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Why does everything in the world today have to be, so to speak, a federal case? Why is everything suddenly an outrage, a pathology – a “life-ending” mistake? Used to be you could say or do something stupid, or even not-so-stupid, and it wouldn’t make you an outcast or even a bad person.
But then, it used to be that we told happy stories, true stories, once upon a time . . . Stories that weren’t just abstract or hothouse notions in the heads of their creators, perpetuated when people who don’t know any better take them seriously and think they’re representations of real life.
Stories can be dangerous things – especially when encountered by young, inexperienced people – and a story can be as small as a word and as vast as the assumptions it encompasses. Stories can warp lives, even if we don’t realise what we’re surrounded by is a story.
It can work another way, too. If you take away the stories that people used to live by – stories of heroes and happy endings, of honour, honesty, and truth, and yes, of true love – then what alternatives do they turn to instead? And what follows from that?
But then, maybe that is, as they say, another story . . .