Thursday, June 14, 2007

Over-utilized and under-used

After having almost exhausted the topic of keeping secrets, I started to wonder about the virtue of honesty. Since I'm a fan of analogies and examples, here's one to make life easier.

Let's say there's a girl. And she's in love with this guy. We'll call her Sheryl and we'll call him Mike for now. Sheryl thinks Mike is hot, Mike finds Sheryl attractive. They've known each other for a few years now, maybe three. One day, Sheryl wakes up to the realization that the explanation for that uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach is that thing we call love. She's in love. With Mike. But Mike on the other hand, is possibly in love with someone else. Someone he can't have. But instead of doing the gentlemanly thing of putting Sheryl out of her misery and acting uninterested, distant and aloof, he makes the classic move of doing this part-time while sending out his famous male cocktail of mixed signals (sans olive) for the other half. Ignoring Sheryl is his usual behavior, but every once in a while, to keep things exciting, and Sheryl on her toes, he puts out his bat-signal. "I'm into you," it says to Sheryl. And we're not talking vague and open to misinterpretation "eye-contact" here; we're talking an undisputable message, but strangely without the fine print of an RSVP or even a return address. Both parties know that the message was sent and in turn received, but neither acknowledge its delivery. Her heart beats a million miles a minute, it drowns out everything else. His heart beats.....well this is the problem: we simply don't know.

And this is where our elusive friend Honesty pops in, rearing her frightening head and triggering what can only be dramatically described as a downward-spiraling obsession. At this point, Sheryl thinks: Maybe I should come clean. We're adults. It's not like I won't recover from this. What's the worst that could happen? At least I'll know once and for all where I stand.

But she does nothing.

People always say "honesty is the best policy"; possibly the most over-utilized but under-used clich├ęs around. We throw it around like we would a frisbee on a Saturday afternoon. Easily, breezily... But like a frisbee, much simpler in theory. What we forget to consider is the wind direction, the glare of the sun, the gradient of the slope and, most importantly, the other frisbee-throwers.

In theory it's a great idea, but practically, we always end up lying on the prickly grass, staring at odd cloud formations with our lips firmly sealed, just hoping not to get hit by a rogue frisbee...

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