Tell Me Something Good
“Apollonius of Tyana: Tomorrow will be like today, and the day after tomorrow will be like the day before yesterday. I see your remaining days as a tedious collection of hours full of useless vanities. You will think no new thoughts. You will forget what little you have known. Older you will become, but not wiser. Stiffer, but not more dignified. Childless you are, and childless you will remain. Of that suppleness you once commanded in your youth, of that strange simplicity which once attracted men to you, neither endures, nor shall you recapture them.
Mrs. Cassin: You’re a mean, ugly man!
Apollonius of Tyana: Mirrors are often ugly and mean. When you die, you will be buried and forgotten, and that is all. And for all the good or evil, creation or destruction, your living might have accomplished, you might just as well never have lived at all.”
— The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney
Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear, or do you want me to tell you the truth as I know it? Most people don’t want to hear the truth, no matter what they might tell you. They want you to validate what they already think. “Mitt Camp” fortune tellers in the carnivals have made their living doing exactly that for hundreds of years. So have the “death talkers” on television who claim to talk to the dead… your auntie Jane or my uncle Ralph will always be right there on call to tell you something good from the vast beyond. Some of these people can be pretty slick, and some of them are about as believable as a lottery ticket with the guaranteed winning numbers for half off the ticket price… this is actually a scam that some people fall for, believe it or not. All of these “feel good” scams are geared toward those who need to be told something good, so that they know that everything will be ok.
Life isn’t like that. Sometimes things WILL be ok in the end, and other times, there’s going to be hell to pay, and you’re going to get the bill. Seeking answers from someone who has no “skin in the game” doesn’t really make much sense. At best, they’re going to try to mollify your senses with platitudes or mitigations, because it will ease your mind and give you some sense of release from the nagging doubts and fears that accompany every physical or mental trauma. Usually, you’re going to have to wait it out like everyone else and trust the opinion of professionals in whatever field your current dilemma falls into, and really, isn’t listening to the doctor tell you that he does or doesn’t think that lump is malignant a lot more valid than Aunt Becky’s anecdotal evidence of “the guy she once heard about who worked at the hardware store and thought he had cancer, but it really turned out to be a hive of bees in his thigh?”
You want me to tell you what you want to hear, but like Apollonius, I just don’t work that way. If I respect you enough to even give you my opinion, trust that it will be one that I believe myself!