It seems like lying in public has become quite popular recently. Sure, lying has been around since cave men learned to declare the animal skins their partners wore did not make them look fat. But that was all private. Today we have technology to disseminate lies far and wide, instantly making public liars out of the most remote members of society.

Lying seems to have become socially acceptable. You can buy time on social media to lie and no mass protests have materialized to shame public liars. Straight talkers are finding it surprisingly difficult to get the hang of lying. You have to study politicians, dictators and people in power to get the nuances and appreciate the chutzpah it takes to repeatedly tell bald-faced lies.

A bald-faced lie is a statement where nearly everyone hearing it knows it’s a lie. This as opposed to the big lie, which is a lie so ridiculously preposterous that people tend to believe it because they just can’t imagine that anyone would have the audacity to tell such an untruth.

Lying, as it turns out, is really complicated. Just the word lie takes up pages in Wikipedia, where over 30 different types of lies are listed and interesting distinctions are made among half-truths, puffery, black lies, fraud and bullshit. Many books have been written, movies produced, confessions offered and still we lie. We even lie about lying. It’s just one of our communication skills, although the spectrum of lies goes from harmless to criminal.

I for one feel pressured because for years I have been telling lies in public, sometimes in the form of hyperbole, satire or just your garden-variety bald-faced lies — predominantly in this column. Now it appears other people have picked up on it. I can compete very well with your everyday amateur liar but listening to the career liars, the public figures who are so practiced that they are no longer aware of their detachment from reality, has me put off. Constant lies from top officials desensitize the public and erode the value of my lying for amusement. Instead of public protest and indignation, people just stop believing anything they hear, even from legitimate sources, and we slowly descend into chaos.

You almost have to pity our poor politicians. They stretch the truth to the point where they have it inside out and soon somebody calls them on it. Here they can backpedal and admit they were not truthful, which will dearly cost them the respect of all their lying colleagues. Or, they can tell another lie to shore up what will eventually become their house of deceit.

A third alternative is that they can bend logic so much that the lie becomes a truth by severely stretching the imagination. As a last resort, they can do what I used to do in fourth grade: claim they were joking. This pathetic option comes with a high built-in price: it defines you as a terrible comedian.

One other way to handle any accusations of lying is to call the accuser a liar. Since it’s the job of the media to uncover who is telling the truth and whose pants are on fire it follows that after so many political lies are reported, the politicians go after the media and accuse them of lying or producing false news. Here we find ourselves back on the elementary school playground. “You’re a liar!” “I know you are but what am I?” Oh, please.

On the one hand, our language is so nebulous that there is nothing we can say that can’t be challenged. If you say the sky is blue, I can challenge you to define your terms and we can go on debating about what is obvious to both of us. On the other hand, we all have a gut feeling for what reality is and often we can settle on an uneasy truce about the semantics.

Even though our terms are not perfectly defined and lies are repeated to the point of believability, we’ve got to trust ourselves to know that the sky is indeed blue and no matter how much a falsehood is spun and repeated, it is still a lie.

Okay. Forgive my little rant about lying. Next week I hope to get back to the more amusing lies. I was just feeling threatened.

And no, that flag you’ve wrapped yourself in does not make you look fat.