Are You the Real Thing?

If I were to ask you which soft drink is the "real thing", I am fairly certain that most of you would have the answer. How many of you remember that beverage company's advertising campaign from a number of years ago? If you are of a certain age, the answer to my question should be almost automatic. Like me, you too were subjected to an extensive marketing campaign.

You were repeatedly told what the real thing was. You were advised of its strengths. As I recall, none of the shortcomings of drinking a sugar-based, carbonated beverage was portrayed as part of that media blitz. If you are like me, you look, you ponder, and then you move on to drink the diet version of whatever it is that every one else is drinking.

However, what is the real thing when it comes to you and the living of your life? Over the past few days, a great deal of my time has been spent wondering just what the real thing is (things are) in my life. I am being torn in opposing directions by a variety of forces. Perhaps if I could just remember to say no now and again these problems would stop cropping up in my life.

One person wants me to help them on a project, so I agree to work with them. Since I am a man who operates on many fronts, I like to keep the people in my world abreast of my comings and goings. It is my hope that a balance will be struck. I do not like to set my friends up for unhappy surprises. So in trying to make everyone happy, I have managed to make them all unhappy.

Apparently my open persona is OK under certain circumstances, but not under others. In trying to help one person, I offend another. While trying to uphold my personal ethical standards, I find others who think differently. Maybe that is why I stayed in the public sector away from the vast array of business secrets and corporate intrigue that continually plague the private sector.

What is a business secret? What is a corporate advantage? Who must I lie to? To whom must I pledge loyalty to the exclusion of others in my world. I thought that I was supposed to be honest with everyone. How did I arrive in the midst of this emotional and ethical quandary?

I guess the truth is that my parents and grandparents are at fault. They always stressed that I tell the truth to the greatest extent possible. I have tried to do this. I take people at their word and am often repaid with unkindness. Sometimes people have accused me of being na