Sunday, September 11, 2016

900 - The Authenticity Trap

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #265) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:

authenticity, talk, love, doubt, pain, tilt,
break, gossip, meet, wild, listen, lean

The Authenticity Trap

Do we want it?  
I mean really want it?
Consider when you meet someone 
In the passageway at work
And ask “How are you?”
Do you really want to know?
Do you want to listen to them talk 
For ages, 
Long, long mind numbing ages,
As they describe in infinite detail
Their love life,
Their doubts,
Their pains,
Mostly their pains,
But sometimes 
They just want 
To gossip
About, say, the depressingly 
Lean typist at reception.  
“It’s not natural. She must be sick, don’t you think?”
And there you are trapped in the dullness
Of this person’s authenticity.
Because that’s the bind with authenticity:
You have to accept that that is who that person is.
The real, dull, authentic them.  
And while your mind turns to porridge
And your wildly misfiring synapses scream ‘tilt-tilt-tilt’,
Like a pinball on speed,
And implore you to break away,
Social protocol says you shouldn’t.
But somehow you do.
Desperately, you remember something important.
It’s called self-preservation.
So, when you ask “How are you?”
And they reply “Not bad”.
Be grateful.
It’s not authentic
But it's good.
© J Cosmo Newbery 2016

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  1. I once worked with a woman who answered the 'how are you question?' in excruciating detail. Sometimes a small lie is something to be grateful for.

  2. Being a truthful person I hate lying, so what should I do? I stumble along, my head and back aches, and am bent almost double and you want me to answer truthfully? OK I will, "I hope you feel exactly as I do when you are my age!" Perhaps the idea would be to talk about weather, sport or politics instead. Better still greet an older person with how good it is see them again and they will say "Yes, I'm still here".

    1. The opposite actually but glad you are still here.

  3. cool advice :)

  4. The real, dull, authentic them - oh yes.. there is never a short supply.. a clever meeting at the water cooler and i am glad we are all here..dull or otherwise

  5. What a great and grating poem on the theme of grating answers to mundane questions which resound with authenticity but result in painful realities. I'll take the IV (or the kool aid; leave Jo home).


  6. Sound advice. Always stay away from water coolers!

  7. And what about the authenticity of the individual who asks the question, wanting only a formulaic response? Why ask the question at all?


  8. That is true Cosmo! One asks but not to the point of wanting to know. The question and the response are more or less standard and expected.



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