Day 357: Honesty Can Be An Interesting Policy

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Don't expect a lot from the coffee. After all, they share a garden cafe with Starbucks!

“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” George Burns

There are several signs around town that amuse me.  This one is quite honest.  Basically, if you want coffee, they have it, but it’s not their specialty.

Sometimes I like honesty.  I’ve found it interesting to listen to stories told by different people.  When I was about 30, a friend of mine died, and his wife, a great story-teller, began to give me the details.  Each time she told the story, it was different.  I found myself completely frustrated, because she was still working out how to tell the story in the best light, and I wanted the real facts of how my friend died.

Stories, though believed to be true by the teller, are usually told in one of these ways.

1. An Honest Story – I’m not a great story-teller, probably because I tell them as true to the fact as possible.  Facts are important to me, and I suppose I don’t like hearing a story that leaves me wondering about its truth.  Inspirational true stories, like the story of Helen Keller, tend to motivate me.

2. An Embellished Story – The great story-tellers tend to stretch the truth.  For some, it’s not that they mean to stretch the truth, it’s just that if the story keeps to the heart of the truth, the details don’t matter to them. That’s fine for me, as long as I know it’s embellished–and I usually do.  I’m closely related to a great story-teller, and it works for me when I know how to separate my emotions from the story.  When I listen to these kinds of  stories, I try to think about the purpose.  Often the story-teller wants to play on our emotions in order to help us see our need for change.  If these stories help us to make needed changes, I can agree they are needed “truth” in our lives.

3. An Honestly Detailed Story – Some people cannot tell stories because they give so many details that they have forgotten the story part.  In essence, we never hear the meaningful part of the story because we lost interest when the story-teller and the spouse got into an argument about a detail.  Yet there are times, like when someone dies, that the correctly presented details are very important.  In these cases, the more honestly detailed the story, the more it is appreciated.

So what kind of honesty will it be?  I guess it’s a matter of mood or need.  If we want to hear a heart warming story, we’ll choose a different kind of person than if we’ve been diagnosed with a dreaded disease.  Children instinctively know who to go to for fun and who to go to for truth. Many stories seem to have truth, but the kind of truth we need might change based on our situation.

What kind of honest story do you tell?

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7 responses »

  1. Great minds think a like, we have the same layout. I really like what you do daily and congrats to you for staying committed on your daily postings. I have nominated you for The Kreativ Blogger Award you can find the rules on my page! Congrats to you and keep doing what you are doing!

  2. Insightful post.

    And timely.

    I do not like art for arts sake.

    I do not like historical details without context.

    In my grad school program, history profs used to get into fist fights with literature profs over this very question. No kidding, there was actual bloodshed.

    Okay, made that up.

    But, ahem, that’s right, I really do have an MA, wussup.

    Anyway, the professors made peace, and one history professor talked about looking for big things in small places. By tracing the everyday details in your own backyard, you could discover universal truths, the kind you might expect in a novel.

    Granted, we were studying Florida, where the truth is always stranger than fiction.

    No, really. Google it.

    We had to be careful in that class. If one trivial detail seemed off, he would sprout wings and start hovering around the room.

    How do you like me now?

    • I think you’re great and I’m glad you like to get the details straight. I find it funny how some don’t seem to care about details. They do entertain me, but then I don’t know when to believe them! Merry Christmas, Justin!

  3. Wow. Just found your site.
    Right now, I am a freelance reporter for a small paper. It is a challenge to report the honest truth when you know thousands will read it, either checking for the truth or else trusting it is the truth. (Which is carier, I do not know!)
    I tend to soft-peddle it, ignoring ugly details that would only lead to unneeded pain, but my boss loves a GREAT, EMBARRASSING HEADLINE to drive sales. Sigh.
    Compound that with the fact that I used to write only instructional pieces that were laden with my opinion. Ha.
    I keep asking myself what is truth.
    When I was a child, I had to memorize a catechism and part of it went this way:
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, nor defame our neighbor, but defend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.”
    Whew.
    I believe that, still.
    So when the school board finds a couple of ways to save $12,000, and also, unrelated, suspends a student for 3 days, I want the big money good news headline, but the boss thinks the big deal is their needing and daring to suspend a child. And I think the discipline of suspension is enough for one child to bear, for now.
    Probably all true, but who should win? What is truth?
    I love what I have read, here, so far. Your writing style will improve mine, in a short time, I know, so I will subscribe and read you as daily as you can manage to appear. Thanks. 😉

    • Oh, It’s so wonderful to meet you and to start reading your posts. I’ll be following you this year! I know you have to tell the truth in the slant of what is wanted to sell Newspapers. I actually appreciate how the papers have to back up what they say. It makes reading much more enjoyable for me.

      I love that you stand for what you believe. We too homeschooled here in Thailand for about 8 years. Now, I’m teaching at a school here and finding a great ministry. It is truly a joy!

      More later… I’m so glad to have met you here at the end of this PostADay Challenge. I’ve met so many nice people. What a real blessing…..

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