young Kwai Chang hurries back to report the grievous loss of the artifact.  Meanwhile, back at the “Temple”, the Shaolin Monks have already caught the thief, & prepare to behead the now seemingly repentant scoundrel with an exquisitely curved ornamental sword. No, I don’t know how they caught the thief so quickly, but their intent to behead sounds hauntingly familiar, doesn’t it?

Anyhow, Grasshopper stops the execution by lying, stating this was not the perpetrator, allowing the formerly doomed man to be freed.


 Later, amid the “eerie tinkling” of chimes & melodic tones of an unseen flute, Master Po & Grasshopper are enjoying a brief respite in the temple.  Master Po, also blind, who was not born yesterday, (& looked it), did not believe young Kwai Chang”s earlier rendition; & said as much. “But Master, I saved his life with this lie” the young Shaolin candidate argued with a promise   never to lie again.

“Yes, you saved his life, and lied only once, but you will always be a liar!” said the eyeless old Master. The scene fades accompanied by more chimes & flute intonations that blend with the incense perfumed air. Elated by the lesson I learned in that episode, I tried to celebrate with a “Shaolin-type” high kick in the living room, but misjudging distance was my undoing, as I maneuvered my big toe into the corner of the coffee table. Yes, I lost my toenail, & some dignity, but was rewarded with “ceaseless throbbing” in stated toe for days, along with a valuable lesson in humbleness I somehow failed to learn from the show.


Finally my point on folks including Grasshopper who shouldn’t ever misrepresent the truth; Doctors & Health Care Providers, Clergy, Law Enforcement, Lawyers, Investment Brokers, Bankers, Insurance Providers, Contractors of all types, Family, the list is almost endless.

But why is it so unrealistic to expect Politicians to be truthful? Have we morphed into a society that “expects” them to lie, & we almost gleefully tolerate it? We would be horrified if our doctors lied to us, or our family’s trusted lawyer or banker!

But our elected government officials, some who represent hundreds of thousands & even millions of us, lying has become commonplace, & seemingly never punished! There should be a Constitutional amendment to remove any elected or appointed official for proven gross lying.

But what if they apologize humbly? Allow me to remind all of us “Grasshoppers” once again of Master Po’s admonition; “if you lie only once, you will still always be a liar!”  Chimes please.

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