It's not what you know for sure that'll f### you up. It's what you know for sure that you're dead wrong about that'll f### you up every time.
Paraphrasing Ben Franklin late in life
A little story. When I was in my early twenties, I was listening to NPR, an interview. The interviewer asked a question, the interviewee said: "I have to be perfected candid with you," then went on in painful detail. I said "What a moron."
Stay with me here.
Two days later, a friend asked me a question I didn't wish to answer, so I said: "I think I'll be candid here." She leaned toward me, expecting more. I asked: "What?"
"You said you'd be candid. So be candid."
A heated argument ensued until finally I got the dictionary out to prove I was right, that candid meant 'hidden or withheld.'
I was dead, dead wrong. Yet, I was sure, dead sure, I was right. I even sought out a second dictionary, thinking somehow the dictionary was wrong.
Everything, that is everything I thought came into question. I was afraid to make a statement about anything. I got to using qualifiers for every statement I made.
"It appears to be..."
"Allow me to suggest..."
"At this moment, I believe..."
A few weeks later, I was watching out the window, snow dancing in the evening dark. A TV show from my childhood paraded in my mind. I recalled the opening credit, shot of a movie camera hidden in the bushes, the theme playing.."You're on candid camera..." ...the camera was hidden.
"f### me," I said to the snow and the wind pushing against the house.