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Ostomy Memories of Honesty


HONESTY MAY MAKE LIFE MORE VIRTUOUS, but it also makes it more difficult.  By itself, it won’t get you a loaf of bread, and if you really want to tick off a guy with a fragile ego, try telling him the truth.  Then duck, you sucker.  Everyone says they want to hear the truth, but do they?  “You’re an idiot.”  “You’re fat and ugly.”  “You lost.”  No one wants to hear that, though it may be the truth.  So we lie, or we hedge, or we avoid, or we pretend (a ‘white’ lie).  We laugh about how honest little kids can be; they have yet to learn the value, or the occasional need, for a bit of untruth.  Some adults have held on to that honesty trait to the point that they can be brutally honest, and seemingly enjoy the brutal part as much as the honesty part.  Then there are the sickos who gravitate more naturally toward dishonesty.  Can you guess who said “[h]onesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty”?  Nope, not Trump.  It was Plato.  There are times, of course, when we really want honesty, even if it hurts, from the professionals in our lives, like the doctor, the CPA, or the lawyer.  Then there’s the joke about the doctor who gave a guy six months to live.  When six months was up, and the guy hadn’t paid the doctor’s fee, he gave him another six months.

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Hello HenryM.

Once again you give us an interesting perspective on a subject that maybe warrants a bit more in-depth analysis. 

In your previous post you rightly address the problems of distorted personal perspectives upon a past  which may always be open to interpretation. 

In this post you choose some examples of ‘truth’ that seem to indicate a personal (biased) perspective rather than an objective truth. ’Idiocy’, ‘Fat/ugly’ and even ‘losing’  are all, to some extent judgment calls, which should perhaps be preceded with “ in my opinion!”.  To me, these types of expressions of ‘truths’ are often from people who are deliberately or unintentionally being abusive (bullying) to whoever their remarks are aimed at.
Someone once said that ‘ If you haven’t got anything nice to say – then don’t say it!’. 

In many of your posts you mention politicians. In our family this breed of people are a laughing stock, as they appear to ‘believe’ some of the absolute rubbish they spout as their version of the ‘truth’. 

From my own perspective, ‘truth’ is a somewhat naive concept, as there tend to be so many perspectives on any particular issue, that a single defined ‘truth’ becomes a rare commodity.

In trying to come to terms with my own perspectives, which, of course, I often believe to be ‘true’. I came up with a rhyme about reflexive sensitivity, which I will share with you below:

Best wishes



Reflexive sensitivity
is what goes on inside of me.
Things about myself I hate
tend to carry much more weight.

I’m sensitised to things I’ve known.
and things that I don’t want to own.
These things are still a part of me
but things that I don’t want to be.

I kick myself for every trait
that I have got, yet I still hate.
I hate the irritating way
they’ll reappear from day to day.

Certain things in me provoke
crass reactions to other folk.
These will act just like a trigger
making faults seem so much bigger.

If I don’t see these traits in me,
I’m blind to reflexivity.
It’s other’s show that they’re the best
at all those things that I detest.

Myself and them are just the same
and yet it’s them I tend to blame.
For I deny and won’t admit
that me and them’s a perfect fit.

My mind plays tricks and it plays games
and so I call the other’s names.
All my scorn and my contemn
deflects from me and onto them.

It doesn’t matter what folks say
I won’t accept this as ‘my’ way.
So I remain oblivious
to that which is so obvious.

                                                B. Withers  2012

                 (in: A Rhyming Cookbook.  2013)

Reply to Bill

Especially loved this one Bill.  

Somehow it hits home with me in my daily struggle  to not be judgmental.    Although these words would rarely come out of my mouth - they still reside in my head.  Thanks for sharing.  jb 


Although at times it may hurt those close to us, I always tell the truth. 

Reply to Bill

I'm sure Donald Trump would appreciate your view that losing is a judgment call rather than a hard, cold, statistically verifiable fact.


Would it be safe to assume that more honesty would prevail in societies that had less financial corruption? An international organization publishes a Corruption Perception Index showing corruption in every country of the world. Denmark, Finland. and New Zealand are at the top and are the least financially corrupt according to them. The country where I reside because fate and destiny decided so permanently occupies the lower rungs. Once I took a group of foreign investors to see the minister for investments for investments in the mining sector, helluva a lot of gold and copper lodged in those mountains. A landed gentleman he served nice coffee and pastries then for the next half an hour fiddled with the knobs on the TV in his office, he wanted to see a cricket match. He then called in an assistant who fiddled some more. It later transpired that he had a different group of investors in mind. Amazingly, everyone found it hilarious, my investors were good sports and laughed over it back at the hotel, my friend who had arranged the meeting thought it was funny and finally I had a good laugh too. 

Reply to Ritz

I can attest to that Ritz!  I just recently reconciled with a dear friend I have known for 60 years.  She hadn't spoken to me in nearly two years, because I was honest with her about what I thought of her behavior during the early days of Covid, when she chose to ignore the parts of the mandates that she found inconvenienced her unduly or put a cramp in her lifestyle.  I thought she was being selfish and irresponsible, but it was pretty difficult to deliver that message in a kind and diplomatic way, try as I did!  She has finally forgiven me for my honesty!  Would I do it again?  Yes.


Reply to HenryM

Hello HenryM.

With regard to what Donald Trump may or may not think about my view on ‘losing’:  I do believe he would not have a clue about my perspective on the subject , even if he was willing to listen (which I doubt!)

I feel sure I have touched on this subject before , but just in case it was omitted from our conversations I will repeat it, if only because it offers another opportunity of sharing a rhyme. 
In modern societies, the context of ‘losing’ is usually coupled with someone else ‘winning’. This would be in a framework of an achievement  ‘game’ – usually to do with some kind of dominance factor.  
Within these ‘games’ the ‘winner’ can be viewed as deliberately manipulating to make someone else ‘lose’.  Quite often, this happens when the potential ‘loser’ doesn’t even know they are part of a game-playing scenario. (There is a sense in which Donald Trump would probably know about this strategy as he seems to live his life by the ethos of such behaviour).

This type of dominance behaviour I would label as ‘bullying’, and therefore I would not view the target as a ‘loser’ but as a ‘victim’(of a possible ‘crime’ against humanity).

‘Losing’ is also often associated with so-called sporting activities where people actually volunteer to be part of a ‘competition’, in the full knowledge that they might be a ‘runner-up’.  This I can understand, even though in many sports, the competition is ‘rigged’ so that the strongest, or more adept, will be likely to win ( & therefore make someone else ‘lose’).  

I actually enjoy watching some sports, but my interest lies not in who ‘wins’, but in who (of the competitors) achieve their PB. (Personal Best)  This is a statistic that has often been left out of the publicity aspect when reporting on such activities.

Whilst this type of competitive behaviour has become ‘normalised’ and ‘enjoyed’ by many participants and spectators, it nonetheless carries with it the philosophical and (less than ethical)  elements of dominance and bullying that underpins much of the unacceptable behaviour that seem to permeate almost every aspect of  modern societies.  (Again, Donald Trump gives the impression that this is the sort of behaviour that he understands and enjoys).

However, individuals such as myself, view the ‘game-playing’ scenario as an abhorrent and unnecessary form of bullying that should be criminalised rather than applauded and rewarded.

This is why I think that people like Donald Trump would be unlikely to appreciate my views on the subject.

Just to round up this very brief exposition of my much lengthier thoughts on the subject, I will leave you with a rhyme which indicates how I deal with ‘game-playing’ in a way where my game-playing strategy is to deliberately ‘gift’ the appearance of ‘success’ to the opposition. This way they think they have ‘won’, and I come away knowing that I have ‘achieved my goal’.( which, by my definition, cannot be defined as ‘losing’.

Of course, not many people will agree with this perspective, but this might be because they are blind ‘followers’ of societal 'fashion', rather than striving to be independent thinkers.  

Best wishes



Winners always think they’ve won
when once the game they play is done.
For them the secret of success
must be to win and to impress.

It is their focus and their aim
to be the winner in their game.
These people are not altruists
for them, no other game exists.

I understand this sentiment
but find it an impediment.
For winning means that someone’s lost
and therein lays the hidden cost.

For me there is a subtle charm
to live my life and do no harm.
So, why would I put someone down
or be the cause of someone’s frown.

There is a certain satisfaction
that can flow from selfless action.
So, I have made a specialty
of losing games with subtlety.

When people start to play a game
they think opponents play the same.
They will assume ‘all’ want to win
within their game or discipline.

But I don’t want to win at all
for that might make another small.
So, if I am obliged to play
I contribute a different way.

I make out that I play real hard,
but it is really a charade.
My aims within the games I choose
is to make sure that I ‘lose’.

                                                      B. Withers 2012  

                         (In: A Rhyming Cookbook.   2013)

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