We are a society of motormouths. Yes. Us. And by us, I mean us ugly Americans.
There is a reason we got that unattractive nickname overseas. And we continue to display it with alarming regularity. We’re not always dissing another culture, though. Many times, we’re unwittingly dissing the person sitting right next to us.
We. Can’t. Shut. Up. Our modus operandi now seems to be to talk everything to death, in a very public forum (as long as it’s not about us, mind you).
Case in point: I am sitting with several friends. We all have children about the same age. One father begins to discuss in quiet tones his neighbor’s son, who does not quite fit into the group playing in the backyard. “He is on the spectrum, for sure, and it’s just a pain to have him over.” I sit, painfully aware that the mother on the other side of me has an autistic son who does not get a lot of invitations. She quietly bites her tongue but I can see the wheels turning in her head as this father goes on and on about how much of a pain this child is.
At book club, years ago, I listened to an overly opinionated hyper-conservative home schooler discuss what a myth depression is. She ranted on about people who depend upon medication rather than themselves and how pitiful it is—that they must lack a backbone, etc. I sat, uncomfortably cognizant of the fact that the woman on my left has a family history of depression and takes medication just to get through her day. She dropped out of book club after that evening.
At a recent girls night out, the resident motormouth gossips salaciously about the minister’s wife, who found out her husband was skimming the coffers for years, had put her into horrible debt and was fooling around with the church secretary. Again I sit, the only one who knows that the new woman at the gathering has a philandering husband she has been unable to bring herself to divorce.
Shaddup, shaddup, shaddup.
You don’t need me to continue. The mothers at school who gossip about their children’s peers or other parents—and worse yet, allow their children to hear it. The divorced hostess who unwittingly tells one of her guests about the man that asked her out—not realizing that man is this guest’s husband. (Oh yes. That was a particularly fun one, folks.)
Do I hang out with unusually salacious, misguided individuals? No. But real people have real problems. Most of us just keep them hidden and suffer in silence. Until some fool starts yapping about things they have no business yapping about.
So many good books, life experiences, inspiring pieces of art and exciting sports matches to talk about and THIS is the best we can do?
If so, we’d be better off shutting our pie holes, borrowing a phrase from our overseas brethren. Who, I believe, still hold we merit our nickname.
Let’s bring some class to the party, people. There is a reason cocktail party conversation is a genre in and of itself. If you haven’t yet mastered it, shaddup. Before your big ‘ole foot gets stuck in that big ‘ole mouth.
‘nough said. I think I’ll shaddup now.