We all have secrets, right? Whether they’re our own or those of our closest confidantes. Some knowledge is just not fit for mass consumption. Some skeletons in our closets are too embarrassing or damaging to expose. I harbor my own secrets and I carry those of friends who have deemed me worthy of keeping them. Sometimes bearing a secret is a heartbreaking burden.
I was recently asked by someone whom I don’t know incredibly well if I could keep a secret. “Can you keep a secret?” is such a loaded question. Of course, I can keep a secret. I shelter the secrets of others in a tiny lockbox in the corner of my mind that no one will ever access. I’ve kept secrets from both of my wives despite their insistence that it was my duty to share with them the secrets of my friends simply because we were supposed to share everything. Husbands and wives shouldn’t have secrets. Bullshit. Superbitch even once told me that I should share a friend’s secret with her simply because she aired all of her friends’ dirty laundry for me to see. “And how do you think they would feel about that?” I asked her. She had no answer.
I mean, how do you know who to trust anymore? For all this person knows, I could have been lying when I said my mind is a vault whose integrity is beyond reproach (I didn’t really say that, but I’m feeling poetic at the moment. Or something). I could have stoked the flames of the rumor mill as soon as I learned this scandalous secret. I didn’t and I won’t. I’m actually honored and a bit befuddled that I’ve been entrusted with such valuable information from someone I barely know. I take that honor seriously, but there are many who wouldn’t.
Secrets can be harmful, yet many serve a useful purpose. Despite my openness on this here weblog, there are yet things I haven’t shared and probably never will. There are bits and pieces of my past which shame me to even think about, let alone share. It is for that reason alone that I take my promise to keep a secret seriously.
A thought occurred to me, though. Who, when asked if they can keep a secret, would say no? Who among us actually believes we’re untrustworthy? Who, when presented with that most dangerous of questions, answers, “Nope, I’m a terrible gossip. Please don’t trust me with your sensitive information or I’ll Facebook it, Tweet it, Google+ it, make a meme about it, and shout it from my car window while marooned in rush hour traffic. Then, I’ll send a mass text to all my friends so they all learn this secret of which you’re so terribly ashamed. Then I’ll blog about it and pimp that post until it goes viral.” There are some who should be required to wear a sign that says that, actually.
Everyone, when asked, will say that they can keep a secret, but not all of us can. Some of us have an innate need to share news. Some of just have to tell somebody. Some of us simply can’t exist without drama. While I’m glad this person entrusted me with this shocking secret, I’m a firm believer that if you have to ask someone if they can keep a secret you probably shouldn’t trust them with one.