It’s a simple object. A backscratcher actually, with centuries of significance in Chinese culture. So why did I think it was an ancient carpeting tool all these years until a push-hands partner from China showed me otherwise?
Years ago, I had a close friend named David Moerler who was half-Chinese by birth, who told me all sorts of things about Chinese culture, martial arts, and who knows what else. But he really just made it all up as he went along — even his non-existent heritage and martial arts experience. He couldn’t tell the truth about the simplest things to save his life, and I didn’t figure it out until years later. I even spent a couple years setting up and running a martial arts school under his fake credentials while he was in the Navy. Blows my mind, really. A major lesson in evaluating and respecting where you get your information from.
But the tough part was after I found out the truth. I spent years separating what was real teaching (in martial arts mostly) and what he made up. History, technique … everything came into question and to this day I sometimes catch myself wondering if this or that tidbit of information came from David. Which is why I am glad to have saved myself the embarrassment of passing on one more inaccurate piece of trivia by asking someone who actually knew.
David always knew everything — or at least he had an answer. But at least I know why.