Dear Dr. Babooner,
Thanksgiving was a little tense this year because some relative I won’t identify saw fit to “leak” a large number of confidential text messages that I had written regarding certain specific personalities and delicate situations inside the family circle.
Dr. Babooner, I’m appalled at this betrayal of trust!
When I called Aunt Julia as “fat as a beer swilling Sasquatch” and said that my sweet little nephew Mikey will probably wind up on death row someday and observed that cousin Oswald “has sex appeal, but not to members of our species,” I was not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings! Rather, I was attempting to paint an accurate picture of our real-life family dynamic. And why? To make getting along with others a simpler task for others who are, frankly, inept when it comes to interpersonal relationships.
I should have known that these unnamed people (OK, person) were (was), in fact, so totally clueless about relationships that they (Uncle Louie) would not see the harm in releasing these very sensitive, intensely private communiqués as “interesting reading”. But even in my most cynical dreams I could not have imagined that he would print my words on tiny Post-It notes and stick these notes to the backs of the name cards I propped up against each plate at the Thanksgiving table.
That’s reverse diplomacy – targeting destructive messages for certain audiences with intent to destabilize the balance of power. And I thought my Uncle Louie understood that! I’m not saying Uncle Louie did it. Only that Uncle Louie is exactly the sort who would try to explain it all away with a stupidly earnest cliché like “the truth will set you free.”
That’s false. Now that the truth is out, I do not feel liberated. In my opinion, real freedom happens when everyone can stick to the same comfortable lies that make it possible for us to all get along.
Now just about everyone in the family wants an apology from me before we can get together for the next holiday. I will make the necessary gesture, Dr. Babooner, by putting a personal note inside a select group of Christmas cards. But can I also take advantage of this opportunity to defend myself by placing some of the blame where it so clearly belongs?
People already know I’m a loose cannon. What could it hurt?
Honest 2 A Fault
I told H2aF that she (he) would be wise to treat every apology as a stand-alone event, and not to clutter it up with extra accusations. Putting your note of remorse inside a Christmas card is bad enough, but weighing it down with snarky comments about Uncle Louie is unforgiveable, even if he is a dirty, thieving leaker.
Diplomacy demands restraint on the public side of the curtain, and frankness on the other. Earnestness on the surface, and dark humor on the backside. Take your lumps, you whiney coward!
I mean, be brave.
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?