Allowing the Face of Goodness to Surprise You

Naturally as a historian it is my job to be inquisitive about both sides to every story. Of course not every historian does this, in fact many don’t, but in my opinion it is the best way to examine history and extract the truth from any story. In asking questions about both sides of a story or being more inquisitive into the life of someone who has always been portrayed as a villain, you will find that things are often not what they seem or not what you have been told. I find this especially interesting in today’s time where social media and digital media in general plays such a heavy influence in the ideas and beliefs of people around the world. Take a moment to think about that. An idea about a person or group of people can be shared around the world instantaneously whether or not it is truthful. For some this plays out well and they are able to transcend into fame and fortune, but for others, this spread of information can make them unable to exist comfortably in any spaces.

The reason that this thought about being inquisitive came to mind was because in the beginning of the book we are introduced to Ricky Rice who is  narrating and discussing his environment in the bus station bathroom that he works in.

Don’t look for dignity in public bathrooms. The most you’ll find is privacy and sticky floors. But when my boss gave me the glossy envelope, the bathroom was the first place I ran. What can I say? Lurking in toilets was my job. (Pg.3)

Initially this sounds like a pretty gross job that would only be suitable for someone who had no other options. He even identifies his character in his job by saying “lurking in toilets was my job.” He assumed the mentality of the position he worked in and identified with it. The reason that I bring this up is because as I get closer to graduation, I realize that I have assumed the mentality of a college student overall. I wake up, do homework, go to class, study and sometimes make time for social outings. Many times in class I have heard professors say “things will not be so easy when you get in the real world,” but interestingly enough, a few weeks ago, Dr. McCoy began class by saying “do not let anyone convince you that you are not living in the real world right now.” I appreciated that because it made me feel like the work that I have been doing for eight semesters now is actually worth something. Although I have been living an existing as a college student for the  past four years does not mean that I am not a part of the real world.

To return back to my initial discussion about being inquisitive, I think it is important to look deeper into the lives of others and of yourself. Instead of simply considering what you may have been told like “when you get in the real world…” take into consideration that you have been operating in the “real world” all this time and have developed a set of skills and abilities that fit specifically into the role you have been playing for any period of time. Furthermore, do not spread ideas about people and events that you have not been fully inquisitive about because its hard to get the full story when you are only able to see from the outside. Adele Henry is the perfect example of someone who endured a rough life and is subject to the vile things that people have to say about her in relation to her past.

Finally, a great quote from the end of Big Machine reads “the face of goodness may surprise you. (pg. 245) That sums up everything that I was thinking when writing this post. Being inquisitive and allowing the face of goodness to surprise you is the best way to influence ideas and make proper assessments in regards to the real world. While not everyone is cut from the same cloth understanding that a situation or circumstance does not define a person overall, can change the way we view ourselves and others.



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