August 21, 2012

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth

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Most men, when going through their fabled mid-life crisis, make flashy purchases that, although they are intended to make the purchaser feel young and spry, often serve to remind the casual onlooker of the man’s age and lost youth. My father was slightly different in his own mid-life crisis. Instead of buying a garish sports car to cruise in style to Trader Joe’s, he purchased a Volkswagen Beatle convertible. And yes, for anyone who’s familiar with the flower holder on the dashboard of VW Beatles, he always kept a fresh flower in the car.

His favorite aspect of the car (much to my bewilderment) was its manual transmission. He always said that it was a departure from the unnecessary complication of the automatic transmission that had corrupted his driving experience (yeah, I never got that part either). He owned this car for five years until he realized that it did not navigate the snow-blanketed streets of upstate New York. However, before he sold the car, I learned a valuable lesson about honesty and integrity.

Once, in Stuyvesant Plaza, a shopping center where we were eating lunch, I opened the passenger-side door of my mom’s car a bit too rapidly and without really thinking about the distance between her car and the VW. I was about nine-years-old and I had no idea how to deal with putting a dent in the deep blue exterior of my dad’s beloved automobile. So I entered the restaurant without mentioning anything to my dad. I remember hoping, foolishly and futilely, that perhaps my dad would not notice the circular blemish in the otherwise gleaming exterior.

He did notice. He was also puzzled by the sudden appearance of the large dent. I was still afraid to tell him that I had made the dent so I pretended not to hear about his discovery until he started wondering who had dinged his car and left no note. I realized that I could not let an anonymous bystander take the fall for my folly so I was forced to come forward and tell my dad of my culpability.

Predictably, as the loving and kind father that he has always been, he was more disappointed in my not telling him of the ding in the first place than he was angry about the dent itself. I was also punished for my dishonesty, and although I don’t remember said punishment (likely a grounding of some sort), the event has become an indelible experience that has influenced the way that I present myself and also how I view the world. It taught me the value of honesty and not only about the unacceptability of practicing dishonesty but also the negatives of not saying anything at all.

It is this event, and the resultant lesson that I plan to keep in mind while writing “Fischy Business.” I plan on telling, in the words of the oft-quoted oath used to usher in sworn testimonies in United States courthouses, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Of course, this is an opinion column so my commitment to the truth means a commitment to portray my true thoughts and opinions without adulteration, as befits a column running in the Nation’s oldest continually running college daily (fun fact for the week).

I plan on focusing on social commentary not centered specifically on any region. One week I could discuss the steady collapse of the European economy while the next I could abhor Fried Food Fridays at the RPCC dining hall (fried broccoli is one of the most disturbing concepts for food that I could ever think of). And of course, I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t attempt to tackle some political commentary as well in an election year marred by increasingly negative advertising and extreme corporate funding. Finally, I am extremely excited to write this column, and I would like to invite you, the reading public of The Sun on an adventure that we will hopefully both enjoy.

David Fischer is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at dfischer@cornellsun.com. Fischy Business appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: David Fischer