Something happens when people become aware that you have a decent understanding of a particular subject.
A certain type of person will assume they know a lot more than they really do about your field of interest because they know you – ergo, they have picked up your skills by osmosis and somehow, surpassed you. They may take some form of credit as usurper, actually they’re usually passing speculation off as fact.
This happened a lot when I was an electrician. Suddenly, all my drinking buddies felt more adept with fuses than their lifetime in sales could explain.
One of them tried to fit new transformers in a friend’s kitchen downlighter circuit, only to discover that it does actually matter if you know the difference between the primary and secondary windings. If you don’t, and you happen to wire the transformer in the wrong way around, you will blow the sucker to kingdom come.
Another friend decided he could hire himself out as an electrician, for electrician prices, and fitted a length of general purpose cable inside a hosepipe, thinking that this level of sleeving would be the equivalent of using actual outdoor cable. It’s not. One misstep with a garden fork and it’s “goodnight Vienna”.
I am no longer an electrician, due to a shredded back.
I do Movie Night. I have mountains of film-based trivia sitting on the surface of my mind. It is with a huge number of misgivings that I ever speak to anyone about film trivia because they – well, sometimes they lie.
A dear friend of mine told me once that ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ was written in response to the Nazi invasion of Poland, and that the guards who worked for the wicked witch of the west, with their big tall hats, were in fact representations of soldierly obedience and the wicked witch herself was, in fact, Hitler.
Now, the chap who told me this is a dear friend, I love him to bits. But the fact remains, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ came out in 1939, which would be a bit swift for any kind of cinematic statement on the effects of Nazism, but more than that – it was based on a children’s book from 1900. I took no pleasure at all in informing my friend of this, but I had to tell him; I could imagine this piece of fiction making it into dinner party conversations and embarrassing him horribly.
I went to the Club last night for the Branch Meeting. It was over in a flash, but shortly afterwards, a chap at the bar was telling me how wonderful ‘The Shack’ was on Monday evening. I have very mixed feelings about that film, but I have experienced some loss this year, so perhaps it was too soon for me to watch something quite so religious and painful. He disagreed with me quite completely, and then pointed out that ‘The Shack’ is based on a true story.
Now in simple fairness to my personal circumstances, the idea that it was based on a true story made me dislike the film more. However, it took me three seconds on google to discover he was dead wrong. Some circumstances in the main character’s early life hold striking similarities to that of the author. He was raised in the church, it seems his father was abusive, but that’s where the truth, as it was lived, ends.
This chap at the bar flooded me with details of the film, stating that the author had lost a child, and gone on a retreat in the mountains, met with God, found the body of his child, and that the representation of God (a native American by this point in the narrative) was arrested because he knew where the body was. This is all a fabrication.
However, when he was talking to me, I wasn’t on google, because I’m not a monster. If I’m talking to somebody, I’m not on my damn phone.
So, I asked him, how could the film possibly be based on real life? You would never be able to prove anything.
Which, I suppose, is the whole point of faith. If it was something you could prove, it would be knowledge, and you wouldn’t have to place any trust in it, because it would just be. This post has become a little bit serious, I am aware of that. It’s about to change, fear not.
In his response, this chap at the bar really got my brain working.
“The main character,” he said, “that was the guy that wrote it, from his real life. It’s a true story.”
And he got me thinking: in any novel ever written, at least as far as the main character is concerned, it is a true story.
He may have been wrong about the origins of ‘The Shack’ but that chap at the bar said a mouthful.