As a youth, I remember watching a Ronald Reagan movie for the first time. I knew him, then, as a former actor and politician—a man who had his eyes fixed on the presidency, not an Academy Award. I was struck in the film not by how the future president delivered his lines, which he did reasonably well in my opinion, but by his reactions to his co-stars delivering theirs. Actually, they would be better described as no reactions. Reagan seemed only to be awaiting his turn again.
Fast forward to the present and I am besieged in the bright light of day—real life—with all too many individuals just waiting for their turns. Men and women who relish holding court—period and end of story. People who seek out any old pair of ears within shouting distance so they can ramble on and on and on about their extraordinary lives and times; so they can flaunt their incredible knowledge and insight on matters great and small.
This sort of behavior bothers me so much now that I’ve literally run into traffic to avoid some of these self-absorbed bores, who don’t care a whit what I, or anyone else for that matter, have to say. I’m a big believer in conversation, but not one-way conversation where I silently sit or stand at attention. It appears Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer weren’t the only ones averse to learning. There are an awful lot of folks in my circle who love nothing more than the sounds of their own voices. Anything I might say—a word in edgewise—acts merely as a segue and is fuel for further raving. Let me tell you what happened to me.
Well, the court is now in session and I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You blowhards and know-it-alls—and you don’t know who you are, that’s the problem—just might want to listen on occasion to others. You will be surprised that there are actually a few things you don’t know. It’s possible, too, that you might actually learn an invaluable thing or two. You’ll still get your say. Fear not! And if you engage in genuine give-and-take with your family, friends, and neighbors, they might even be enlightened by something you have to say. Anything’s possible. But until that time, I’m still going to assume the risk of running into traffic to avoid you when I can—because I know who your are—and tune you out when I have no choice but to be in your intolerable presence.