The Mouth of Truth (La Bocca della Verità) resides in the portico of the basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. As with most people, I first learned of this sculpture from the movie “Roman Holiday” starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. A young Gregory Peck fed into my attraction for freakishly tall, dark and handsome men. In the film, Joe informs Princess Anya that the legend of the Mouth of Truth holds that if someone stuck his/her hand in the mouth and made a statement that was a lie, the Mouth would chop off his hand. More modern legends, sort of the Snopes.com of early 20th century Rome, tell that priests would sit on the other side of the Mouth as if it were a confessional and unleash pet scorpions to sting parishioners the priest deemed to be liars.
I visited this church with my ex in 2005 because we both really loved this film, probably both because of Gregory Peck. I didn’t know until we went there that one of the other great tourist attractions housed by the church is St. Valentine’s skull in a glass box on display. One does not need to be Tom Hanks’ character in “Angels & Demons” to understand the symbolism here. It should have been a warning to me, but I was delusional. I’m starting to tell strangers that I was part of a cult and given mind controlling drugs for 10 years.
My ex stuck his hand in the mouth, but conveniently stayed silent for a photo op so I never learned that he was a liar. I refused the photo op, because I was certain there would be giant spiders inside.
In reality the Mouth of Truth is most likely a sculpture of the Roman god Mercury or the Greek god Oceanus. I try not to think about this too much, because my muse, Momus, is Greek and I really don’t want the gods to get into a fight at my expense. I need their help, not to cause a civil war. Dionysus and Bacchus just won’t let the last one go.
Despite the questionable circumstances surrounding my personal visit to the Mouth of Truth, I believe it is a great mascot for this blog.. I strive to tell the truth, with minimal embellishment for comedic effect. As I tell all my online dates, my life is an open book.
I know others have suffered more, and others have coped in healthier ways, but my point is to just have the courage to put it all out there in a way that (hopefully) makes people laugh. The more I say, the more people laugh, the more they are encouraged to share their stories, and the more they heal. And then they pay it forward. I truly believe that is the point of everything I have endured, of every gift I’ve been given, and the reason why I am here.