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Very few people are as good or as bad as they seem.
We protect ourselves by being suspicious of new people in our lives:
A way to avoid disappointment.
We hope to be proven wrong, that the new guy turns out to be okay.
We hope to be pleasantly surprised.
We often get disappointed anyway beause of this:
Our suspicion brings out the worst in others.
On the other hand, a bad guy can be a saint around us
if we don't expect evil of him.
He unconsciously tries to be whatever's expected of him.
I know this from experience.
There was a notorious gangster in Miami who treated me like a son.
He was good to me and was square with me in every way.
I think the secret was this:
I'd never heard of him,
and had no preconceived attitudes toward him when we met.
He seemed to me like a nice old man,
and he always lived up to that image with me.
When I heard about his bloody and violent career,
I couldn't turn off the friendship.
To me it was like they were writing about somebody else in the newspapers.
I heard all the stories,
but he and I never discussed that side of his life.
I kept up the pretense that I didn't know.
He was old then and is most likely dead by now.
He will be a rogue in the public memory,
but if they ever ask me,
I'll say he was a pretty good guy.
Copyright © March 25, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.