I am reading my first noir novel written by Ross Macdonald titled, “Black Money.” I am enjoying the book very much and would recommend it to everyone. While reading the book this morning I came across some lines that put me in a daze.
To set the stage, the private eye is being paid to find out whether a man is a real Frenchman or not. The private eye is investigating a lead and asks him, “Do you think he (the Frenchman) is an imposter?” The lead then replies with this answer. “We all are, to some extent, wouldn’t you say? Take me, for instance. I’m a solitary drinker, as you can see. The more I drink, the more sorely I am tempted to conceal it. The only way I can preserve any integrity at all is by drinking openly.”
The lines made me question myself, made me ask if I am an imposter myself. But moreover, the lines made me think of something else. They made me think about how I might change the way I conduct myself depending on which type of people I am around. I never thought of myself as having this problem until I read the lines in this book. But as I sat there and thought about it, I realized I do, I really change my conduct depending on whom I am talking with or which type of people I am hanging around. Is this bad?
I am not saying I change my morals depending on which type of people I am around, but my body language changes, my vocabulary changes and my attitude changes. What I might say to a college professor is different than what I would say when surrounded by my peers. So in a way, I agree with lead from the novel being questioned by the private eye. “We all are, to some extent” an imposter. Changing our ways depending on who we are talking to and who we are hanging around.
To answer my question of whether this problem of being an imposter is bad or not, I don’t think it is. Why? Because it is natural. People affect each other in many different ways. Any good salesman of anything will tell you that one must adapt to the person he is trying to sell to so that their communication will be similar.
However, I do believe that it might become unhealthy when one starts holding secrets. Like the lead from the novel. One begins being a true imposter when a person starts concealing secrets. In conclusion, changing how we act or what we say when around different types of people or groups, is natural. And while it might seem like that is being an imposter, I don’t think it is.