The Truth

It would be interesting that once a year, worldwide, we could for one day say exactly what we think and how we feel. The other 364 days we can do it according to social conventions, we will not offend anyone and we will lie without blinking an eye. 

Moreover, we will convince our children that “we must always tell the truth” and we will insist that it is better to tell the truth despite the consequences. We will fill our mouths with idioms regarding this issue, without even thinking twice, we will convince ourselves and convince others that “the truth in front” is what we do, we want, we respect and teach. 

Nothing could be further from reality. 

But on this great day, we will be truthful and we can at least try to do what we preach during the other 364 days. 

That day would be marked by extraordinary dialogues 

ONE 

“Good morning Mr. White, how are you today?”

“Feeling like crap Miss Sophia, just feeling like shit…” 

“Hmm, I am glad you mention it, because the truth is that I asked you only out of politeness. I actually do not really care how you are. I prefer that you don’t even show up at work since I found you cocky, ignorant and abusive” 

“Oh, good to hear you say that because the only reason why we hired you as a receptionist is because of your good legs and your pretty face, but the rest, we better forget it…” 

TWO

“And now my dear friends, we have gathered in this room to hear the economic situation facing our country. I want to say as I always do, that things can not be any better, but to honor this great day of truth, and for you having given me the opportunity to serve you as president, at least today, I inform you that we are on the verge of bankruptcy. We have nothing more to sell, or lend or lease. We have done a total and absolute passage of the public national heritage to the private sector and we are up to our neck in debts and interest payments. My dear fellows, I inform you unpretentiously and with disgust that we’re naked… Just like that I affirm today, as a nation, we are in a state of poverty that I do not want to imagine for the future generations…” 

“Mr. President, I think you should resign as such, for not having been able to represent the people and deceiving them miserably for two consecutive years” 

“Indeed, I should resign and take advantage of the special situation in which we find ourselves, I do it in front of all of you and in front of all those who put their good faith in me. Besides, I have wanted to go to the movies with my wife and take the kids to the zoo, which already I had been promising for a year and a half. Good afternoon, no more promises I cannot keep, no more false hopes to encourage… Patricia, get your coat, we are going to the movies…” 

THREE

“But my old man, why didn’t you tell me before?. How is it possible that you’ve kept this secret for so long? What are we going to do now? What will become of the children?” 

“Well, my old lady, I could not tell you before because the truth hurts. But today I can tell you with the courage I have not had for all these years. Today I can tell you because it’s the one day I can do it and tomorrow I’m going to regret it.” 

“It’s odd that it does not hurt as it often hurts. I had always prepared for any kind of surprises. I thought about all possible infidelities. I have believed all my life that it is impossible to rely on others, I spent lots of energy to protect myself from the unexpected, but this was not in my plans” 

“Now, this is not the end of the world either.” 

“Yes, but are we going to tell the children?” 

“What are you going to say? The truth, of course and nothing but the truth has to be told today, because today we can only do it” 

“Children!, come here. Your dad and I have something to tell you” 

“What do you have so important to say? Are we going on vacation to Pucon?” 

“Children, your father needs to tell you… Come on, man, these are your truths, so you speak them” 

“Well, I do not know how to say it, but today I’m leaving home and will not return.” 

“I bet you are going away with the secretary” 

“No, Daddy is going with the girl who sells flowers on the corner” 

“No, I assure you that Daddy has everything arranged with Luchita, the secretary. Have you noticed how she looks at him?” 

“Enough children. Stop playing around, this is serious…” 

“And what we say is also serious, or you think we were born yesterday?” 

“Well kids, the truth is that I’m leaving with the driver… I have loved him, for a long time now…” 

FOUR

“Hey Daddy, why is that old lady looking at us like that…?” 

“Let’s see, how is the lady looking at us?” 

“No, she is not a lady, she is an old bitch” 

“Hmmm, she is actually an old bitch and he has nothing lady like” 

“And… Why is she looking at us as if we had a contagious disease. I don’t get it, but I do realize she is looking down on us” 

“Well, let’s ask. Anyway, today we can listen to anything” 

“Hey lady, why do you look down on us?” 

“Because I am afraid of you. And when fear urges me, I sniffed and my nose goes up” 

“No shit lady, and we thought you were an old bitch when you are no more than a scared old woman” 

“Well. And you with the way you dress are able to intimidate anyone” 

“We are not dressed in any fashion. We are just only poor” 

“Yes, but poverty terrifies me… I’m terrified beyond words…” 

FIVE

“And what do you think about my dress…?”

“Oh, it makes you look splendid…” 

“Hey, you can tell me the truth now…” 

“Right, then I tell you that you look regal” 

“Do I always ask the same crap…?” 

“Yes, almost always” 

“And you do not get bored?” 

“Yes, to tears, but not always” 

“I do not know why I have to ask your opinion on everything” 

“I do not know why either” 

“And you do not get tired?” 

“Damn, here we go again” 

“Sorry, but it’s so hard to stop” 

“Do you know who Pablo Neruda is?” 

“I’ll ask crap all the time, but I am neither stupid nor uneducated. Of course I know” 

“He wrote: I love you when you are silent because you are absent…” 

“I see… I cannot stop talking” 

“And how about if you try?” 

“But how?” 

“Simple. Look at my dress and not yours. Look at my eyes and not yours in the mirror of life. Look at those big trees in the park… You see?. Now look at those green leaves and tell me what you see in them. I want to talk about what you see, what we watch, what surrounds you. That’s your world and mine too. I do not want to hear today at least another word about you and what I think of you. Let’s talk about what is ours, and the world is ours to discover 

Adela, green is the color of hope… and look at those green leaves and I feel that all of nature is dressed as the future. 

You see now, gorgeous Carmelita, how easy is it to turn your eyes out…?” 

SIX

“You know, my commander in chief…this year, the day of the truth falls on September 11 and here is the speech you have to deliver to the people” 

“Meh ..! They still blame me for all evil anyway. I hope now this ungrateful country will be happy” 

“Well, I hope this is your sign of approval because we need now to proceed” 

“Go ahead, at least one day a year they have the right to know what we have done” 

Speech: 

“Before My General we were poor but honest, now we are still poor and we no longer are honest. 

Before My General we were one people with different opinions about everything that exists, now we are a divided people with no opinion about anything that exists. 

Before My General we were a zoo of mussels, horses, camels, cows, donkeys, etc., Now we had been reduced to a single species, the hungry jaguars. 

Before My General the only real danger in the population were dogs running loose. Now humanoids and the military are on the loose. 

Before My General there was not enough money for much, now we cannot afford the money for anything. 

Before My General the people had a say, now not only our voice is lost but also our vote. 

Before My General copper belonged to all of us, now it is theirs. 

Before My General the only missing people were in natural disasters, now not the worst natural disasters can produce half of the number of missing people. 

Before My General the only torture that we were subjected to, was eating algae as children, now we bear the marks on the skin and the heart of the population. 

Before My General there was resentment, now there is fear, apathy and hatred. 

Before My General there were not many dollars, now it is traded with them. 

Before My General there was only Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral. 

Before My General there was poverty, now we still have the same poverty. 

Before My General we had a constitution There is now something that resembles it. It’s called prostitution. 

Before My General there was hope and uncertainty, now only frustration and boredom … and I almost forgot, McDonald’s and Starbucks. 

Before My General we had an identity, now not even with an ID we know who we are. 

Before My General nobody could buy much because supermarkets were empty, now no one can buy much because we can not afford it. 

Before My General we had all types of problems, now we have the same problems and the same types. 

Before My General we played tag, now we only know how to play hide and seek. 

Before My General we had a Communist Party, now we still have it despite the thuggish speech. 

Before my General there wasn’t a Humanist Party, now we have one. 

Before My General social climbing, bad taste and stupidity were lesser evils, now they are an epidemic. 

Before My General we flirted with Cuba, now we go to bed with Uncle Sam and on top of everything we have to pay for the favor. 

Before my General there were times of fat and lean cows, now there are only cows. 

Before My General September 11 was just another day, now is a day for us to be divided. 

Before My General when we had trouble we called the cops, now there is no trouble according to them but there are more cops than before. 

Before my General we were a nation, we are now only a copy that has nothing to do with the happy copy of Eden. Just below the national emblem, with fine print says. “Made in the US” 

Before My General we aspired to be better, now we only aspire to be equal to others. 

Before My General the presidential palace was a building, now they made it into a fort. 

Before My General we had ideals, now we only have shame… especially when he opens his mouth. 

Before My General we had dreams, now only nightmares and hypnosis. 

Thank you and I see you again next year…” 

End of speech 

SEVEN

“Father, I accuse myself of having impure thoughts”

“Well, and how unclean” 

“Father I accuse myself of wanting a better world” 

“Oh, that’s serious my child. A Confiteor is the least I can give for this sin” 

“Father, it gets worse… I have several more” 

“Let’s see my child, do not be afraid to tell me the details” 

“I have these desires … oh, it’s so hard to say … ” 

“My child, do not worry, take the time you need and remember that everything you say is strictly between you, me and God” 

“Father, I accuse myself of having a desire for justice… and the desires grow as the years pass. Father, they become intolerable at times and I wake up in the middle of the night not knowing what to do…” 

“Oh, this is really getting tough. And how often do you have these demonic thoughts?” 

“My Father, almost every day. It is atrocious. Every time I pass by the slumps I am so disturbed to see so many horrible things I cannot help it”.

“Well, my child, this will cost you at least three Hail Mary’s and four Our Fathers. And I would advise you to stop going through these slumps. You have to avoid places frequented by the devil…” 

“But father, I live there…” 

“Well, my child, that is not the appropriate place for a lady like you. Consider a change of address…” 

“Father, the matter does not end there… there is more” 

“By God, daughter. This is serious, you know?” 

“Yes, Father… I have a huge desire to…” 

“Yes…? of what?” 

“Well, a tremendous desire to rebel. I want to send them all the responsible ones to hell” 

“That’s not very wise…” 

“I know Father but these desires are stronger than my indoctrination…” 

EIGHT

“And what the hell is that story about humanizing the earth…?”

“Nothing, it’s pretty straightforward. It depends on your degree of honesty with yourself” 

“Hey, do not start with hints” 

“Not at all. That was direct. I tell you seriously because I have no intention of wasting my precious time explaining things that are going to be discussed internally. If you tell me straight you’re interested in learning, I will do my best to explain, otherwise we remain friends as before” 

“And that means I have to agree with everything you say…?” 

“Do not be a jackass either. I only ask you to listen openly to what I say and then you do what you want with the information” 

“Ok, go ahead then” 

“You have to want to overcome pain and suffering. You have to love the reality you build, and finally you must have the willingness to learn without limits” 

“And that’s all…?” 

“Yes, that’s right. Then you have to ask yourself if you build some reality… And if you do not build anything, well, then there is not much to love, right …?” 

“Mhh, now I begin to get it… no wonder you are odd. Behind each sentence there is a hidden understanding, isn’t it?” 

“No man, it is transparent, not hidden. If you do not build anything, what can you possibly love? What others build? What is already given to you?… that’s what we all do. We are born into a world already made that forces us to like what already exists. And the degree of adaptation to all of this that is being given, that has nothing to do with us, it is called “happiness”. We say that we must build reality and love that building process… you see, nothing complicated.” 

“And why you have to be so far-fetched with the words. Why not simply say that one must like what one does and it’s over. Everybody would understand it easily” 

“Precisely because it is not what we say. Liking what you do does not have any value beyond the simple adaptation we all need to do in front of the environment in which we live. And it really means for you to accept the world as it is, with all the deficiencies and injustices. To accept the increasing dehumanization. It would be absurd to accept the order of our society and that is the opposite of what we propose” 

“But I love my children and I like my job and I do not have many problems with the world as it is” 

“And I love my children and I like my job and although you may not believe me, I also do not have many problems with the world, but i do feel the need to do something that goes beyond a simple existence. What you mention is the mediocrity of the society in which we live. Contentment with what exists, simply accepting the rules of the game” 

“And what’s wrong with that…?” 

“Absolutely nothing wrong. But you cannot call that a construction. That is neither good or bad, and does not require to pass a judgment” 

“But you criticize everything that exists…” 

“And what’s wrong with that…?” 

“Touché…” 

“Well, do you want me to explain the pain and suffering part…” 

“Well, but those are strong words.” 

“Not really, we all suffer for some reason or another. It doesn’t have to be a Greek tragedy. Usually it is not, but rather a small frustration out there, disenchantment there, a distaste for something else here, a permanent misunderstanding up there, a feeling of emptiness we try to fill as soon as we can, a feeling of anguish we cover like the dust under the rug so it just doesn’t bother us. Essentially, nothing very special, but the accumulation of all those small “troubles” can become in most cases a life that can be defined as contradictory” 

“Hey, but it is quite normal to have all those problems” 

“Yes, it is very normal to live in contradiction. You got that absolutely right and it is precisely because it is so common that we should talk about it, but we avoid it, and why do we avoid it if it’s so normal?” 

“Well no one wants to be waking with a sour puss face” 

“Exactly, but changing the face does not change the situation… right?” 

“You know, your logic makes me laugh, but I have to admit that it is true” 

“Well, my friend, that’s the bottom line. Just to admit it , that has little to do with any confession or crap like that, is that one begins to see that the contradiction is not natural and that if one puts a little effort, it tends to recede. That’s where the improvement starts” 

“Actually it is not so complicated” 

“No, it is not very difficult. And the more you give your life a unitive, better direction, the less suffering” 

“And what is it to learn without limits” 

“I suggest that you answer it yourself. Meet me tomorrow and tell me what is this thing of learning without limits. How about that?” 

“I smell that you’re trying to convince me” 

“No, I only said what I think. No frills, no poetry, no ornaments. Today I tell you so and interestingly enough, we may lie tomorrow from morning to dusk, but I think in our case we will not…” 

NINE

“You know my love, I just realized that I love you”

“Awhhh do not tease me please, I’m not in the mood” 

“No, I mean it, I don’t have to lie today… and I love you” 

“But what type of bug got into you?… What are you saying?” 

“That when I look at you I feel I love you very much” 

“Hmmm. And you want me to answer uh?. You want me to melt and tell you back something that is not true?” 

“No, I do not want you to tell me anything back, besides today we do not have to lie” 

“But it’s not fair to make all these statements in the circumstances in which we find ourselves”.

“Yes, the truth is hardly ever fair, at least in our case” 

“So… Do you withdraw what you said?” 

“I can’t my love, today at least, I can’t” 

“Well, then love me today with all your being” 

“It is exactly what I’m doing” 

“But you’re not even touching me” 

“Exactly, I do not need to” 

“Ugh… this is getting ugly” 

“Do not worry my love. I love you and just want to say it. I still pay you for the three hours that you give me every Wednesday after lunch

“And you’re going to be staring at me for the rest of the afternoon?” 

“Yeah… that’s what I want to do” 

TEN

“Mom, God does not exist” 

“Hey sonny, do not talk nonsense. How God could not exist?” 

“He doesn’t exist at all.” 

“And may I ask how you reached such an absurd conclusion. Haven’t you noticed, my love, everything wonderful that exists in this universe?” 

“Sure, Mom, and that is why that God does not exist” 

“Oh, silly boy. You don’t even know what you are talking about” 

“Of course I know. God did not create any wonderful universe because he does not exist” 

“Ah yes…? And then who created it?” 

“Nobody, absolutely nobody…” 

“Oh, it must have been created by itself…” 

“Exactly, by itself, without the intervention of any old bearded deity” 

“Oh, but where you got the idea that god is bearded” 

“I saw a portrait painted with his image. I knew right away that with that clueless face he couldn’t be a creator. No one looking like that can create everything that exists” 

“Ahh, now tell me smarty, then who did it?” 

“I told you Mom, nobody. The old bearded one created heaven only and he is the only one there waiting for someone to keep him company, but at the rate we’re going he is going to die waiting” 

“Do not say stupid things my love, God is immortal” 

“Worse then, he will have then a long, long wait…forever” 

Portland May, 1998