For Frank Abagnale / by Bryce Hidysmith

Impostor syndrome seems to me a historically bounded phenomenon. A majority of people seem to be faking their skill and are still being rewarded. One population normalizes it as somehow the method by which things have always been done, assuming divine intervention or an inexplicable spontaneous generation of functionality from non-functionality. Another population assumes that this claim discontinuous spontaneous generation must be spurious. We—for I am rather obviously in this latter category of belief—begin to assume that we are living on an accumulation of technical credit from the past. In the contract between the dead, the living, and the not-yet-born, someone has defected. When righteousness is lost there are rituals. Rituals are the end of fidelity and honesty, and the beginning of confusion. I remember reading my grandfather's copy of Dag Hammarskjöld's Markings, and noting that he wrote of a mentality and time when it seemed righteousness might be enough. In such a world it might be sufficient to stand tall, not trying to make oneself invisible or prepare posture for boxing—simply a man to behold, a message to send.