Do you ever wonder why it is so hard for people to be honest? It seems like it would be the easiest thing in the world to do – just be truthful and humble and the world would be a better place, right? I realize that not everyone has the ability – namely the tact – to dish out unfiltered truth. And even fewer have the fortitude or desire to accept it. The human element plays havoc with that concept.
I personally am just not a person that can swallow sugarcoated nonsense on an ongoing basis. And it is not just twisted little white lies that apply. Truth in advertising is probably the biggest culprit. I am amazed and maybe even a bit saddened how people are manipulated by the power of the almighty word. If a celebrity speaks it in a public forum it has to be the truth, right? Oh, Lord please help us.
Of course, my midwestern manners were rooted in “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I will clearly say nothing at all if I am fearful that my vision of the truth with ruffle sensitive feathers. But learning to choose your words wisely, should carry as much clout as saying nothing at all.
I remember a family visit during my first year in California. Playing tourist, we walked the length of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf with nothing but awe in our eyes. For some reason, my mother decided she wanted a meal with mashed potatoes. Seriously? Uh, mashed potatoes are not a usual side dish for fish, mom. But we perused the menus of every restaurant on the wharf until we found some. Seated at a lovely table by the water, my mom decided to start with the French Onion Soup.
Our waiter, who was actually quite delightful, showed excitement with her order. “Oh yes,” he clamored. “Don’t you just love the rich, delicately browned onions in a perfectly seasoned broth, topped with a beautifully crusted crouton and simply smothered in the kind of bubbly cheese that melts from here to eternity?” Mom smiled and raised her eyebrows. “Well, ours isn’t like that,” the waiter continued, “so you really should order something else.” I had never had such an enjoyable lunch. And mom forgot all about those ridiculous mashed potatoes.
I have remembered that story for more than half of my life. The truth was just so refreshing. I realize I am a weird duck, but I would surrender a dozen soft-core compliments for the kindness of one truth on any day. Of course, truth and kindness are not always synonymous. That is just the risk I choose to take.
I challenge myself to walk that thin line between truth and fiction with care and respect every day. As a dealer of words, I am aware that one wrong choice might completely misrepresent the intent of my passion. And what is passion without an honest voice? Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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