Truth is a dangerous mistress.

I made it through to Friday. I think it was touch and go for a while! I am now a licenced driver, which is a scary prospect to consider, but it’s not my fault the DVLA have seen fit to unleash me on the roads.

I wanted to share a passage from one of my favourite books ever, Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. If you haven’t read it, it is really short, it is beautifully funny and it is just a wonderful book.

I came across this same passage on someone’s blog, but I can’t remember whose, so apologies if it was yours and I am not crediting you. I love this passage. It is about truth and it is so true. I feel a lot like Doc as I live my life, because deep down I know that most people don’t like to hear the truth. But I am like an open book, I don’t know how to be anything other than honest. Which is why I go for reserved and taciturn to protect others from my truths. Sometimes living a quiet untruth is tiring though.

Here is the passage:

A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn’t say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn’t like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn’t shave. Once when Doc was at the University of Chicago he had love trouble and he had worked too hard. He thought it would be nice to take a very long walk. He put on a little knapsack and he walked through Indiana and Kentucky and North Carolina and Georgia clear to Florida. He walked among farmers and mountain people, among the swamp people and fishermen. And everywhere people asked him why he was walking through the country.

Because he loved true things he tried to explain. He said he was nervous and besides he wanted to see the country, smell the ground and look at the grass and birds and trees, to savor the country, and there was no other way to do it save on foot. And people didn’t like him for telling the truth. They scowled, or shook and tapped their heads, they laughed as though they knew it was a lie and they appreciated a liar. And some, afraid for their daughters or their pigs, told him to move on, to get going, just not to stop near their place if he knew what was good for him.

And so he stopped trying to tell the truth. He said he was doing it on a bet—that he stood to win a hundred dollars. Everyone liked him then and believed him. They asked him in to dinner and gave him a bed and they put lunches up for him and wished him good luck and thought he was a hell of a fine fellow. Doc still loved true things but he knew it was not a general love and it could be a very dangerous mistress.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tiah
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 13:46:39

    Congrads on passing!!!!


  2. Damaria Senne
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 18:44:14

    Congratulations on passing your driver’s licence. Finally it’s over.


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