Saturday, January 27, 2007
I marvel sometimes at how my point of view regarding things changes as as I...mature (I almost said "age"...the two words aren't necessarily synonomous). I suppose it is to be expected. Experience is supposed to teach you what to expect. So logically experience teaches you to rethink your expectations. So you look at things differently after you've been through them a few times.
This is not to say I consider myself a particularily wise man. I just look at things differently than I did when I was...less experienced (I almost said "younger").
Now looking at things differently doesn't necessarily mean I don't occasionally repeat the same mistakes even after having experienced something that one would think would make me try a different tactic. This mainly involves engaging my mouth before my brain. You'd be amazed at how much faster my mouth is than my brain. I know I am.
I've always had this uncanny ability to be able to blurt out a response to something that, although occasionally quite funny, is often inappropriate or ill timed. Why? Because my brain is usually still reviewing the pros and cons of what I am considering saying while my mouth is already dashing out the door with it like a male dog unleashed on the neighbors poodle in heat. The results are initially quite satisfying but ultimately can lead to a high degree of unanticipated ugliness when the puppies are born.
I'm not even sure where that analogy came from, but it oddly fits (or fits oddly).
Fortunately when I was a child, in addition to having a quick tongue, I also had quick feet to run when what I'd say would sink into my brother's slower brains.
When I got older (yes older) and slower, I learned to control my penchant for blurting things out by mumbling. That way only people with very keen hearing can understand what I'm blurting out. In school this often caused problems for anyone sitting next to me in class. They would burst out laughing at something inappropriate I'd interject regarding the teacher and then get the brunt of the teacher's anger for interrupting the class. I would just sit there smiling angelic-like until I found another opportunity to mumble a wisecrack.
This coping mechanism has stayed with me as an adult in the business world. I get bored easily at meetings and mumble uncontrollably at times. The unfortunate side effect is that my normal speaking voice seems to have become one big mumble. Tess is always asking me to repeat things. Depending on the topic of my mumbling I normally just say in a slightly louder voice, "Oh nothing."
Perhaps this is why I became a writer. It allows me think a bit longer before I speak and it is difficult to mumble when you write. The closest thing there is in the written word to mumbling is gibberish (and some bloggers have turned gibberish into an artform).
Unfortunately, electronic communications have chipped away at that lag time writing used to provide us between thinking and speaking. E-mail (and blog comments) allow us to type before we think. But this is where experience kicks in (I bet you were wondering if there was a caboose to this train of thought). I have learned to type my unthinking responses and then think about them before I hit send. Then in most cases I do the right thing and hit "delete."
I wish I had a delete key for my mouth.