I got an ad from a How 2 Rite service that claimed it would tell me the "top five death-bed requests of writers."
Niggling questions immediately pop into one's mind. Do writers have enough death-bed requests to compile a "best of"? Don't most people say something like "Could I have some water? A-a-a-ack!" Or perhaps refer to someone close to them, or to an enemy they hope will follow them soon to the grave.
But no. They supposedly asked a "group of writers," and this was the answer:
If you went through life without ever trying to get published or paid for your writing, what would be your biggest regret?
A group of writers was asked this question. Here were the five most common answers:
“I’d never know if I could have made it.”
“I’d never find my voice.”
“I’d never get to show others what I’m capable of.”
“I’d hate not having the freedom to do what I want.”
And the top answer of all, was:
“I couldn’t live a life true to myself.”
Some versions of the first four, maybe, though actual writers might be more specific. But that last Poloniusism is as vile as it is familiar. How might one live a life not true to oneself? If you live "falsely," whatever that really means, it becomes your life, and thus becomes what you lived, and therefore true.
Of course in the play, the line is a laugh line, because Polonius is a strutting blowhard.
I suppose you could take a charitable attitude, and interpret the line as "don't kid yourself [about yourself]," which is hard to disagree with – though in fact disagreeing would be a fun rhetorical exercise.
No time for that kind of fun right now. On to work.