In 1972, one of my favorite movies ever was made. “Deliverance” was a breakout movie for Burt Reynolds. Lewis, played by Burt, and his three friends decide to take a canoe trip to northern Georgia. In the beginning of the movie one of the friends engages a local banjo playing boy with the famous dueling banjo scene. This young boy has obvious mental and physical disabilities caused by the power plant moving into the area.
The performance is amazing to watch. How could this young boy play the banjo so well? The truth is, he is not playing the banjo at all. As movies do to us quite often, they make us believe something that is not totally true. The young boy played by Billy Redden has an interview on YouTube and is now a middle-aged man that is a greeter at a local Walmart store. He has never played a banjo in his life. There was someone standing behind him in the film, playing the banjo for him.
The truth is always there for us to see. It may be like an onion, and it can be several layers deep, but it is still there. Truth does not change depending on how we feel or what we want it to be. Truth is and will always be truth regardless of the circumstances.
Like many of you here in Highland County, I have spent many years playing baseball as a kid and coaching as an adult at Shaffer Park. I’m not sure how, but almost every parent feels that their son or daughter would make an excellent pitcher that can bring many wins for the team. The truth is, very few have the talent to pull that off.
Here is another one that has been played out several times — the very nice woman in church that wants to share the blessing of singing that God has gifted her with others. She will share this blessing week after week and not a soul in the congregation has the heart to tell her each performance is like nails on a chalkboard. Again, the truth stays the same regardless of what we want.
We even convince ourselves that if we use those famous words, “To tell you the truth,” whatever we say after that is gospel. I have always wondered when I hear those words if I have been lied to up until that point.
In today’s seemingly whacked out society, all of us are guilty of giving permission to certain groups to claim ownership to truth. We believe in some given group because more than likely, we are a part of it. Republicans own the truth, Democrats own the truth, liberals own the truth, conservatives own the truth, certain ethnic groups own the truth. The list is like that energizer bunny — it goes on and on and on.
What about “twisting the truth?’’ That is what happens when people change the story up slightly to make their perspective ring true. We all know that this is another one that does not ever work. I am pretty sure it is in the same family as “bending the truth.”
And one more comes to mind: We also can at times avoid the truth. We all know no one would ever admit to this one. This one is only seen by those in the guilty party’s circle while being completely invisible to the one that is doing the dirty deed.
To me, though, both are extremely important. Telling the truth is much smaller than finding the truth. There are many hot buttons that have become so huge in our culture today. Don’t we have to ask ourselves how we find the truth in them? What steps do we take to peel back that onion? Most of the time it is obvious if we look hard enough.
But, to tell you the truth (no, I have not been lying up until now), maybe at times it is too difficult to face. Maybe it is like Jack Nicholson says in the movie “A Few Good Men:” “You can’t……. !!”
I am sure you all can fill in the blanks. You just said it didn’t you?
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.