Adele Elliott: Telling creative lies

May 14, 2011 11:36:00 PM

Adele Elliott - [email protected]


A few semesters ago I took a class at the W called Creative Non-Fiction. In spite of the course''s oxymoronic title it was fun, and I learned a lot. The premise was that all truth is based on point of view. Two people could tell the story of a shared experience and each version would be entirely different. 


I certainly see this in conversations with my sister, Victoria. She is six years younger than I. Her childhood was vastly different from mine. We had the same parents, shared a room, and sometimes even borrowed each other''s clothes. 


However, by the time she was born, our parents had moved up financially, which changed almost everything. I remember occurrences, and especially some relatives, that she does not. One year, Mother told me we were too poor for me to have a birthday cake. That would never happen to Victoria. As the youngest, she was more sheltered, more indulged. 


I''ve been thinking about perspective a lot lately. Most Americans followed the assassination of Osama bin Laden, whether we wanted to or not. It was on every channel with even a slight connection to news. 


The first reports said that he was killed in a "mansion" in Pakistan. Soon we were shown photos of a shabby warehouse-like structure. Mansion? I''ve seen better buildings in crack neighborhoods. 


This may have been a mansion to people who were used to living in caves. But, in a country where "mansion" brings to mind the Playboy Mansion with a secret, sexy grotto, or at the very least Waverley Mansion, with over a century of elegance and a documented ghost, it was hard to be impressed. 


Everyday we hear of people being described as "heroes." Athletes are called heroes. Why? So many are over-paid cavemen. They may have done a good job of developing muscles. But, really, when was the last time a football star saved someone from a horrible fire? 


In my book, firemen are heroes, and policemen and most certainly, teachers. I think people who adopt (both children and animals) are heroic. That is a sure way to save a life; no jumping into burning buildings required. I suspect that you have your own list. 


The Navy SEAL team that dropped into bin Laden''s compound was truly brave. As was our president, and his advisors, who made the decision to act. They all deserve hero status. This was an attack worthy of Rambo. Hollywood could not have done it better, even with special effects. 


This afternoon I will be at the Riverwalk listening to some of our area''s wonderful musicians. They are staging a show to benefit victims of the tornado in Smithville. The tickets are $5; all money raised goes to the cause. They are donating their talent. Now, that''s heroic. 


Bring your lawn chairs and a donation to place in the 18-wheeler. They are trying to fill it with non-perishable food, cleaning products, new clothing. A few pet treats would be nice, too. 


It''s easy to be influenced by hyperbole. After all, some very adept spin-doctors are at work. It takes a pretty smart person to see through the exaggeration and overstatement. Today, I am longing for a bit of truth, and some modest, true heroes. But, that''s just a comment influenced by my very limited perspective. 


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.