When You Have To Be Honest…

When you have to be honest about some particular thing, you might just as well surrender yourself to the whole vile experience and be honest about everything. You’ll be cleaning up a damned mess, of course, but the thing won’t be any different than if you just told a little bit of the truth and clammed up about the other things you know.

Not that honesty is required all the time, mind. If you are dealing with magistrates and police officers and coroners and such you’ll have to be completely truthful, of course. Likewise you are going to want to be open and forthright with your physician, dentist, optometrist, etc – otherwise your own body will betray you. But there are other places in society where you can get a rest from being honest:

a. Facebook. No-one really expects to see a 100% honest day on Facebook. There are so many political, religious, and social memes out there just waiting for shares, and most of them are either too good to be true or too true to be good – the former ones outnumber the latter…

b. Instagram. You are encouraged to make things look better than they really are to attract the interest of people who want to attract your interest with their visual lies. Fortunately it makes a nice change from Pokemon and people are less likely to step into traffic while looking at Instagram. Unless it makes them really depressed.

c. The pub. Well, if you can’t tell lies in a place that serves diluted alcohol, what’s the point of going there?

d. Political rallies. Whichever side you are on and whomever you are against, you are never expected to be unbiased and fair at a political rally. You are there to root for your side and howl the rest down. You are often allowed to hold up offensive signs. You are never required to dress well. You are permitted to espouse the foulest creeds and howl the vilest insults. If it had nap time, it would be like kindergarten.

e. Religious meetings. You are required to be honest to God and honest to yourself, but everyone else there can be played like a harmonica. Profess anything that they want you to profess and damn anything that they demand you to damn. Recite creeds, prayers, anthems, and shopping lists if that is the custom of the place. Bob, weave, dance, sing, and perform any gestures that seem to be required.

It’ll all be the same thing. Would I lie to you?





The Retirement Scoreboard – Part Eight – The Glorious Privilege

Everyone seems to be using the term ” privilege ” these days. It has become a shuttlecock to be batted about during political badminton games of all sorts. I am horribly glad I do not live in academia as I am sure that it would be thrown at me daily.

But I am delighted to be able to say that I do enjoy a privilege in retirement that I probably never thought about whilst employed – the privilege of telling the truth.

Honesty is not a privilege, we read. It is a basic requirement of civil life -a cornerstone of philosophy and religion – a basic tenet of everything from the Boy Scouts to Buddhism.

Bullshit. The same people who brate for honesty press religious myth and political expediency upon us just as hard, and have shaved, whittled, and lubricated honesty to fit their own mechanisms. Diogenes might just as well be going around with a pocket LED torch…

Honesty from a politician or lawyer is like gold, or platinum, or diamonds…all the more valuable for the rarity. In a business figure, whether low or high in a company, it is also a variable virtue. In the digital age it might even be a virtual virtue – if it disappears you have to boot up the businessman again. Now I could get into that.

A retired person has little value in business – or to business. Their influence thereby diminishes, and by the time most people retire they have learned to avoid the law anyway. So they are suddenly free to indulge themselves in honesty. Indeed it can become either their most endearing or most fearsome feature. With a little planning and foresight, the retiree can decide the exact mixture of these two qualities and apply it where needed.

In our next installment of the retirement scoreboard I’ll show you how to become the honest darling of the neighbourhood*.

*Pick your neighbourhood wisely…