My mother, though, was one of those people who didn't believe in blaming everything on the Devil. She'd remind me when something didn't go the way I'd planned, the Devil had nothing to do with it. "That was you being hard-headed," she'd tell me. "Hard head makes a soft behind." Then I'd get a lecture about using more common sense when making important decisions. Once, when I got my first credit card, I bought some kind of expensive purse. Just had to have it. Couldn't live without it. It had cute initials on it and "everybody" who was "anybody" had one. Mama watched me loading all my stuff into the purse and said, "Got everything in there but money, don't ya?" About a month or two later, I was in between paychecks and a little bit broke. Went to Mama for a loan. She gave me the money and held my purse for collateral. I joked that the Devil had tempted me to buy the purse. Mama shook her head. "Don't blame that on the Devil. This was between you and the Joneses." Trying to keep up is what she meant.
So, Mama's right, the Devil is not to blame for a lot of stuff, but I know he should get at least partial credit for some. Has to be him whispering into the ears of some people to make them do things. Folks have just got to figure out when not to listen to that lying little voice at times. The Devil does lie and I know people who believed him:
- To the lady with 20 extra pounds right around her middle. the Devil lied when he said you'd look good wearing the low-rise jeans with the high-rise top.
- If you are over 25, you do not look cute with Kool-Aid-colored hair cut into a funky style.
- Old or young, if you are not in decent shape, you do not look cute in really short shorts, going bra-less or wearing a wife-beater in public. Even if you have a body like the latest supermodel, certain clothes are not meant to be worn outside the privacy of your bedroom. I'm talking to the chicks wearing the cootchie-cutter shorts or the peek-a-boo skirts sans underwear. That's your business, please don't share it with me.
- Rudeness is not cute. You don't have to smile to make my day, but walking around looking like we all ticked you off does not help you along in life.
- Public affection is holding hands or a little lip-smacking every now and then. That's cute. Sucking tongues or masturbating your partner in the grocery store is simply not acceptable behavior. Get a web cam and a PayPal account and leave us non-paying folks out of it.
- Young folk: cussing and acting thuggish does not make you look grown. It makes you look unemployable and worrisome. It either frightens or disgust the rest of us.
- Rudeness and impatience does not make you look important, no matter what kind of suit you wear or designer bag you carry. You just look like a well-dressed jerk. You make the rest of us wonder how bad your "good life" must be treating you.
- Playing your music at top volume and thumping the bass is annoying. I might want to listen to my own music or hear myself think. I might be off my meds and decide to jump out at a red light and take a hammer to your stereo. People are living in stressful times these days... I'm just saying.
- If you are a store clerk, don't be impatient with me because you had a bad day. You have a job. Be thankful.
- Single folks: If you are a really good-looking person with a really stinky attitude, you start to look like a really stinky person. Approachable works better than cute any day.
- Married folks: Courtship does not end at the altar.
- Christians: You are not the Lord; you are His children and the "sinners" of the world are your brothers and sisters. I think God wants us to love our family. Love does not equal agreement on everything, but it still means LOVE. (And, by the way, your sins of lying or greed are no less or greater in God's eyes than someone's else sexual sins or sins of murder.)
- Non-Christians: Some Christians get the "love" thing.
*** I recently noticed that someone landed on my page by searching for the origins of the saying "The Devil is a liar". I'm no scholar but, as far as in my home, the saying came from John 8:44 (You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's ...When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.)