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Gavin MacFadyenI think there should be one day of the year designated as Honesty Day where we are allowed to say whatever we want to whomever we want and have it be the absolute unvarnished truth about how we feel. But here’s the kicker. It would have to be universally agreed among everyone that there would be no repercussions.

If anyone were to raise a fuss over what was said then all anyone would have to do is point to the calendar and say, “Aha! No consequences because it’s Honesty Day.”

I think all of us have something we would like to say to our friends, our family and our spoiled children. Throw in bosses, neighbours and especially the man across the street who signs for packages in boxer shorts.

It would be refreshingly cathartic. Afterwards, once the clock strikes midnight again, all the normal, social rules would be back in place. What you said with impunity on Honesty Day could now, if repeated, result in severe and dire consequences in your personal or professional life.

Just think about how unhealthy it is to live our lives as we do. We pretend to like someone – or someone pretends to like us – in order to curry favour, get a promotion or just to avoid unpleasant confrontation. We could finally stop living two-faced lives. We could release the genuine self that exists tucked away in the privacy of our inner souls.

This applies to everyone. Politicians are likewise able to reap the benefits of Honesty Day. I would applaud longest and loudest for the politician who stands at a podium, looks out at voters and says, “I have no freaking idea how we are going to get out of this mess or even if I even fully understand the problems we have. I certainly have no way of solving them!”

I think relationships could be saved – not destroyed – if a spouse turns to their partner and reveals that the true love they felt vanished about 10 years and two mortgages ago and I think every parent should be allowed to gather their children and reveal that yes, in fact, they do have a favourite child and it’s Jeremy.

Of course, this can never happen because as human beings we are conditioned from childhood to think one thing but say another. Don’t point at weird people in the supermarket or tell the Santa in the mall that he has bad breath.

And yes, as men have always known, there is only once acceptable response to the question, “do I look fat in this?”

Well, pish tosh I say. I long for that one 24-hour period when the truth can be revealed. I want the answer to be, “yes, you do look fat in that. In fact, you are morbidly obese and no clothing could conceal that fact.” I want to hear “you are the worst lover I’ve ever had” and I want to hear children admit that they were the ones who broke the washing machine.

Offices are a minefield of psychological torment. We have to smile at co-workers and make sure we say nothing offensive. We have to show deference to the boss and be afraid – very afraid – of not acting in a sufficiently sycophantic manner to a man or a woman who might be the worst human being we have ever known.

But on that one glorious day of the year, on Honesty Day, we get to say that a co-worker smells bad and that our boss is an idiot. The very next day we can go back to puckering up and safeguarding our futures with lies spoken and behaviour meant to placate, pander and stroke.

How will it all end?

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you but it would be fun to find out.

Gavin MacFadyen is a Canada-raised, U.S.-based writer and occasional lawyer.

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