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2010-06-18 digital edition

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2010-06-18 / General Stories

Silence Is Golden

I have often heard that talk is cheap because the supply always exceeds the demand. Never is that adage as true as when I am having a “conversation” with my elevenyear old.

The conversation is mostly one-sided with an occasional “uh huh” when I can fit a word in edgewise, just to prove I was listening. I really do try to listen because you never know when a pearl of wisdom or a stroke of genius might emerge from his constant stream of yammering. But after fifteen minutes of listening to a Bionicle adventure about some creature that, when pronounced correctly, sounds like a sneeze, I tend to zone out.

The child does not know how to stop talking without someone telling him to do so. I believe it might be some kind of disease. Recently, I heard on the radio about a new program to help people who are addicted to talking. It’s called On and On Anon.

I wonder if they take children who talk about things nobody else cares about. I mean, it seems to me that if you were to belong to such a group, you should be required to have something meaningful to contribute. I think, though, that if everyone is talking at the same time, it really doesn’t matter what they are saying.

My son will be going into 7th grade this year and like all middleschoolers, he’s concerned about the other kids liking him. Up till now his strategy has apparently been to take the entire contents of his brains and dump it into the ears of his listeners until they decided that he was so smart and witty they couldn’t help but be his friend.

I tried to tell him that he might be considered egotistical if he was trying to win friends by telling them how smart he was.

“What’s egotistical mean, Mom?”

“An egotist opens his mouth and puts his feats into it,” I explained.

“Oh.” “You know, your grandma used to say that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we talk.”

“Well, people might think I’m dumb if I don’t talk.”

“A wise person, obviously not me, once said that it is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

“But what if I do something really cool? How will I tell people about it?”

“Well, your work will speak for itself. And when it does, you probably shouldn’t interrupt. It’s rude.”

As this sunk in, he started telling me about a video game he’s into that he thinks “speaks for itself.” He talked.and talked. and talked.

It reminded me of another famous adage, “Silence is golden”.but duct tape is silver.

You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.

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