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Welcome to the Wednesday Coffee Hour here at Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can talk about what’s going on in our worlds. BlueJessamine, your usual Wednesday host, is unavailable today so I’m filling in for her.

Everyone is welcome to discuss all topics of conversation and to post photos.

I am normally an “honest to a fault” sort of person. If someone asks for my opinion about something, I give it even if it might not be what that person wants to hear. Obviously, I try not to go around deliberately hurting people’s feelings but I generally believe that when it comes to certain life situations (for example: doing your taxes, testifying in a court of law, doing performance reviews, breaking up with a boyfriend, etc.), honesty is the best policy.

For some reason, I think it’s especially important to be truthful at work. I have never called in sick when I wasn’t and I have never billed the office for travel expenses that weren’t work-related. But, I have to admit that the dishonesty that bothers me the most in the workplace is seeing people agreeing with or flattering a boss when you know they don’t mean it. I have a coworker who constantly does this and it’s hard to trust anything else he says because he’s such an annoying kiss-ass phony around the boss.

Lately, though, I’ve been questioning how important the truth is in other areas of my life.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine gave me a bag containing two of the largest avocados I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not exaggerating. They were almost as big as footballs. My friend had just returned from visiting his mother in California and had harvested the avocados from a tree in her back yard. We talked on the phone a few days after he gave them to me and he asked me how I had liked them. Without even hesitating, I told him that they’d been wonderful and I thanked him again for being so thoughtful and remembering how much I worship the fruit from the tropical American lauraceous tree, Persea Americana.  It never even occurred to me to tell him the truth – which was that both of those perfect looking specimens had been as bland as they were gorgeous.  Not telling him the truth in this particular instance seemed to be the right thing to do especially since he had told me he had carried them on his lap on the plane ride home because he didn’t want them to get bruised in his checked bag. Anyone who goes to that kind of trouble to do something nice doesn’t deserve to have his kindness go unappreciated.

Another friend of mine is a woman who is a lot older than me. She used to be my supervisor until she retired a few years ago and I have considered her one of my mentors for most of my working life.  We meet for lunch about once a month and at one of our usual lunch meetings a few months ago she greeted me by holding her face out toward me and asking, “Well, do you notice anything?”  I didn’t know what she was talking about but since I know she’s obsessed with her skin and is always having moles removed from her neck, I assumed she’d just had something like that done. However, I couldn’t see any obvious signs of that as I examined her neck and face. She waited about 5 minutes before she finally said, “Can’t you tell that I just had a facelift?” I think she knew by my gasp and wide-eyed look of shock that I really had not been able to see any evidence of something that drastic. Naturally, after that, I really started to scrutinize her face and was able to see some faint bruising and slight swelling under her carefully applied make-up. She even pulled her hair away from her ears so that I could see the horrible stitches on her scalp just past her hairline on both sides of her face. As fascinated as I was by the details of her surgery and the pictures on her iPhone of each day of her recuperation, I was so glad I had been able to be completely honest when she’d first asked me if I could tell if something was different. Later, I wondered to myself if I would have been able to respond in a tactful and sensitive way if I’d been able to see an obviously pulled, “wind tunnel” expression on her face. Of course, just because she didn’t have any distorted facial features doesn’t mean that, the whole time she was telling me about how turning 65 had made her realize that she didn’t want to look “old,” I wasn’t thinking that I would much rather feel vital and healthy (and stick to a diet and exercise regimen to stay that way) than have a smooth face when I’m that age. Definitely, there are times when some truths are best left unsaid.

So, if I'm not being too intrusive, tell us the truth, what’s for supper tonight?

According to BlueJessamine, it’s Booby Wednesday and this is a Public Service Announcement: Self exams can save lives!


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