Engage Brain before Opening Mouth
Posted On July 15, 2022
It’s not uncommon for me to consider something only after I’ve said it aloud which is the opposite of how it should happen. It usually leads to awkward moments…
I asked a new acquaintance of mine, in a voice that was, perhaps, too loud, if his son was given the name Carson because he was conceived in a car. His wife overheard me, turned and looked at me with an expression of shock and disgust. My acquaintance however, turned to me, smiled, and started nodding. His wife then turned to him with a more severe look of shock and disgust. I could see an awkward moment brewing between them, so I told them, in a voice that was, perhaps, too loud, that I was only curious because my wife and I had initially planned to name our oldest son Plane-son. My wife overheard me turned and looked at me with an expression of shock and disgust mixed with the expression of “you and I are going to have a talk later”. And this is how my wife and I began meeting the other parents on my son’s middle school baseball team.
Have you ever had a thought that, the first time you consider it, is after its left your mouth and is “out there.” Where you say it out loud and then wonder, “Where did that came from?” And you wish that your brain would give you a moment or two to edit what you’re thinking before it escapes and you watch as expressions quickly change and you realize a boundary line has been crossed or a sense of decency has been breached. It’s a condition I live with and at least once a week I realize an inappropriate and unedited thought has introduced itself to me too late based on the expressions of those around me. It’s the reason I find myself rushing client calls. I fear saying the wrong thing before I think about it and having it spoil a work opportunity.
I’m the first to forgive anyone who says something off the cuff and it turns out inappropriate. I can relate and I assure them no offense was taken. I’m surrounded by friends who understand my malady and as many times as they’ve told me to first engage my brain before engaging my mouth, I think they’ve finally understood that there are times I’m a passenger on my own train with no idea where it’s going, only that it’s quickly and unexpectedly left the station.
And my wife is patient. Whether it’s things I’ve said, ideas I’ve had that I hold too tightly to, or whatever, she realizes that this brain of mine never intends harm or offense, but can run amok and warrants her persistent calm attention. I may dig in on an idea, but usually, in the end, I realize my ideas were rushed, and poorly thought out. Like our youngest son’s name. I fought for it but in the end I’m grateful my wife convinced me that the name Canoe-son was not a good idea.
I’m Cam Marston and I will never let the truth get in the way of a good story.