Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You sound so much better with your mouth shut.

Today's strange question: How much time does it take you to think?

I don't mean how long does it take to plan out a list or remember song lyrics; I'm talking about the amount of time necessary to formulate a single up or down vote in your head.

A split second—that's what I'm thinking.

Like checking your fly before exiting the restroom, like remembering to make sure the iron is unplugged before leaving, it's nothing more than a neurological impulse, really.

Oh, but it can mean so much.

I'm referring to Sunday's appearance on CBS's Face the Nation by newly minted Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus (By the way, who names their kid "Reince?" It sounds like some chemical Rumsfeld said was buried in Iraq, but wasn't).

Priebus declared that Barack Obama was "our own little Captain Schettino," referring to the pilot of the ill-fated cruise ship who allegedly abandoned his vessel after running it aground off the Italian coast. Over thirty passengers perished or are currently missing.

Maintaining that the analogy is accurate and appropriate, Chairman Reince accused President Obama of abandoning America during its time of crisis for the sake of his re-election campaign.

How do you feel about such a statement?

Regardless of your political affiliation, would you not consider such a remark egregiously inflammatory—likening the President's behavior to an alleged act of homicidal negligence and cowardice?

In case you're wondering, I would. Had Priebus (also a very strange name) allowed his vitriolic thoughts to bounce around his cranial racket ball court for a couple of seconds, he may have thought better of vomiting up such churlish chump chunks.

In other words, he didn't double-check his pie hole fly.

Look, I'm the last person to claim immunity to such outbursts; then again, I don't occupy a position of power and influence, unless I'm standing at Subway with all those bread and meat choices.

Self-talk, in my opinion, plays a critical role in everything we say—the variable in this equation is whether this inner dialogue occurs before or after we make a statement.

For example, a few years ago at my wife's company Christmas party, I found myself seated next to one of the firm's partners, a very wealthy man. Having already consumed a couple of pops and attempting to make conversation, I leaned over and asked, "So, when you order a pizza, does the delivery guy ever get lost since the houses aren't numbered in your gated community?"

My hypothetical self-talk, had I thought for even a second prior to asking, should have been: "Do not ask him that, you idiot. Just talk about wine or something."

My actual self-talk, subsequent to actually asking the question: "Oh, my God. You are an idiot. You are so going to hear about this on the way home."

In another case of nonexistent self-editing, as I lie prone on the exam table mere seconds before my vasectomy was to begin, I tilted my head upward and said to the urologist, "I'd just like you to keep a couple of things in mind as you do this."

The doctor didn't understand the joke and asked, "Okay, what are they?"

My hypothetical self-talk, had I thought for even a second prior to saying that, should have been: "If he doesn't understand your joke, your next statement will have to be 'my testicles.' Is that what you want?"

My actual self-talk, subsequent to actually making the joke: "Oh, my God. You are an idiot. Now you have to say, 'my testicles'."

And finally, a couple of weeks ago, my family posed for a series of portraits at a professional studio. Having accomplished an entire session without saying something stupid, as we left the room I queried, "Can we just get a couple quick shots of me not wearing a shirt?"

My hypothetical self-talk, had I thought for even a second prior to asking that, should have been: "Do not say that. Your wife and kids will be embarrassed and pissed and that poor photographer will visualize your bare torso against her will."

My actual self-talk, subsequent to actually making the joke: "Oh, my God. You are an idiot, " followed by the audible sounds of my family proclaiming, "Oh, my God. You are an idiot."

And so, Mr. Reince Priebus, you of the strange name and absent thought filter, please apologize for your ridiculous comments...

...or God so help me, I'll take off my shirt.

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