It’s Stupidity, You Know?

I’ve developed an irritating habit. One that lowers me right into the bubbling bowels of stupidity. I tried going cold turkey; that lasted about eight minutes before my relapse. Consequently, I’m feeling edgy and wringing my hands. No, it’s not nail biting, smoking, excessive spitting or obsessive-compulsive yawning. It’s unthinkingly inserting the words, “you know” in every three to four sentences I speak for no apparent reason. I’m driving me nuts.

Much happiness and pain in life is caused by the words we choose to speak. Words define our experience and create emotions, you know? Yet we often insert unnecessary and worthless words. Or we speak in an abbreviated fashion. I believe there’s a happy middle ground. One devoid of redundancy.

Since I’ve been away on various golf courses the past few days accompanying my younger son on tournaments, I figured it’s prime time to rid myself of my newly discovered, annoying habit. On the first day, I caught myself uttering those errant words six times before seven am (I’d gotten up at 6:45). There was a dry spell for the next two hours, then it started again. By the end of the day, I’d lost count.

On day two, I decided to forgo all speaking and enter my own personal detox program, at least during the morning. I exercised silence. I was amazed at the number of habits that could successfully be wiped out by keeping our mouths closed – smoking, nail biting, alcohol abuse, overeating, thumb sucking, gum cracking, incoherence as well as excessive use of pointless words.

Unfortunately, during my quiet time, a golf dad tagged alongside me, talking all the while. He badly wanted me to ask what he did for a living. First, he told me he worked in an office, then explained where (a Los Angeles high-rise) practically drawing me a map in the sand trap. Next, he talked breathlessly of his clientèle (talent agents, actors, musicians etc.), never once noticing that all I did was nod and smile indulgently. I felt like saying, Buzz off, dude! Can’t you see I’m freakin’ busy?

I tried sending him away with a polite wave of my hand and a few deep sighs, but that only made him talk more. It was like he’d tied a rope to his waist, attaching the other end to me. I broke my vow of silence and said,

“You’re a lawyer.”

“How did you know?”

Well, first of all, most physicians and CPAs don’t gab so tirelessly; in fact, few professionals enjoy hearing themselves speak more. My cursed spell of aimlessly uttering “you know” continued as I spoke, though to a slightly lesser degree.

Husband suggested I speak more slowly (I do have a tendency to get excited when conversing) and pause now and then to exercise better control. It worked.

Yesterday, I uttered only a handful of “you knows” during the entire day. I slowed everything down from my walking to my talking. This promoted more deliberate speech, preventing words tumbling out of my mouth and hitting the ground hard.

Remember, the tongue should be our servant and rendered incapable of running off on its own, as it has a tendency to do, particularly with stupers (short once more, for indisputably stupid persons). Slowing speech down gives us a chance to think before we speak.

Think first.


5 Responses to “It’s Stupidity, You Know?”

  1. Sarah says:

    Good point! I have a few minor bad habits that I know I could wipe out if I just slowed things down. I’m going to try it and see.

  2. Suzie says:

    I know all about annoying habits. And your golf dad sounds like a stuper who wanted attention. I have a relative like that. When she goes to a restaurant, she makes sure everyone knows she is a doctor. Also, she tells everyone her son in law graduated from Yale. Stupers always give way too much information.

  3. Ferd says:

    A few years ago, I signed up for a free daily email that had to do with the Book of Proverbs. that’s basically King Solomon wisdom, supposedly the wisest man who ever lived. I got the emails for a while until I was such a wise guy I couldn’t stand myself. But what is pertinent is that Solomon wrote many blurbs on how to use our speech wisely. He would have liked your blog!
    Good thinking, Keli!

  4. Jennifer says:

    You know, this really made me think.

  5. Keli says:

    Good for you! I think it’s good to take a break now and then and do things in slow motion.
    You’re right on both accounts. Stupers love attention and they give out too much information.
    Thank you, Ferd! I bet you’re still a pretty wise guy!
    You know, thinking is good!

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