Sunday, September 27, 2009

A toast

I was talking the other day with two acquaintances; as the conversation ensued, I heard one say somewhat derisively to the other, "...the people at that meeting were all 'clears', so it just goes to show..."

I gently interrupted: "Pardon me, did I understand you to say 'clear'? What does that mean?" A broad smile crossed the speaker's face; "Why, you're a 'clear', honey," came the answer, buoyed by a hearty chuckle. I frowned.

From the loose definition which was then provided me, I took it to be a sort of backward slap against "the man"..."whitey"...and "the powers that be." As such, I felt myself very much offended.

Later, I recounted the story for my husband, who found the comment similarly off-putting. In this new age of make-believe words and facts and figures, perhaps we were overlooking a more modern meaning of the term. A visit to, however, provided us further fuel for fire:

One who is so fake, you can see right though them; someone who is trying to be something they obviously are not.

Now, I'm not entirely sure of what the speaker meant by this statement; perhaps like Judge Sotomayor's "wise Latina" statement, it was nothing more than a clumsy attempt at humor. But after mulling it over in my head for a bit, I came to see things differently.

These days, "clear" has been a scarce commodity; for instance, I can't see clearly now, and must rely upon reading glasses when reaching the fine print. Similarly, the significance of day-to-day events has become increasingly blurry. Despite the rallying cries for "sunshine" and "transparency", words are murkier than ever before these days...hinged with double meaning, and tinged with the slimy film of hidden agenda. Separating the wheat from the chaff, the fact from fiction, and the cats from the canaries becomes ever more challenging...and the day and age when a person's word was sufficient voucher are quickly going the way of the dinosaur.

Oh, I can already hear it: "Spydra (if indeed that is your real name), aren't you being hypocrital? Nice pseudonym...would you like a fake mustache to go along with your wig and sunglasses?"

Why, yes, thanks so much for asking. Because smiling faces sometimes tell lies; they don't tell the truth. Because the mendacious glad-hand you with palms that are constantly greased. Because cowards are only candid when comfortable.

A long time ago, a couple of wise women named Wilma and Betty decided they'd been kept in the dark long enough; together, they each donned a water-buffalo fez and fake mustache, determined to better glimpse hidden events. Those of us familiar with their story know that despite some pain, discomfort and humiliation, their thirst for a better understanding was quenched.

As such, let us raise a toast to those two old-fashioned gals from Bedrock and their quest for knowledge; to another place and time and days of auld lang syne; to every halcyon thing, transparent and clear: Here, Here!

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