Tuesday, May 09, 2006


There are categories of fiction. First there is the unexpected exposure to fiction that happens to all of us at one time or another. You know how it is. Those all too frequent conversations with someone who promises to reveal ‘exactly how it happened’. And although the facts are told with conviction, you know what you’re hearing isn’t accurate.

So how should one react? I guess that depends on one’s assessment whether the creator of this fiction truly believes what they are telling you. If I am convinced that they sincerely believe what they are telling me, I can be pretty congenial about the crap I’m hearing. I can let it go. It’s relatively easy to forgive someone who doesn’t know any better.

But then there is that other kind of fiction. Those other half-truths told deliberately and knowingly. The stories that start out small, straight forward, and believable. But all it takes is one word to acknowledge that I am listening, and the story becomes an orgy of fact and fiction copulating and procreating at the speed of light. Beneath the rumble of the conversation I can hear a monster growing, stressing at the seams, expanding with hot air.

This kind of discussion is quite different from the fiction of the truth-challenged individual that doesn’t know any better. This is not so easy to disregard. In fact, I get truly annoyed. These are discussions offensive to my intelligence. Annoying enough, but meantime, my panties are in a bunch due to my frustrating efforts to remember my manners – the rule about listening when someone is talking. And what is even worse, by being mannerly, by continuing to listen, I find I am encouraging more of the same. So now the story teller is rambunctiously searching their fantasy world for more fictional additions.

So how do you handle this kind of exchange? More often than not I want to hold up my hand and yell “Rubber Boot!” and sometimes I do. But that is not always appropriate. Can one react like this when it is a Member of Parliament, Doctor, Church Minister, your boss, or a relative that you know for a certainty will become overly ballistic or burst into tears if you call them on their BS? The bursting into tears is the worst. Then what do you say, “I’m sorry you are such a liar.” So regardless of what I do, or don’t do, it is truly a dilemma. A dilemma because fact and fiction cannot be juggled around as if they were one and the same. It doesn’t work anymore than casting a moon in a daytime sky for sunbathing and a sun in a nighttime sky for sleeping. Each has a fixed place, a fixed function, and it is important that this is understood.

And so, in concluding this rant, I think I might have a solution. Maybe we just need to modernize and update our etiquette guidelines. Why not do society (and me) a grand favor by adding a new rule? A rule that at any given moment in time, it is acceptable to hold up the hand with all grace and decorum and yell loudly, “RUBBER BOOT!!” Accepting that as social etiquette would certainly condense the circular discussions in political circles, town hall meetings, school meetings, and in our private lives as well without damaging reputations of dignity.

So now it’s your turn. Any other solutions? How do you handle it when you are nailed down as a captive audience needing accurate information and finding that all you’re getting is a bunch of crap?


Blogger PEA said...

First of all, you have me curious...why "rubber boot"?? I love it though lol. I have indeed been caught having to listen to someone going on and on, knowing that their story is made up as they go along...what do I do? Nothing. Darn my mother for teaching me manners! lol Seriously, though, I wish I did have the nerve to sometimes tell them to please stop wasting my time and theirs. I'll have to remember the "rubber boot" comment and try that out one day!! I love reading your posts Roberta, you truly are a gifted writer!!

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Scotia said...

I think it's something along the lines of having to wear boots to wade through a certain substance... ;)

9:57 PM  
Anonymous joared said...

I, too, wondered why "rubber boot" then read scotia's comment and think she's correct.

I remember, as a child. riding on a manure spreader with my uncle from the barn, having quite enough of the aroma, his letting me off in the barnyard where I promptly sank in the you-know-what over the tops of my ... you guessed it ... rubber boots!

2:44 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Even though I wrote this nonsense, I didn't even consider why the particular term "rubber boot". It just so happens when I saw someone react in this way to a far-fetched story, I couldn't help noticing it is a phrase with no ambiguity even to those who never heard it before. It has clout, is easily yelled out. It efficiently delivers the wished for effect without vulgarity. And doesn't"rubber boot!" just roll off the lips so nicely when one is exasperated as well.

All that aside, I have to agree with you pea, scotia, and joared, about the common sense of water-proof boots when wading in poopies.

11:40 PM  
Blogger goldenlucyd said...

Down with circular reasoning and up with "Rubber Boot! Great idea Roberta. I think its moment has come!:)

2:16 AM  
Anonymous ratty said...

i believe, whilst sitting through craptalk, i grimace. mind you, it's usually only a mental grimace as i, too, tend to just sit and take it.

unless it's my writer-sister. she is a wonderful writer but a craptalker from day one. and when she gets going, or just WON'T STOP, i get up and leave the room to find one of my other siblings to talk to. sometimes, though, she traps me on the phone. then i grimace.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

goldenlucyd, thank you for stepping up to the plate to lead the crusade. I'm only one step behind you.

Hi ratty. Thanks for joining the discussion as well.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait.....we're supposed to LISTEN?? Ya mean we can't just talk over them when they're making no sense and using up our oxygen?? Awwwww, Roberta! Hmpf! Manners sure stink.....just like the craptalk that seems to be ubiquitous.

Lately I've been talking back to the news reporters on TV. I'm sure it disturbs my husband, because then he can't hear the report in it's entirety, but I just can't hold back. I am SO skeptical of anything on the news now. No matter who you tune into, you get their OPINION, rather than hard news.

I'm joining Lucy's parade to encourage the use of your phrase. RUBBER BOOT! I'm mad as hell and I'm not putting up with it any more!


8:20 PM  
Blogger goldenlucyd said...

Happy Mothers' Day Roberta! Hope it was a good one.
:) lucyd

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Esther said...

That reminds me of the movie
"Terms of Endearment" when the mother (Shirley MacClain) goes to the doctor to find out her daughter's condition (cancer) and the doctor says, " We always tell people, "To hope for the best and prepare for the worst".....to which she replies, "And they let you get away with that"....

I think doctor gobbledygook and politican gobbledygook may need "Rubber Boot" most of all!..

I love it, and plan to implement it this very day....

8:23 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Buffy, the word is out and the recruits are organizing. Maybe there is hope this thing will get off the ground. That we won't have to be mannerly and listen. That we will be free, free, free. Thanks for your words of conviction that lend so much to the campaign.

goldenlucy, I'm tardy with my greeting but hope you had a precious Mother's Day as well. I am truly honored that you sent me this special greeting.

And esther, I just knew that sooner, rather than later, you would also join up.

So now, I have to wonder, should I go on to other things, or just stay in a holding pattern here until we get enough recruits to fight the good fight! I guess I'll go onto other things but there is a garden to be planted so it may not be today.

12:09 PM  

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