Dealing with phonies

It’s true.  I cannot stand people who look you straight in the face and deliver B-S.

I have my other kinnas, too, you know – like persons who are always late; or the ones who lie for no good reason; or folks who are indifferent – but I will still show some forbearance with those; when you come with the B-S, however, I have no patience with that. I will usually level the person delivering it. I’m not sure why I react this way; it’s probably because most of the time the people doing it are insulting your intelligence; they’re phonies. From a youth, in public or private, I cannot abide phonies.

I remember like yesterday, being about 10 years old, walking the road barefoot at Hague (barefoot was the norm then), and I passed a guy sitting on a bridge rail with some other villagers. He was basically a shovel man, so most of the time he was barefoot and roughly dressed, but this day he was sporting some sharp duds, and, particularly, a flashy pair of new shoes.

As I walked by, he said to me, dead serious: “De road don’ hurt yuh foot, bye?” I was taken aback; just the day before I had seen him on the road barefoot in the red dirt.  The fellow was obviously asking me this B-S question to draw attention to his shoes. I didn’t answer him – I kept walking – but I was thinking to myself, “What a jackass!”  Considering I was 10, and he was about 40, I didn’t speak the words, but I was thinking them.  Also, of course, this was around 1950, and the term B-S was not in my lexicon as yet, but in fact that’s what it was – B-S.  The phoniness involved riled my 10-year-old backside.

Some years back, when I was living in Grand Cayman, and the Guyana squash team came through, I would give them a nudge, sometimes invite them to the house, and on one occasion another Guyanese living there (let’s call him Joey Gomes) invited the players and some other expat Guyanese to his house for a GT get together. During the gaff, one of the players, Roger Arjoon, was talking about a Guyanese individual (let’s call him Freddie Wong) whom he really admired, and Mr Gomes butted in, “Oh yes, Freddie is a great guy. We’ve been friends for years. In fact, I haven’t seen him for a while, but I would say he’s my best friend.”  Roger, looking puzzled, said, “”But he’s dead, you know.”  Silence in the room. Here comes Gomes, “Oh, I didn’t know that. I’m sorry to hear.”  I tried to ignore it, but my will power gave out. I said, “Wait a minute, banna. This man was your best friend, and you haven’t seen him for a while, and then you didn’t even know he was dead? What kind o’ nonsense is that?”  There was some scattered giggling, and Joey’s Putagee face went beet red, but I couldn’t help myself.

A month or so ago, I’m reading a very revealing interview in Vanity Fair magazine with former movie star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In it, the bodybuilder/politician told Michael Lewis of being asked to run for Governor of California, but that he had refused. Said Arnold, “I told Maria [his wife] I wasn’t running. I told everyone I wasn’t running.  I wasn’t running.“ And then, en route to an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Arnold tells us he had the sudden impulse to do something out of the ordinary.  He said, “It’ll be so funny. I’ll announce that I am running. So I told Jay Leno I was running. And two months later I was governor, but I didn’t know I was running until I went on Jay Leno.” Come on, Arnold; don’t treat us like morons. That is total B-S. You change your mind about running for governor; you don’t tell your wife; you don’t tell the Republican Party; but you announce it on a TV show as a surprise? Even the dumbbells you lift know better than to buy into that, Arnold… please.

Here’s another one. In her TV cooking show, when she’s adding salt to something, Rachel Ray always throws some of it over her shoulder “for good luck.” Rach, darling, that is total B-S. If we threw salt over our shoulder every time we added some salt to a recipe, our kitchen floor would look like Shell Beach.

Cut it out sweetheart; it’s a B-S move, everybody knows it, and it simply makes you look like a phony.

Two more examples: tennis great Andre Agassi, in his book Open, tells us in a startling opening sentence, “I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion and always have.” But then the rest of the book is about his 21-year total devotion to the game, and in his final match in the 2006 US Open he told the crowd, “You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams. Over the past twenty-one years I have found you, and I will take you and the memory of you for the rest of my life.” Both of those statements can’t be true; either the “hatred with a passion” or the “reaching for dreams” is hot air, and that’s only one example; Agassi’s book, sorry to say, is full of B-S like that.

European soccer, a great game to watch, is spoiled by some terrible actors wearing soccer boots. In game after game, the most gentle of player contact will send them diving to the ground, rolling three or four times before coming to a stop, and writhing and twisting as if bitten by a cobra.  (The Italians are famous for it.) Fellas, please; losing its footing, the human body falls in a spot and stays there; it doesn’t roll like a barrel going down a hill in Mabaruma.  Everybody knows you’re faking.

The other players know it; the referee knows it; the wino watching TV in the sports bar knows it.  That kind of B-S display fools nobody and simply makes you look like a jerk. If you want to be an actor, try Hollywood; on the soccer pitch you’re not convincing.

I’m not kidding myself here. The B-S producers are going to keep on doing their number;

I just want them to know they’re not fooling a soul. Mankind’s B-S may have no odour, and you may not be able to scoop it up, but you can still spot it a mile away.

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