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Let’s Not Tell the Truth Anymore

March 1, 2011

One of my old life goals, asides from learning how to hotwire a car and becoming the Supreme President of the Universe, is to be as truthful as possible. There’s something appealing about the idea of being an antisocial stickler for Truth. It must be nice to be someone who believes so strongly in the idea of Truth and Science and Rightness that they’re absolutely fine with telling their peers “Yes, you look like shit in that new shirt – but that’s because it’s how you always look.” and “No, I can’t come to your birthday bash because you are a tedious greasy smear on the pavement of life”. We celebrate these characters because they are a harmless outlet for the evil bitchtastic side of us social conventions forbid and also because let’s face it: they’re hilarious. Still, these characters are nearly always redeemed by the fact that they’re either a) uncommonly intelligent, or b) actually hiding their hearts of gold underneath their top piecrust of arrogant standoffishness.

I personally decided awhile back that I would be like Gregory House from House and Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock Holmes and Wallace Wallace from No More Dead Dogs.(Look! Two out of three are the eponymous characters. You can’t say they’re not successful.). I would always speak my mind as honestly and bluntly as possible when people ask for my opinion. It’s a personality trait that I tried to cultivate. Delicately lowered into the muddy soil of my mind, I hoped one day the personality trait would blossom and harvest, and speaking my mind would take root in my character that it’ll become a reflex.  Not only might this make me somewhat cool and interesting (something every teenager secretly pines for), it would also be a rebellious middle finger to those insipid motivational messages like “Just be yourself” or “Don’t bow down to Peer Pressure”.  Ha – can’t you see that by being intentionally true to myself I’m really being absolutely fake to myself?  seeing as I’m exactly the sort of non-aggressive coward who would never say anything like that ever out of the fear of being confronted?

This is another point that I considered:  I’m not a genius. Nor do I have a heart of sufficiently precious metal. Forget gold – my heart would probably rank somewhere between mercury and bismuth in terms of world market price. And even if I did have a gold-ish one, suppose the people who surround me failed to perceive it? I’d have to deliberately provoke opportunities where I can let my brilliant sneering mask slip to leave a glimpse of my softer cuddly side.  I’d also have to start creating a softer cuddly side to show.  But given the number of people I meet each day, multiplied by the patchwork irregular mind of an average teenager, I’d have to spend about half my waking moments engineering such moments.  Can’t be worth it.

Image credits:
Sidney Paget’s Holmes Illustrations, House MD, No More Dead Dogs, I love Honesty pin, polygraph tests


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