Sullivan's Travels 3 was the third of three articles that Chloe Sullivan wrote at the Daily Planet.


It's nothing new to any of us. From the moment we discover Santa's true identity, we taste deception, the sugary-sweet coating that hides the mustard filling. Billboards, posters, commercials, lie equals buy, and it fuels our society.

Even in a salt-of-the-earth town like Smallville, our favorite hangout? An old movie theater masquerading as a coffee shop. And check out our fertilizer plant. We're the b.s. capital of the Midwest.

Walk with me through the aisles of deceit, and take stock of what's in store.

Deception fuels relationships. Girls, watch out for guys who are too good to be true. Those superpowers will fade eventually, and you'll be left with an ordinary human boy, one of the most gifted deceivers on the planet. Though sometimes, in my more self-reflective moments, I wonder if ordinary human girls are just easily deceived.

And boys, beneath her coolly detached demeanor, that unattainable trophy girl is as tarnished as the rest of us and, yep, unaattainable.

Burned in relationships, you turn to work for solace. Surely in the workforce, where only your abilities matter, you won't face the same games. Finally, you'll be rewarded for hard work and dedication, qualities of real substance. But if those just rewards come rolling in, stop. Consider the giver. And watch out for people who want to do you favors. There's always a hook.

Our deepest loyalties lie in family. So, then, will our deepest betrayals. I can't speak from personal experience here. God forbid I ever do anything to hurt my dad, but as a reporter, I observe. And there are families where love means never having to say you're sorry for attempted murder, professional treachery, marital sabotage or faking a disability.

Nice stroll, huh? The shelves are piled high with great memories: disappointing relationship, workplace double-crosses, blood betrayals. That's photo album material. Two options, learn from it or forget it (but unless you rescheduled for electroconvulsive therapy, you'll have to join the rest of us in the unrelenting classroom of Life).

Reality is full of unrealities. There is more reality in a street corner Rolex than in the world at large. So we cling to our defrocked Santas and call them wisdom. Our scars sense the fires of deception, and if we're responsible, decent people, we warn others of the heat.

That's why I write, even in the midst of an inferno, to save those who can't be heard over the roar of the flames. Who knows how long before the next fire blazes through your notions of security and leaves you helpless in a padded room? But you'll have your voice. And those of us who have been there before? We're listening.


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