The Great Masquerade
During this Halloween
Season, we masquerade. So, there is no better time to talk about the
greatest of all masqueraders.
But, who is it, this
greatest of masqueraders?
Why, it is The Truth,
If you should ask how
The Truth can be a masquerader, then The Truth has you fooled, as he did
me. The Truth fooled me for many years, and maybe almost all of my
life, as time will tell.
Now, let me tell you
why, and it will make sense to you, if you can be open-minded enough to
The Truth is a
jokester, or a liar. For, each time, he comes to me in the exact
appearance of my desire. I later discover that he wore a mask.
The Truth laughs at me, and I am his fool.
But now that I
understand the rules of his game, I am the better at his
Such as it is with a
game of champions, the harder I play, the harder he plays -- step for
step. The more effort I expend to remove his mask, the more tightly
he holds it. And then, for each layer of mask I remove, feeling
accomplished and tired, I again discover that there is, even yet, another
layer. And, The Truth laughs at me. And I am his fool.
But, game on,
Truth. I contend.
Let me give you an
example. This morning I looked in the mirror. I thought,
"well, I look okay for a 50 year old." Now, let me tell you
the truth: if I were 25 and woke up from a long dream and looked at myself
in the mirror as I look today, I would scream. Well, you say,
"but, you are a 50 year old." Aha! I thought that as
well. The Truth got me. But, as much as it hurt, I caught
him. (That is The Truth's weapon, you know, it is easy to just
concede for the mask, and to be The Truth's fool. And, better yet, it
is comfortable. All we need to do is to deafen our ears so that we do
not hear him laugh at us.)
But, back at you,
Truth: I know that the reality is that, when I was 25, I looked like I did
because I suffered through not eating fattening foods, not eating late at
night, measuring my cereal portions in the morning, jogging and exercising
regularly. I did what it took. I endured the pain that produced
Let us play on.
With some harder thinking -- a confession of sorts -- I then said to
myself, "Well, maybe I don't look that good, but I don't have time
anymore for that effort, because, as a responsible adult, I prioritize on
earning a living to provide for my family." Well, at least now I
am in the game. Do you see why?
My first way of
thinking denied the reality, but created a relative standard that allowed
my reality to fit nicely into it. "For a 50 year old, I
look good." Wow, for a time, I felt very good about
With my second way of
thinking, I accepted the harsh reality, but I excused it with a comfortable
rationalization. "Okay, I look like heck, but that is life."
At least by accepting the reality, I stepped up the game.
But, sorry, Truth, I do
not just intend to play this game, I intend to win. Truth, I will
have you. So, I think some more:
"Yes, yes, yes, I
admit it, I confess: I look like heck." Pure and simple.
That hurts, such as it does, I suppose, for admitting addictions.
And, yes, now I've got
The Truth pinned. He's down.
But, do not let me fool
you. The game is not over. In fact, the game is just
beginning. The Truth is downright nasty.
Now that I've finally
admitted to myself that I look like heck, do you know what The Truth does
to me now? He puts a TV commercial in front of me that tells me getting
into shape will be easy. Better, The Truth tells me that it will be
inexpensive and fun. It must be true. Everyone in the
commercial is happy. Forget that they are selling something for their
own advantage. Seeing is believing.
So, what does any of
this have to do with America?
If we do not know, The
Truth gladly tells us. Do we hear him? We are the greatest
nation from the beginning of time, greater than Greece and Rome.
Those were not proud nations, such as we. American Pride will carry
us through everything, even if Proverbs and Aesop say it comes before a
But, Truth, we stand
and contend. We will have you, Truth. We read your books.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
We know that what makes
America great is traditional humble discipline and work. We do what
it takes. It worked before. In this nation of freedom, nothing
is free. When we want to improve our condition in life, the truth is
pure and simple: our work is what works. It is true that greatness is
a gift to those who apply the rule and work for it.
The joke is on you,
Truth. Trick or treat.