Skip to main content

Ignorance is bliss

Not being what one would call an ideal student, my report cards were usually less than impressive. So under-whelming were these progress reports that the bonus toy surprise in each package was a day’s worth of queasy feelings. Report card days were when I had to own up to all the schoolwork I had not been doing that semester. Often I already knew how bad the report would be long before receiving it. Sometimes, I’d even disappoint myself with lower-than-expected performance. Even though my low grades were disappointing to my father, our true conflict centered on honesty—my complete and total lack of it. Every morning and evening up to and including report card day, my father would ask me if I was keeping up with my schoolwork. My responses were varied but always full of assurances that things were on the up and up. The unease I felt riding my bike home with a report card was not dissimilar to what you might feel handing your executioner his axe.

Remember the first time someone told you how glue was made? How about the day you discovered what was really in a hot dog? While the verdict is still out on the terrestrial origins of a chicken nugget, are you truly interested in the answer? In this age of free information, we may find there may actually be too much of a good thing. Some mysteries were best left unsolved.

This line of reasoning deterred my father’s interest in my scholastic performance as much as, “no expectations yield no disappointments” brought him comfort. That I had falsely elevated my father’s expectations all semester made things even less comfortable. My comfort, it turns out, was directly tied to the report card that exposed my dishonesty. Somehow, you always end up having to sit after a spanking. In my case, it was sitting (or trying to) at his desk, breathing in staccato and tasked with the completion of all the schoolwork I lied about doing in the first place.

Each semester in my early elementary experience would be a repeat of the one before: many weeks of smooth (dishonest) sailing and then report card day when my house of cards would tumble painfully onto my backside for telling lies. It wasn’t until I discovered the ability to hide the truth in other people’s assumptions that was finally able to get away with anything. Life was good.

Many years later, my father and I were in Hong Kong together. He was teaching some classes there and his students decided to take us to an ‘authentic’ Chinese restaurant for dim sum. I found myself enjoying most of was brought by the table. As my hunger gave way to curiosity, I began to ask what everything was made of. Ninety percent of the time, I was asked what it tasted like in response. Somewhat surprised that it was just chicken, I’d wolf down each dish with gusto. As I was leaving the restaurant, an English fellow gently grabbed my arm. “You know,” he whispered and leaned in closer, “that wasn’t chicken.”

I never did find out exactly what I had consumed and at this point I’m not sure I ever really want to know. Since that time, however, I hold the truth in very high regard. Every time I’m tempted to mislead someone I can’t help but think:

If it tastes like chicken…

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Story Problems and Escape Pods

This is a continuation of a previous post. If you'd like to read it first, click here.

Danny managed to sit in his seat just as the last bell in the school chimed. He barely avoided another tardy by bolting down the hall while ducking under the little windows in every classroom door. His dad had dropped his mother and sister off first before driving like a crazy person to get him to school. Like a scene straight out of an action film, the van had rocked back and forth it dodged cars, swung around corners and squealed tires. When his father skidded up to the school, he yelled, “GO! GO! GO!”

"Danny run!" shouted Molly from the school's main door. Molly was Danny's best friend and the one always helping to keep him out of trouble. "You'll be late again if you don't hurry!" Danny turned to say goodbye to his dad but the van was already screeching around the corner and headed out of sight. Quickly he started running toward Molly. She waved him down the…

The Light

The Light By Nabih Saliba
I light the path for all to see They shall not trip because of me How great I am that darkness flee I do all this without a fee
And so it went each night for lamp Who proudly thought itself a champ But then one evening came a tramp His clothes were worn, and torn, and damp
He staggered left, he stumbled right He should not try to walk at night The drunkard fell into the light Thrown from the lamp with disdain bright
Why should I help this man below? He’s far beneath me don’t you know His lesser breeding clearly show This beggar can’t deserve my glow
And so the lamp let darkness fall On he who lay there in a ball As shadows grew both thin and tall The lamp stood off for one and all
Then suddenly the night time fled

It's Prime Time

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate. This means that I might make a tiny bit of money when products and services I recommend actually drive people to Amazon and make a purchase. That being said, it doesn't happen enough to afford me a cup of coffee but I'm enough of a fan that I keep spreading the good word anyway. Truth is, I recommend the company whenever I can simply because it's rapidly becoming indispensable in the quest to have more stuff.

What a remarkable world we're now living in! I can find some of the most esoteric, random things anywhere on the planet and, with the click of a button, have it arrive at my doorstep in around three days. Stop and think about that for a moment. In some cases, that delivery time can be within the hour. Amazon has done quite a bit to change the way we think about shopping. They have largely changed the way we behave as consumers and radically shifted customer expectations in ways too numerous to get into…