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Showing posts from August 27, 2016

"...and You Believe That?" Skepticism vs. Cynicism

by Vol-E

I can recall many days during my school years when I would rush home and eagerly share some new information with my mother. I'd tell her about a classmate who said her father was the president of General Motors, or a teacher who claimed to have been in the profession for 20 years but was still only 30 years old. Mom fancied herself as my protector. She wasn't going to let anyone make a fool out of me if she could help it. I got so used to her responding to any such report with "And you believe that?!" that I finally did learn to filter information in a quest for truth.

Our last name was so unusual (an Ellis Island original, I believe, where some multi-consonant moniker from Ukraine or Latvia was simplified in order not to strain the intellect of immigration officials) so as to be virtually unique in the U.S. And yet, a friend insisted, when I was eight, that she shared that surname. Damn, she was convincing! But Mom held firm, and once she began threatening…