“I am, sincerely.” ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

Babe Ruth

Here is something that has happened to every parent:

Child: “Look, mommy. That person is fat!”
Parent: “We don’t say fat, dear.”

The child is authentic. Over time, she is socialized. She learns to be something that is socially acceptable. She simulates, equivocates, euphemizes, gets along.

This is called Being Polite.

An adult does not say, “That person is fat.” Unless he is running in the GOP primary.

Straight-talk, candor, directness, honesty—we value them so much that the simulation of authenticity has become a political art.

We call this hypocrisy.

To paraphrase Captain Pierce, of M*A*S*H: “Authenticity? I could fake that.”

An authentic Babe Ruth signature is extremely valuable. A fake one is worthless.

Give us the authentic goods, not the knock-offs; the original, not the derivatives; the Real Deal, not the imitations.

We cast our contempt upon lies. We want an honest opinion. We applaud sincerity. We are wounded by deception, white lies, double-talk, lack of candor.

“I’m looking through you. Where did you go?” sang Paul McCartney. “I thought I knew you, what did I know?”

What is real? What is authentic?

Deception is undertaken for gain. When authenticity is a valuable currency, expect counterfeit.

Authenticity is never for gain: it always costs something. It is risky.

To be authentic is to follow your conscience, not the consensus. It is to be true to oneself, even if it hurts.

And it will hurt.

That is because authenticity requires that we be open and vulnerable.

It is not enough to say “I am great,” even if that is objectively true. To speak only of your triumphs, strengths, virtues, and accomplishments is to fall short of the standard of real authenticity.

Authenticity demands that we be honest about our fears, doubts, failures, weaknesses, hopes, and loves.

The authentic person is exposed. His humanity is there for all to see in its glorious imperfection.

An authentic dollar is what it is. We accept it as legal tender, even when the bill is wrinkled and soiled.

Likewise we reject the counterfeit, no matter how shiny it may be.

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