Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

My Photo
Location: Georgia, United States

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Motor Mouths

People have no idea the damage they can do with just a few words. A carelessly spoken thought or a not very well planned remark is the bane of the human experience. In this day and age of advanced technology where we can communicate with people half way around the world easier than we can call across town there should be so much thought and so much attention given to what we say. Yet very few people actually do this.

Case in point: Chris Matthews saying that he “forgot” Obama was black during the State of the Union Address. What? Come again? I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I first saw reports of this. I don’t know what this guy meant when he said those now infamous words but he has created yet another chasm in a time when we as Americans should be more united than ever. Forgot he was black? Yeah, right, and the Godfather made all his money selling olive oil.

This isn’t just the case in the media either. It happens in everyday life with most of the people we run into. Folks just don’t give any thought to what they’re going to say before they say it. I don’t think everyone actually means some of the dumb things that come out of their mouths (at least I hope they don’t!) but they just don’t give any consideration to how they are going to sound. It baffles me when I hear some of the remarks people make. I am not a bit surprised that people get into fist fights for what later seems to be something miniscule. At the time of the fracas, I’m sure that whoever started the fight just took something the wrong way. Self control would be a good lesson to follow but that is another show.

Don Imus springs to mind as well whenever I consider this dilemma. How he could have openly said what he did about those female basketball players on live radio just floors me! Even after he lost his job, made his apologies, and started over someplace else, I can still barely believe he thought there would be some type of reasonable explanation for those classless words he spoke on that fateful day.

I always try very hard to think about what I’m going to say before I say it, and also about how it might sound to whoever I’m talking to at the time. I’m not perfect. I’ve put my foot in my mouth on more than one occasion too. I once asked my cousin what happened to her hair after she’d had a frizzy perm put in, when what I meant was how long she’d had that style. It came out wrong. These things happen. Usually they happen at the most inopportune times too. I can excuse someone making a silly mistake but I can’t abide someone being rude or facetious or just plain mean when they don’t temper their words. Saying the first thing that comes to mind is only funny in sitcoms, you know.

Politicians have been saying stupid stuff for years too. When George W. Bush said he didn’t realize there was anything wrong with the economy just a couple of years ago, I honestly thought he’d just said the wrong words, although later I came to understand that he really wasn’t kidding! Jimmy Carter “lusted in his heart” before ten million people in the seventies. Richard Nixon said he wasn’t a crook. Gerald Ford said “God told” him to pardon Nixon for the Watergate scandal. I could go on and on with this line of thought but you get the point.

Maybe it’s just part of the human condition to embarrass ourselves sometimes. Maybe people often take things the wrong way. Maybe some folks should just keep their mouths shut in the first place. Honestly, you know. I mean, have you ever heard Rush Limbaugh say anything that wasn’t completely inane? His mouth is a walking garbage disposal. I’m not going for laughs with that sentiment either.

One of the things I try to help people with is understanding that what they say can have a worse and more immediate impact than most of the things they do. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to just hesitate for a moment before our mouths get into overdrive and ask ourselves how we would feel if someone said what they were thinking to us. We could all do a lot for ourselves and our fellow man if we just watched what we say to each other.

Motor mouths are constantly getting into the news with their antics and their often ridiculous remarks. Don’t be a motor mouth, eh? Let’s set an example for others and remember that it has to start with us as individuals in order for change to come about.

And that is my sole focus for now...