May 15, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I come from a long line of talkers. The more a talker talks, the greater likelihood of a gaffe.

Nineteen twenty-six, Springfield, Illinois -- When my grandfather was a young sales representative, he was walking with a customer. A woman of grand size walked ahead of them – her large bulk evident about a block away.

“That’s the fattest woman I’ve ever seen,” said my lean, six-foot something grandfather to his companion and customer.

“That’s my sister,” the soon-to-be-ex-customer said.

Not knowing exactly what to say, my now horrified grandfather spit out, “Oh, but I’ll bet she’s awfully nice!”

And that was the end of that.

Nineteen eighty-one, Columbia City, Indiana – My cousin saw a friend in the bathroom at a wedding reception.

“Great to see you, when is your baby due?” inquired my curious cousin.

“I’m not pregnant,” retorted the soon-to-be-ex-friend.”

And that was the end of that.

Nineteen ninety-eight, West Lafayette, Indiana – Our family is enjoying a sumptuous Christmas dinner, with great food and much laughter. We are discussing Christmas traditions.

My father looks straight at his two grandsons – age eight and both only children – and says, “When did you boys learn that Santa Claus isn’t real?”

Both boys burst into tears.

And that was the end of that.

Yesterday, Evansville, Indiana -- I was calling on an account I have had for more than ten years. I was curious as to why Melissa was eating chips and salsa at 9 o’clock in the morning.

I asked her, “Don’t you know that Cinco de Mayo was over a week ago?”

She glared at me and began speaking in Spanish, which I will loosely translate, “You are an idiot. Cinco de Mayo is a made-up American holiday, and the real Mexican independence day is celebrated in the fall.”

And that was the end of that.

The lesson I continue to learn – over and over and over – is think before I open my big, fat yapper.

And that is the end of that.