Monday, August 18, 2014


                            DEATH  BY SYLLABLES

     “STOP TALKING!” came out of my 14-year-old grandson’s mouth numerous times in the three short days we were visiting. His cry was always directed at his eight-year-old brother who has a gift for gab (talks non-stop). I found that during this visit the young funny man was rather quiet in comparison to other visits, but maybe it’s because I don’t live in their world, as the 12-year-old brother suggested. The amusing part of this story is that there are so many times every week that I want to scream these words to someone--not children--adults, sometimes even friends who just don’t know when to quit. As the Emperor, Joseph II, said to Mozart--”too many notes,” I want to scream “TOO MANY WORDS. ENOUGH!” 

     There are certain people who have no clue how much they talk. When I am forced to listen because I am way too polite, I have discovered warning signs disguised in the following:

“because. . . “
“Let me tell you a story.”
“And then, you won’t believe what happened. . . “
“I’ll make this short.” 
“I won’t bore you with the details.”
“We started the first day of our six-week trip by. . . “
“To get there, you start by. . . “
“The ingredients are somewhat unusual.”
“My opinion on this very controversial issue is. . . “

     Oh, Lord, please spare me. Anytime I hear any of the above, I know I’m screwed. This monologue could last anywhere from ten minutes to thirty, and my cheeks can only shift 13 times per paragraph. 

     What’s wrong with people? Do they not know this is the 21st century, and troubadours are out? Did anyone tell them about taking a breath or watching for the “glazed look?” No matter what body language I give these people from looking at the ceiling to rolling my eyes to standing up and sighing loudly, they just keep talking. “STOP TALKING!” I murmur under my breath, but aloud I have even been known to ask for clarification. Now that’s just downright dumb!

     If I’m lucky, the people flapping their jaws are mildly interesting, and if God is looking down on me, they’re even funny. Funny is fab; interesting is good. Boring is death by syllables.

     This begs the question: Who is more guilty of dominating a conversation? Men or women? As a female, I hate to say it, but we are guilty not so much of dominating, but of detailing. Some of us feel that every color, fabric, molecule, ingredient, attitude must be explained. They do not. No one cares. As a male friend once said to me, “Cut to the chase.” Another kinder male, said, “Ba dip ba dip ba dip.” I got the message. (Fortunately for Mr. Wonderful, that was in 1974).

      Some men, au contraire, dominate. They just talk over anyone who has a tiny little opinion or wants to utter an “uh huh.” Polite idiots like me just smile and listen, gritting our molars. 

When I grow up, I want to be rude.