Friday, February 18, 2011

Just what does that mean, "say what you mean?"

I loathe hypocrisy of in all of its manifestations. For one thing it wastes such an awful lot of time. When you say one thing, but mean another, all that time you took saying it was wasted. Nothing was accomplished, and you will never get back those seconds or minutes (or hours - for some reason hypocrisy appears to lend itself to long-windedness). And that time is precious. I knew a very brave woman, who four days before she died of breast cancer, was at her oncologist's office begging for one more round of chemo, which she was too weak to receive. She wanted one more day, one more week with her family, whatever time the treatment could buy her. I wish that I could have given to her all the time wasted by people who are not saying what they mean. She would not have squandered it.

For another thing, it feels an awful lot like being lied to, hypocrisy. Take your pick of hypo-Christian preachers who preach endlessly about the sins of the flesh, all the while reveling in those same sins after hours. Not only do they waste the time of the people to whom they minister, they take their money too. That's lying and stealing. (Tithing is a racket - of that I am certain.) Lord don't even get me started on the pedophile priests, who lie, steal and maim. They destroy the very souls they vow to save.

I will admit I have trouble with this good idea sometimes, but not out of hypocrisy. Sarcasm is the art of saying the opposite of what you mean, but saying it in such a snide way, that everyone knows what you are actually trying to say. I am a big fan of sarcasm, though I concede that not everyone is, and I suspect I have lost the opportunity to make close friends of some people who didn't appreciate my sarcasm. (A really good sense of humor is a rare and wonderful thing, and worth taking the time to cultivate.) I have spent a good part of my life trying to tone down my sarcasm so as not to offend (in other words, learning to shut the f*ck up.) I've made good progress. There is work yet to do. But I do say what I mean.

If I say I will be there at 8 o'clock, I will be there at 8 o'clock, not 8:15, not twenty past. Your time is precious too, and I will not waste it for you. Not deliberately anyway. (Of course if you are reading this, I have wasted a bit already - or not.) If I say I support you 100%, I support you 100%, not 90% to your face and the other 10% telling folks behind your back that you'll never succeed. If I say I love you, believe it. I would not waste my time or yours saying that and not meaning it.

Benjamin Hoff in The Tao of Pooh very correctly states that you cannot save time, you can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly.

Spend it well. It is precious, and its quantity is numbered.

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