Rendered Fat Content


Allart van Everdingen: The Bear Distracted with Talk of Honey, (c. 1645-1656)
"Some adults never grow up."

In my youth, I was prone to embellish my stories. I won't deny that vestiges of this tendency remain, but I prefer to think that I've learned something in the interim. I monitor my talk more closely now, and though The Muse will certainly attest to the fact that I'm not above the occasional whopper, I tend to launch them in jest rather than in pre-emptive self-defense. My experiences, I'm slowly becoming convinced, might just be good enough as they sit. I'm more apt these days to play down my role than headline it.

As a direct consequence of my earlier embellishments, I've suffered considerable embarrassment, which I prefer to believe has justifiably humbled me a bit.
Back before, when I still tended to think of myself as not quite good enough, it seemed reasonable to occasionally gild the old lilly, but in so doing, I would inevitably get caught out, holding the scorched remnants of an ultimately regrettable story. Well, maybe, I might admit, perhaps it had not happened quite like that, and I'd receive another little lesson in contriteness delivered by my own hand.

Under some interpretations of free speech, anything qualifies, even misrepresentations and out-right lies. Let the listener beware, everyone's free to say anything anywhere, but that sort of freedom seems ultimately encumbering. If I'm not good for my word, others might conclude that I'm good for nothing. I might eventually conclude that they're right in their opinion, and I'm left essentially denigrating myself by over-promoting. Even the freedom of speech carries practical limits, as every freedom properly should. It seems a fundamental misconception that any freedom qualifies as an infinitely free good. Without some boundaries, it becomes meaningless.

I do chat up our destination. We're HeadingHomeward toward a long-sought place, one I've doubtless inflated in my long absence though it still remains great. When I went to university, I invited a Belgian fellow student over to my old home town for a weekend visit. I later learned that he was the son of one of the wealthiest families in Europe, so he was a bit of a snob. He could not hide his distress at the architecture I'd always found so classic and right. He saw strange mixtures of incongruent styles common to every Western town. The merchants who built those mansions sought magnificence more than congruence with any design school. I came to understand that my Valhallas might never quite pass muster, but that they were still mine. I saw castles. My friend saw out-sized cabins.

Our out-going President traded exclusively in LooseTalk, and I guess that maybe that's the best he had. He could inflate a bullet-riddled Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon with his whoppers and never seemed to notice or care that most had learned to never believe anything he said. He was apparently not in the veracity business. I suppose that he managed to keep his delicate ego afloat, but little else. LooseTalk amounts to self deception and almost everyone eventually notices. I still sometimes stretch my truths, but nothing like the way I used to in my ignorant youth. Some adults never grow up.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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