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Judge John Hodgman on Hiding the Broken Parts of Our Past

Deborah writes: My parents gave me their old tea set. One of the cups has a broken handle. When I display it, I turn the broken handle to the wall. My daughter keeps moving the broken cup front and center. She says it reminds her of how her grandmother made her grandfather use that cup, because he was the one who broke it. Please order her to leave it be.

I suppose there’s a version of this story in which your father was always humiliated by the broken cup. If so, I order your daughter to stop it. But really I don’t want to, as what she’s doing is hilarious, and more meaningful, narrative. That cup tells a story about your family. The rest are just dead fly collectors. I say you go ahead and keep trying to hide the broken parts of the past and accept that your daughter will keep revealing them. That’s a story about your family too. About all families, really.

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