if you only knew

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redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Friends, and enemies alike, question me "You do know wreslting's fake, right?" And when I was young the question really bothered me. I was ready to defend the profession like it was my own. To me it was. But now I just smile while nodding and thinking to myself, "If you only knew."

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/124012-how-wrestling-stole-my-soul-and-created-my-identity

I don't quite understand the connotation of "If you only knew". Does it mean "everyone knows wrestling is fake, you don't need to bother me with such silly question".
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    No, it means that he still believes that wrestling is not fake. Instead of defending the profession, he's keeping quiet while not agreeing with everyone else. "If you only knew" is a slightly sardonic way of keeping one's thoughts to oneself. It can be said to oneself (as in your context) or said aloud ie:

    A: "I hear that you had a date with that hot cheerleader. Did she put out for you?"
    B: "If you only knew"

    This is a way of maintaining one's private thoughts, not divulging what you really think or what really happened and yet keeping the other party guessing.
     

    dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    Friends, and enemies alike, question me "You do know wreslting's fake, right?" And when I was young the question really bothered me. I was ready to defend the profession like it was my own. To me it was. But now I just smile while nodding and thinking to myself, "If you only knew."

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/124012-how-wrestling-stole-my-soul-and-created-my-identity

    I don't quite understand the connotation of "If you only knew". Does it mean "everyone knows wrestling is fake, you don't need to bother me with such silly question".
    It seems to be quite cryptic. I think, though, that the key to it might be further down in the article:

    Wrestling had stolen my soul. But at the same time it provided me with an escape. While everyone else called it fake, to me it was the real world. I found that life often resembled wrestling.
    When he says "If only you knew", he could be saying that whether wrestling is fake or not isn't important. He has since discovered other aspects to wrestling - for example, that life often resembled wrestling. He knows that now.

    In other words, "If only you knew what I now know".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with Dermott. The if you only knew is a way of mysteriously suggesting that there is some way in which it's not fake (in some different manner) for him. It's a sort of rhetorical gesture to suggest that something important is coming.
     
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