Rendered Fat Content


Unknown artist (German) or
William Kent
Two Travelers under Tree
with Village and Bridge in Distance

"Thanks ever so much for finally …"

With the possible exception of confidential and top-secret government material, the best-kept secrets tend to be the WorstKept ones. This conclusion partly stems from the inescapable fact that anyone holding a secret might as well carry a neon sign across their chest declaring that they're holding a secret. With the possible exception of deep cover spies, almost everyone can tell when someone's withholding the whole truth and nothing but. That private business almost always turns out to be a whole lot more public than its holder ever suspects. If the lips don't loosen, some other body part will. As humans, we seem to ache to disclose, and this innate need renders our secrets into an abstruse form of public knowledge. They might not know the details yet, but they know for sure you're withholding and that the underlying story's eventually coming.

It's usually just a matter of waiting or asking.
The tells seem obvious, so it might be perfectly innocuous to mention them when we notice. The clever deception wasn't working, so there's almost always no harm in asking. There's rarely very much hard about disclosing, though the myth supporting the WorstKept secrets usually insists that someone might die should they ever get told. Best-kept secrets get shared every day, and the world still spins. WorstKept ones slip out hourly without hardly ever causing a fatality. The cost of holding such red-hot knowledge might always be greater than the price of disclosure, but people only discover the equation after spilling the beans.

We're all guilty of secrecy in the first degree. We'd probably be much better off if we more often purged the deepest and seemingly darkest we hold, for we limit our mobility by carrying those loads. We must remember what not to mention, a heavier burden than memorizing a script could ever prove to be. The Gods approve, I suspect, for they always seem to concoct situations where a part of a secret just slips out, seemingly inadvertently but undoubtedly at The Gods' hands. An awkward silence follows before the fuller disclosure ensues.

“What? I thought you already knew!”

That's not true, but it remains the traditional means for switching gears from WorstKept into better-kept, baring soul.

And how much better we feel after more fully disclosing! We feel immediately lighter or, perhaps, we feel worse. There's no telling. The truth might eventually set anyone free, but the transition between withholding and full confession can sometimes prove iffy. The fact that you held back for however long you squelched can gum up the gears. This knowledge might temporarily wound the one you honestly felt you were protecting by not disclosing. The price of such protection might seem more insult than compliment and garner less appreciation than the discloser might deem appropriate. When riled, the world turns on a rusty axis that can make quite a racket. It was the WorstKept secret that defiled, not the disclosure. That noise you hear might be best recognized as a form of appreciation. Thanks ever so much for finally clueing me in!

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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