Most of us have done it at some time or the other. We open our mouths and the words come spewing forth before our brain checks us, and we embarrass ourselves. It’s that old “foot in the mouth” syndrome.
I’m probably one of the worst or the lot because I usually see things with a slant toward humor. In other words, if you ask me how your hair looks, I’m not one of those people who will say it looks great when it looks like a bed of rats made a nest in it. More than likely I’ll give you vague comment like “well, I didn’t realize teasing had made a comeback”. I never like to hurt people’s feelings, but I’ve discovered some people take my frank comments way too personal. Besides, what real difference does it matter what I think? You’re the one with the rats’ nest on your head.
But on occasion, I have felt bad about some of my off-handed remarks in trying to be funny. For instance, the other day I started onto an elevator which already contained a large number of rather “large” people. I stepped into the elevator and before I thought said, “Maybe I need to get off because we don’t want to exceed the weight capacity.” Now, in my mind I was referring to the number of us, but in hindsight I can see where I might have offended several of these people. Of course, the minute I heard the words out loud, I was sorry. I was even sorrier that I had not stepped off the elevator and had to ride several floors down with them.
I once attended one of those lazy man dinners I call them. That’s where everyone comes and has to bring some dish for a group function. (Oh, I’ll probably catch flack for that one.) Anyway, I was walking along with a very good friend of mine deciding what to eat in a sea of different dishes when I came upon one of those green gelatin salads. Those who have read some of my other articles know how I feel about eating or drinking anything green. I made an aside comment to my friend, “I hate those green things and don’t see why they brought it.” Then as I was looking over the food, I said, “What did you bring?” And you know it, she pointed across the table and said, “The green salad.” She’s a very good friend, thank goodness and knows me too well.
One time I was caught at work dancing down the stairwell to the old Dr. Pepper song they used in the commercials years ago. For those who don’t remember, it was something like “I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper…” I don’t remember all the words because it’s probably been 30 years ago, but it was a real catchy tune and was great to do a little imitation of Jimmy Cagney dancing down the White House steps in “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. It was unfortunate that the Dean of the school where I was working at the time was entering the stairwell with some visiting alumni at the time. Needless to say, he didn’t find it as entertaining as I would have hoped.
I say life is too short for us not to have a little fun, and if getting caught sometimes inserting our foot into our mouth is the price we pay, then so be it. So next time you get into a crowded elevator, once the door closes, turn and face the people and say, “Okay, now, on the count of three everybody sing.” Kick off “Happy Birthday”, and you might be surprised how many will join you. Have a little fun.