Plummer Cobb is a writer and communications consultant based in Arlington, Texas.

The Best Policy

The Pitchman was just finishing his spiel with a previous group of passers-by when a new group began to form and he launched into his pitch again. Normally, I ignore such things, but this was different.

Step right up, folks, and feast your eyes on the Soothsayer 3000. I was just telling these fine folks about the benefits of this incredible new product not available in stores but selling out from our warehouses nationwide even as we speak, but I happen to have a handful of them right here now, and you could be a proud owner.

What is the Soothsayer 3000, you ask? It slices, dices, blends, mixes, and purifies the words and thoughts of others until you get the one thing you always say you want but never seem to get: The Truth.

How many times has this happened to you? You ask someone to dinner and they say oh sorry, I have this thing I have to do, maybe another time. Is that really the truth, or just a lie to keep from rejecting you outright? You talk to your boss about the rumors of a company merger and how it might affect you, and he says not to worry, you’ll still have your job after the merger. Is he being honest, or is he just trying to keep you on long enough to finish the merger before they get rid of you after the fact?

Wouldn’t you rather just get honest answers? Now you can! Carry the Soothsayer 3000 discreetly in a purse, briefcase, or backpack, and learn the truth immediately in any situation so you can go on with your life confident that you won’t be waiting for friends, family, bosses, or anyone else to have the guts to tell you what you really need to know.

And what would you expect to pay for the piece of mind of never being lied to again? Similar products cost thousands of dollars and consist of bulky tabletop devices and a tangled mess of wires and electrodes. Not the Soothsayer 3000. Would you pay $1000? $800? $600? Order today, and you can have the Soothsayer 3000 for three easy payments of $29.95!

But wait, there’s more! Buy in the next twenty minutes and you’ll get this handy ear-bud connection that lets you keep the Soothsayer 3000 on and active wherever you go, no matter who’s around. And it even works on nearby conversations that don’t involve you! Wondering if that couple one table over in the coffee shop is being honest with each other? Now you’ll know!

I bit. After providing my credit card information, I had my own Soothsayer 3000 tucked neatly away in my messenger bag. How would I use it? I wasn’t sure yet, but I was excited about the possibilities. As the Pitchman began his speech to the next group of potential buyers, I decided to test it out. Following the instructions, I pointed the antenna directly at the Pitchman himself. A moment later, the bright red LIE indicator light flashed on.


Author’s Note: How might ubiquitous lie-detectors impact society? Would full transparency free us, or would everything unravel? This story doesn’t fully explore that, but it poses the question.

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