When I think of the word “bluff” I think of the landscape– you know, the high, steep cliff. The bluff.
And then, when I hear that someone has called his bluff, I know there has to be a hand of cards in there somewhere. Usually, I think of poker, and the really good poker players can call a bluff with a straight face, not really having a good hand to play — rather, misleading the other players to think the hand is worth betting on. Ahhh….
To mislead someone — we do it all the time, every day, in every way. Advertisements do it to sell a product. Currently, politicians are doing it to entice people to vote for them. Parents do it when they tell their children about “the tooth fairy” or “Santa Clause” or the “Easter Bunny”. Traditions or bluffs? Students do it every day in school, trying to bluff the teacher into believing one reason instead of admitting the truth why the paper was late, why they were talking in class, why. why. why… And teachers call the student’s bluff all the time. They are onto the students with their bluffs.
It’s not a lie nor a fib — usually, the bluff, the misleading statement, doesn’t really hurt someone. It is just presented in such a way that we may think it is real when it is not. It’s a bluff.
The lie can lead to hurting someone. It is outright deceiving another person for a gain of some sort — monetarily, emotionally, physically. That is when people get mad, when they know they have been lied to. And that brings up the entire “trust” idea. When a person is lied to, trust breaks down. Now, that is completely different from a fib.
I may tell a little white lie — a fib, where it does not hurt anyone, or maybe I may fib to protect someone or some idea. I may tell a fib to not let someone know something that has been told to me in confidence and then someone else is trying to pry the information from me. I do fib when it’s no one’s business to know something or other. I don’t hurt them, I just don’t tell them the truth when information is private and others want to know my or other people’s business.
Lie — I personally try not to because it is much more serious. A willful intent to deceive. And I want people to trust me.
That brings me back to bluff. Actually, when someone bluffs me, or I see someone calling his bluff, I smile. It takes skill to bluff someone without having any sort of deception taking place. Unexpected jokes are bluffs. Pleading to be taken out to eat, saying there is no food in the house is a bluff because there is usually some food in the house. Misleading — yes, hurtful, no. Skill, yes, it takes skill to call his bluff, to bluff someone, to maintain that straight face, that pleading look, that frightened pose.
I am not good at bluffing, or calling a bluff. My mind is too logical, too practical, so I return to my landscape, to my logic, and I see the steep cliff when I see the word “bluff”. But I do know when I have been bluffed — after awhile and I have time to think it through. That’s just the way I am. Logical. Plagued with reason.
I’ll be back on Friday. Do you have any idiom, phrase or cliche that you want me to explore with my writing? Let me know.