TBIMG Question #15 ~ Walking the Line

by Dr. Madhi Obeidi and Kurt Pitzer

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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TBIMG Question #15 ~ Walking the Line

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:59 am

pg. 220 “There are times in a man’s life when a line the width of a hair can separate truth from falsehood, trust from mistrust. I felt I was balancing on such a fateful line.”

How does someone in a position like Dr. Obeidi walk that line? Can you relate his words to other situations?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:49 am

Dr. Obeidi's 'line' was like a tightrope. His fear of falling off (endangering his family and himself) forced him constantly to say and do what he thought would save himself rather than just to be truthful. He could not trust either government and was left with having only God to put his faith in and trust.
Many politicians walk that line. They fear losing votes by speaking out decisively on issues so try to walk a thin line on the fence. They're not quite truthful, not quite trustworthy.
Some couples (especially newlyweds) walk this line. They haven't learned to trust each other and resort to half-lies to keep a suspicious spouse from overreacting.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:13 pm

Thanks for getting us started, Betty Sue. And with two good examples too! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Raven » Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:41 pm

Ahhh he means being on the fence, a very thin one! We all have to balance ourselves on the fence from time to time. Some of us are better at it then others. Me being an other. I worked with a gal that could just plaster a beauty queens smile on her face and keep working no matter the turmoil.
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:28 pm

Betty Sue, I like your examples. I see politicians as definitely walking the line. Newlyweds are an interesting comparison. I see what you are saying about half-truths. Do we all do that a little bit in all of our relationships just to be able to get along—just to keep the peace? People can irritate us or disappoint us. But we don’t tell them because it could hurt their feelings, make them angry with us or even break up the relationship. We pick our battles. We fight some and let others go. We do this with our spouses, our kids, our parents, our friends, our bosses, our employees. I think we even do it with ourselves as a form of self-preservation. The difference is that with these examples, the rope is not as tight and the stakes are not as high as in Dr. Obeidi’s situation.
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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:55 pm

Raven wrote:Ahhh he means being on the fence, a very thin one! We all have to balance ourselves on the fence from time to time. Some of us are better at it then others. Me being an other. I worked with a gal that could just plaster a beauty queens smile on her face and keep working no matter the turmoil.


That is an interesting example.......I work with someone who is always cheerful, always pleasant, it makes everybody think she is the most wonderful person ever, the clients positively adore her.......I have heard her talk about some of those same people and situations in very negative tones when they aren't around..... so I don't think of her pleasantness as being able to walk the line well........I think of it as being two-faced and deceitful......and it makes me very wary of trusting her in her relationship with me or believing anything she says to me. Maybe that perception is part of the "thin line" he refers to. And maybe it is a symptom of why I am challenged by the realities of life from time to time, not being skilled in that game.

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Unread postby suec » Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:07 pm

I agree with Liz, I think, in that we all walk the line in our relationships, to a greater or lesser degree. I think we value those who are honest with us, for those people are relatively rare, and generally those relationshps have been formed over a period of time. And in a way, it is one of the ingredients needed for relationships to form in the first place: that moment when you first open up with a person, or when you first give a true honest opinion to someone. Those things build trust, when you go beyond the politeness and formality. But too much honesty can still be... rather abrasive at times. I am valued by my boss because he thinks I tell him how it is - but I am still wary about not stepping over that line, and I choose my words very carefully. I also am very honest with my friends - but am extremely careful when it comes to comments about their men or their families. It is a minefield I try to avoid. But sometimes, things need to be said, if as a friend you are watching out for a person's interests. Easy, it ain't.
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Unread postby gemini » Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:18 pm

Nebraska said
And maybe it is a symptom of why I am challenged by the realities of life from time to time, not being skilled in that game.

Count me in with you, I am not skilled in that game either. I always was amused by Johnny describing Vanessa as "she can't bulls**t me". This is me, I can not deceive anyone about anything, I will always give myself away. The only one I may be able to bulls**t is myself.

As for Dr Obeidi,
There are times in a man’s life when a line the width of a hair can separate truth from falsehood, trust from mistrust. I felt I was balancing on such a fateful line.

To me he seemed rather skilled at this game. He was able to deceive foreigners out of information and although he was fearful, he managed to survive Saddams regime. He seems to be doing well with the US government now. He didn't end up on a deck of cards.
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jul 23, 2007 7:58 pm

gemini wrote:Nebraska said
And maybe it is a symptom of why I am challenged by the realities of life from time to time, not being skilled in that game.

Count me in with you, I am not skilled in that game either. I always was amused by Johnny describing Vanessa as "she can't bulls**t me". This is me, I can not deceive anyone about anything, I will always give myself away. The only one I may be able to bulls**t is myself.

As for Dr Obeidi,
There are times in a man’s life when a line the width of a hair can separate truth from falsehood, trust from mistrust. I felt I was balancing on such a fateful line.

To me he seemed rather skilled at this game. He was able to deceive foreigners out of information and although he was fearful, he managed to survive Saddams regime. He seems to be doing well with the US government now. He didn't end up on a deck of cards.


I’m not skilled at deception either. Acting does not come natural to me. I’m pretty much an open book. But I can also avoid topics or opinions in order to keep the peace or avoid hurting someone. But this may involve some deception of myself in order to accomplish that.

I think there is a difference between being two-faced and keeping your feelings to yourself. I see most politicians as being somewhat 2-faced. To win votes they need to appeal to everyone. That can be hard to do because you can’t please everybody all the time, although they try. And they have to do it in a way so as not to be accused of playing both sides—indeed a fine line.

Raven’s former co-worker seems more the type to put up a front that everything is OK even if it isn’t. It appears to be all internal, as opposed to partaking in gossip or betrayal.

I agree with you that Dr. Obeidi was quite skilled at deception. I wonder if it is easier depending on the level of motivation.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:17 pm

suec, your post remind me of one of my favorite quotes by C. S. Lewis:

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

Unfortunately, Dr. Obeidi was in an environment where he couldn't be sure who might be a friend. He couldn't confide in his family for fear of jeopardizing their safety and he couldn't confide in anyone at work, not knowing who might be reporting back to the powers that be. He was also wary of telling the secret of his garden to the American officer. What a tightrope. :eyebrow:

gemini and nebraska, as we have talked about in other questions, it seems the Eastern culture is much more skilled in these types of conversations, or thought processes, than Westerners.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:07 pm

Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:
I think there is a difference between being two-faced and keeping your feelings to yourself. I see most politicians as being somewhat 2-faced. To win votes they need to appeal to everyone. That can be hard to do because you can’t please everybody all the time, although they try. And they have to do it in a way so as not to be accused of playing both sides—indeed a fine line.



Well, when you pretend to have feelings that you don't really have, then I think you cross that line. When a client you abhor walks in and you are laughing and gracious and SO glad to see them and you are SO sympathetic with their feelings and you are just thrilled to death to be able to help, I think that is dishonest. Can;'t you do your job and still be a little bit cool and distant? :-| Perhaps the real fault lies within myself, that I can't tell the difference between the genuine and the fake act...the gullible American he wrote about, always wanting to believe, always wanting to accept.....and that makes me feel very vulnerable.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:35 pm

nebraska, what you describe is the "face" of corporate America, if you will. There is a level of customer service where you want people to feel welcome and appreciated. When it becomes obviously phoney and fake I would hope people see through that, but the majority of the time people see what they want to see. :eyebrow:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:53 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:nebraska, what you describe is the "face" of corporate America, if you will. There is a level of customer service where you want people to feel welcome and appreciated. When it becomes obviously phoney and fake I would hope people see through that, but the majority of the time people see what they want to see. :eyebrow:


And it is a fine line......only in Dr. Obeidi's case, a miscue could literally have been fatal.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:04 pm

nebraska wrote:
Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:
I think there is a difference between being two-faced and keeping your feelings to yourself. I see most politicians as being somewhat 2-faced. To win votes they need to appeal to everyone. That can be hard to do because you can’t please everybody all the time, although they try. And they have to do it in a way so as not to be accused of playing both sides—indeed a fine line.



Well, when you pretend to have feelings that you don't really have, then I think you cross that line. When a client you abhor walks in and you are laughing and gracious and SO glad to see them and you are SO sympathetic with their feelings and you are just thrilled to death to be able to help, I think that is dishonest. Can;'t you do your job and still be a little bit cool and distant? :-| Perhaps the real fault lies within myself, that I can't tell the difference between the genuine and the fake act...the gullible American he wrote about, always wanting to believe, always wanting to accept.....and that makes me feel very vulnerable.


I have never trusted those who go overboard in that regard. I've always been on my guard with them. I respond better to something in the middle. It is a fine line, as you say.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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