Panicked, I decided to reread some of the books, articles, and comic strips that I’d considered indisputably credible, just to validate my newfound hunch. There was my favorite book about talking cookies, and an intensely deep cartoon about a daisy who realized she could ride a bike because she was good with pedals – or maybe it was petals. I also remembered reading an inspiring magazine article about how writers are the smartest, coolest people in the world. I remember this distinctly because that was the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I went online today to find the article, since the magazine was published two weeks ago and was already in the recycle trash. I was not about to start pawing through my recycle trash, as it smells like a spoiled casserole of newsprint, diet coke, and beer. Anyway, I reread the article online, and sure enough it still rang true.
So does that mean I should start believing everything I read again? I’m not sure. It would make life so much easier if I didn’t have to question all the news stories, fashion articles, or college football pundits who are certain life begins and ends with the Southeastern Conference. And I’d really like to start opening my spam emails again. The people who write and send those seem genuinely interested in helping humanity prosper, and I feel bad ignoring their rarely coherent but always altruistic messages.
Maybe writers should be required to label their work. You know, with a big T atop anything that’s true, or a big N atop anything that’s nonsense. Everything
else, like editorial pages, or the Family Circus cartoon for instance, would have to be labeled with a ? so we’d know up front not to believe, probably, what we were reading. Hmm. Maybe I’ll post this idea in a random comments section online. I look forward to receiving a page full of honest feedback.
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Harry Margulies is the author of The Knowledge Holder and the to-be-released The Weight of the Moon. When he’s not writing about romance, money, women and other subjects he thoroughly enjoys but knows nothing about, he’s frittering his precious time as a cartoonist.