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When Ugly Does Not Lie

March 13, 2018

Last night I was done with 12 hours of effort, so it did not matter that I was inert before PBS TV’s “Antigues Road Show”. I was so spent that it did not even matter that I had seen it before. It was a rerun.

I only knew the repeat status because within the unrelenting format of supplicant-with-thing-goes-before-the-oracle the thing brought forward was so particularly hideous, and, in typical vicarious schadenfreude self-servingness, I awaited, again, the value as assessed by the Oracle. The Oracle in full high authority, calmly, but gravely, in triumphant unveiling, declares:


Oh, yeah, I remember that, Wow. Great. Amazing.

The supplicant appeared to be having a stroke. He had purchased this disturbing crock for $300.

Then the new, little sounder and lower scroll on the bottom of the screen pops up as the camera loving gazed upon the monstrously disturbing fecal melange of grotesqueried visages in mid meltdown mashup and silently offers up:

“Correction $3-5,000”

I was aghast: first it was a testament to what I did not know. Secondly it was still 10 times the buyer’s investment.

Well, other experts weighed in on the revision via the internet I Googled this AM: one article clarified:

“Earlier this year, Betsy Soule came forward after being tipped off by a friend that she had made the pot in a ceramics class in 1973 or 1974. Fletcher and PBS have since corrected the appraisal to $3,000 to $5,000, which is still pretty damn good money for a high school art project.”

Of course the ‘correction” was made by the same person who thought the insane scream of clay was worth at least 100 times what the owner paid. Right. That’s better than, well, say, my deciding a room was so lovely that it needed no windows. Sure. Of course. Well, no.

He is an Expert. I am an Expert. So are You. We are on the Internet.

I then went on in nocturnal mental massaging, to read that Hillary Clinton, 16 months after losing an election that every single Expert had said was a no brainer – a guaranteed win, had listened to other Experts and said, in India, to other Experts,  “I won the states that contribute 2/3’s of America’s Gross National Product.”


Conviction has its own rewards. Surety in projection defines, for a while, the truth. The convinced are often impossible to joke with: what they know is serious – do not question the truth, even if it is only true, deeply true, that belief is its own truth.

I sit in a black barn, cranking on a bike, in terror over getting to Hartford in a storm this morning. I am in terror because last night Experts have said that we shall have 6 – maybe 12 – inches of snow. For the 3rd time in 2 weeks.

Other experts say, this morning, the temperature, in this Zip Code, will not go below 33F. That typically means water, not snow.

But I cannot know, because even the Experts do not know history until it has happened. No one does.

What is left, then, if we are honest, is Faith.

Mine is with a fully filled reality of love in the warp and woof of almost everything I see, I know that I simply cannot be the Expert of Everything. Others may feel comfort in conviction. There is power in surety. But power is not strength, let alone Faith – because, despite ourselves, power is often inadequate, and ultimately it cannot overcome history. Our shelf life will expire, no matter how strong our beliefs are.

The unrelenting realities that beauty is real, in all things great and small, the silent listening to the deeply resonant in our lives, the base rock of hope that all effort leaps from, and lays upon, is, to me why I do this, every day. But with a few distractions, like reruns of Antiques Road Show.

The Experts, many of whom I love dearly, have factual insight, careful deductions, even absolute determinations to the point of conviction. But that is not why I love them. The value of any of us is not in our Expertise, it is in the love we offer without knowing anything about it.

Its Lent, that pottery thing is still ugly, Trump is still president, the world is screaming, even now this early AM, but it is not snowing. Yet.




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