LC Van Savage
The Occasional Little White One Is A Good Thing
About a year ago I began doing phone dates with my grandchildren. On certain days at certain times I call them individually, and we have great chats. They tell me about their lives, I donít tell them about mine, they tell me what theyíre thinking about, I donít tell them what Iím thinking about, they tell me what they want, I tell them they can have it, and so it goes. I love those calls. They are loving, sweet and nicely brief.
A few weeks ago I was chatting with our #2 son Markís daughter Darby (7PM Tuesdays) and thought it was going pretty well when she suddenly cut into my words with, "Gramma V., Iím boring on talking to you," and she hung up.
Well, there you go. After Iíd recovered from roaring laughter, I began to feel a little jealous of Darby and her ilk---thatíd be anyone around 5 years old--- because they can still get away with saying whatever is on their minds and they donít have to worry about consequences. Well maybe thatís not completely true. At five, life is all about consequences, mostly involving those two universal words; time out.
But kids are however, able to speak their minds with complete clarity, honesty and non-embarrassment. Darby was boring on talking to me and thus quickly terminated the conversation, returning to her more important five year old play stuff. I was left wishing I could say things like that to people Iím boring on talking to, but of course I cannot.
As adults, we unfortunately are really not permitted to say such things, even when we feel them. But I for one, have never been a big fan of total honesty. At least not all the time, especially when itís brutal honesty. I have acquaintances, for example, who take it upon themselves to say hurtful and cruel things to people, and when queried as to why they do that, their response is, "Well, you wouldnít have wanted me to be less than totally honest now, would you?"
Well, yeah, I would. These folks do their total honesty bit by saying things like, "Hi Mabel. Mother McCree woman, youíre really packiní on the pounds, arncha?" or, "Hello there Mr. Walters. Too bad about yer poor sainted wife, bless her soul. But she was gettiní on in years anyway, right?, and you wunta wanted her to live forever now, wudja?" or "Where in the name of all thatís sacred did you ever get that awful dress?"
Thereís a time for all things, and for creative, kindhearted white lying, the time is always. "You look beautiful in that dress," you say to a dear old woman while fighting down nausea caused by the dressís horrid patterns and repulsive colors.
We all know people who proudly purport to be "totally honest," certain that this characteristic gives them license to tell you things about yourself youíd rather not know or had convinced yourself werenít noticeable, like your hair dye, new teeth, plastic surgery, shoe lifts, hair plugs, implants, explants, enhancements, exhancements, corset, botox, and all like that. These brutally honest people say brutal things all under the guise of "doing the right thing, being totally honest." Sure, and then they go home and bootleg their palís new software.
So itís clear, at least to me, that sometimes total honesty hurts and we maybe ought to learn to use it creatively and kindly. I wonder if those who "practice" it ruthlessly know it hurts. Alas, I suspect they do and donít care.
I donít know what the cut-off age is for when we have to cease innocently speaking the complete truth as we see it. Darby my darling girlchick, go right on telling me youíre boring on talking to me if you are, up to around maybe age sixteen. After that, Iím gonna have to ask you to --- well, just indulge me, OK?