Have you ever watched a historical movie or documentary that differed from what you thought you knew about the topic? Although these productions have a factual basis, parts of the story may not be 100% accurate. This is done intentionally to make the story more relatable, and it happens all the time, not just in entertainment media, but in our own lives. We all have embellished or fabricated something to get our audience’s attention. As Mark Twain said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” ?.
Over the last few years, I have been invited by friends to go deep sea fishing (remember I can’t swim). The question that usually comes with the invitation is “Have you ever been fishing?” My answer is always “Yes!” because as you know, I am not one to turn down a new experience. And it’s a true statement, I have gone fishing. Years ago, I was invited to come along, and I jumped at the opportunity. I had never been and many of my friends raved about it.
So, we went out in the bay and grounded the boat before we threw a line in the water, it was low tide when we went out. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a depth finder and got stuck in the mud. As a result, we all got out of the boat and pushed it free. Ten minutes later we grounded the boat again, it was still low tide and this time we needed to be towed out. After this fiasco, we rode around in the boat for a little longer and decided it was time for an early happy hour. After all, we pushed the boat! The whole experience was hard work and we never even cast a line. If this was fishing, sign me up. Minus the boat pushing. ?
Those are the facts of my fishing trip, embellished slightly to better paint the picture ?. Have I ever fished? No. Did I go fishing with the intention of doing so? YES! So, when I am asked that question by someone who wants to take me out fishing, the answer is “Yes, I have been fishing!”
That said, embellishment does have a line that should not be crossed. My story about fishing is fun; it is true, and no one got hurt, except maybe our egos a little bit. It is entertainment. Conversely, stretching the truth to achieve a goal such as a new job, getting a loan or even to build or strengthen a relationship is wrong. Not only does it negatively impact others, but it will also reflect negatively on the person who does it.
Back to the Mark Twain quote…the quote is commonly attributed to him, but a search in Google doesn’t offer any evidence of that. So, did he say it? I don’t know, but it does sound like something he would say, and it makes for a better story than if I said it ?.
“The best stories are born from an honest seed that simply grows a little in the retelling of it.”– Jennifer Frick Ruppert
What stories will you share this weekend? Let me know.