Monday, September 20, 2010

In the Diner

I was sitting in the diner this morning in my customary seat by the door, having a conversation, when I saw the shadow of a customer leaving and speaking loudly enough for almost everyone to hear. I didn’t catch the exact comment, but it was something along the lines of the service “driving off all the loyal customers.”

Now, truth be told, I don’t see this guy in there very much. And I find the service very good. Too good, in fact, most often. The coffee cups are never empty, and rarely get to half empty. Only once have I waited some lengthy amount of time for my food to come.

Here’s the funny part: A few minutes later this disgruntled customer came back in the door, walked back to his table, picked up something he forgot, and then left again.

I thought, It must be a little embarrassing to make a big show in leaving and then have to come back and get something you forgot.

It reminds me how easy it is to speak without thinking fully about what we are saying. And how embarrassing it is (or at least should be) to go back and try to undo something we should have though twice about to begin with. Of course some never bother to go back and try to undo it.

Several years ago, on a particular blog, I saw a post about something the late Jerry Falwell had said. (He wasn’t late then.) A few seconds later, Google had informed me what Falwell had actually said, and it wasn’t what he was accused of saying.

Several people commented on the inaccuracy, and the post mysteriously disappeared without a word. Never an apology. No correction. Just silence. The post had been out for several hours, been seen many times no doubt, and yet there was no “I got it wrong.” Those who never googled it were left believing it was true.

But it wasn’t.

I have seen in on other sites as well, often times repeated multiple times. These are things that are demonstrably false, and easily discovered. But some adoring saps will read the blog and praise the author, not having the discernment (and apparently not having google either) to recognize that some things simply aren’t true. And other things have another side.

Here’s my advice: Think carefully before you speak. Because your words don’t taste good when you have to eat them.

Saying dumb things about something or someone merely makes you look like a buffoon. On sure, you will have a few people who hang on every word, and congratulate you.

But most will just roll their eyes at you. And a lot will have a chuckle, just like I did this morning.

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