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george hancock stefanMany of you use the expression TMI (too much information) when your friends share things that you feel should be shared only among spouses or perhaps left in the mind of the person who said them. But I have been feeling that some of my friends have been suffering from Too Much Honesty (TMH) when they talk with me lately.

I was sharing with a friend that I have particularly struggled to lose some pounds this past year.  I had all of these great ideas in January 2016; this was finally the year to do it. At my last visit, my doctor approached it diplomatically by saying that, while I have gained a couple of pounds this year, I have stayed pretty close to the same weight throughout the five years that she has been my doctor. But when I discussed my difficulty with my friend, he mentioned that he doesn’t ever recall when I was skinny! I know that I was never as skinny as he was/is but I was much lighter than I am now!

On the way home from a trip, another friend talked about the many changes that we have encountered over the years. He mentioned that some of us have been in hospitals, some are moving slower, and then he said, “And some, like you, are bald.” Did he say that word–bald? I know that I have been losing hair but I have never uttered that word. Then I was thinking that maybe my hearing is not as good as it used to be and whenever my kids tell me I am bold, they have been telling me that I am bald. The play on the vowels a and o reminded me of the great historian Edward Gibbon, the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He once said that the difference between Christian orthodoxy and danger was a single i (iota). The word homoousia refers to consubstantiation (sameness), while homoiusia means things that were similar. If you doubled the o, you were orthodox, but if you replaced the second o with an i, you were a heretic!

I love my friends. They know me very well and I know them very well, since we have been friends from the time we were teenagers. When I came up with the phrase TMH, I was thinking in particular of a couple that I met in West Virginia. I asked them how their marriage was and they told me that they are doing fine now. There was such a great emphasis on now that I inquired what has changed. The wife told me that they were brutally honest with one another and almost destroyed their marriage.

I am over the absence of my svelte figure and the fact that when I brush my hair, the comb slides with great ease. I do not want my friends to tell me lies, but sometimes a more measured kind of honesty would be appreciated.

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