Unreal vs. Imaginary

This is a debate I’ve had with people. Well, a few people. OK, two people. It’s a good debate because I won both times. 🙂 Just because something is imaginary does NOT mean it’s NOT real.

For example, my two pals, whom many of the readers of my blog know, Lamont and Dude are VERY real. They have their own experiences, philosophies, memories, personalities, ideas but they are imaginary. Whoa, you didn’t know that? You thought the whole Lamont and Dude thing was a live documentary kind of thing? Nope. I made them up — or more accurately, they appeared one morning while I tried to write to a prompt. Here is their first appearance in “print,” February 4, 2014,  “Dude’s Love Story.” I don’t even know how many times they’ve shown up, but far too many to say they are not real.

But not all imaginary and/or unreal entities are as benign as Lamont and Dude, and that’s a problem. Sometimes it’s not easy to recognize that the enemy is a phantasm, an illusion. Every single day it seems that some drama comes out of Washington, and it hit me yesterday that it might all be about “ratings.” People I never heard of are suddenly in my fiend, I mean field, of view, people with whom I would never, ever have the reason to exchange even the time of day. I find myself doing laundry, lifting the lid to the washer and thinking, “I bet Ivanka Trump never read the instructions on the bottom of the lid to her washer.” I mow the lawn (a chore I already hate) and think, “I bet that idiot in DC never pushed a lawnmower.”

I am now trying to send all those people back to non-existence in my field of view, but I don’t think it’s going to be easy.

There’s another side to this imaginary vs. real problem. Sometimes what is real must be proven.

There was a bully on our street, Larry Pope. He was always after my brother and there were a lot of times I had to punch Larry Pope in the face. The kid was a sadist and he planned ahead. His bullying wasn’t acts of spontaneous passion; he planned them. The worst — and conclusive proof of this — was he stretched fishing line from a mailbox on one side of our street to a mailbox on the other — the mailbox with the word “Pope” written on it. It was EXACTLY the level of the throat of a kid on a bike, and it was invisible. He got me; I came home with a deep cut across my throat. My dad was furious and said, “He could have killed both my kids.” He was ready to go down the street and give the what for to Larry Pope’s dad.

“Don’t give them the satisfaction,” said my mom. “They’ll just take their kid’s side and deny it.”

“I’ll take Martha Ann with me and show them.”

“What will that prove? Only that she’s hurt, not that Larry Pope did it. If you go down there, you’ll be tilting at windmills. No one wants to believe their kid’s a bully.”

It did not matter in reality that the incident was REAL. There was no way to prove anything. My throat healed. My dad taught me to box. Larry Pope moved away.


10 thoughts on “Unreal vs. Imaginary

  1. There are many Larry Popes in this world, unfortunately. He was physical – doesn’t help much if you are a victim, but the psychos are the ones to be careful of and there are too many of them.
    Lamont and Dude are imaginary, and another one of life’s disappointments. I was hoping you would bring them with you on your next visit to Switzerland.
    I have a new hero, Emanuel Macron, of France. Mr. Swiss says “wait and see” but he said that about Trumpet as well, and I am still waiting.

    • I think my mom was right. I’m proud of what some of the various states are doing in response to whatever that is in DC. I’m with Mr. Swiss on Macron. Going head-to-head with Trump is a fool’s game that far too many people are playing.

  2. Yep. For example, Father Christmas is real. Perhaps not in the bearded, red-suited ho-ho-ho sense, but absolutely in the spirit of loving and giving. (The high-octane commercial crap is an evil distortion to which I and my family close our minds and our wallets.)

  3. What a marvelous read this piece is, Martha. I’d never thought about imaginary, real and their overlapt. Of course, Lamont and Dude are two of my favorite people, though you told me long ago they were granted life by your imagination; and the phantoms of Washington who don’t understand real life creep into my mind unbidden as well. Then your bullying story to illustrate the problem of proving reality startled me into a rambling pursuit of my related experiences. Wow. Too much thought or too much coffee. I’m on overdrive.

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