I know, boring! However . . .
We got chatting about Edward Snowden – who can avoid it these days? – but Wally got personal. “When I was a fairly young man,” he said, “a woman shared something that I knew I would never be able to tell anyone, probably not even her.”
“It was heavy.” He paused for a second and added, “dude,” but that only lightened the mood a little. Wally is as straight as an arrow gets and I knew that this secret stood out because he probably didn’t have more than a couple others to keep. “It’s been heavy for forty years.”
What do secrets do to people (or institutions) that keep them? What was this secret doing to my friend? How does keeping secrets change the nature of governments and other institutions?
“I was watching Chris Hayes the other night,” I offered, “and when he went into his polemic, the one he does in the middle of the show, he started with, ‘No one questions that a government has to have secrets, . . .’ and I sat in front of the TV, physically raised my hand and offered, ‘I do,’ but he went right on.”
“There’s a certain lack of truthfulness in keeping secrets,” I added, “but most of the world dismisses you as naïve if you question the inescapability of it.”
I guess Wally had put his secret back in the place where he keeps it and was done talking about it. “It’s deep,” he said as he ordered us another beer, “. . . dude.”