Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Imagine an Alternate Reality #My500Words #235

The 8th of the 10 Commandments states "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour" (Exodus 20: 2-17) - which basically means "Don't lie". I was once called a "fucking Catholic" by a manager for refusing to lie to a client - ie tell them that something worked fine when it didn't. Honesty is the best policy, but do we all think it's just fun to fib a little now and again? Is it OK to stretch the truth a little?

I think that we all lie, or at least are not fully honest, on a regular basis - perhaps daily. As an educator I am in a position of trust - what if a student thought that a grade or a feedback comment was a lie? Or a colleague suspected I was lying? I'm sure that I have been suspected of lying, but never accused of it. 

So today I am advised by Jeff Goins to lie in 500 words - to "rewrite history, imagine an alternate reality, or just plain lie". I can't think of a "plain lie" that would challenge me to write, so I wondered if I could imagine something different?

Me in my Trinity days (1983).
In September 1980 I arrived home from Dublin to my parents house to report that I had failed the 2nd year Science repeat exams in Trinity. I was faced with a choice - repeat the year, or drop out of College. To his enormous credit, and my gratitude, my father instantly suggested that I repeat - which I did. But what would have happened if I dropped out of College?

I'm certain that I would not have ended up as a millionaire after dropping out of College like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I would almost certainly have moved back to Carnew from Dublin and lived on the family farm. I never imagined myself being a farmer, nor did I ever want this. So I would not have been a farmer. Also - I had just started going out with Roma, a relationship would most likely not have developed if I was not in Dublin with her. 

I guess I could have tried for the Civil Service, or a job in the bank, or an insurance company. At one stage it was mentioned to me that an option might have been to work as an apprentice in a solicitor's or accountant's office - I would have hated that. Could I have ended up working in a shop? Would I have met and fallen in love with a different girl? Would I have stayed in Carnew (no offence to Carnew people intended)? It is so hard to imagine life different than the one I have now. I love the country side, but I live in the city. Had I dropped out of College I would not have met the love of my life, I would not have three wonderful daughters, I would not have a fine house, I would not have a big motorcycle, I would not be doing the job that I love. In short - that decision to repeat 2nd year back in 1980 is probably the most influential one that I have ever made. Imagining an "alternate reality" - impossible.

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