Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are you Leaking?

You have to watch the video before reading the blog. 

Someone aptly penned this most famous line, "It is far better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and erase any doubt."  I don't know about you but I have had more than one experience with opening my mouth and saying something without thinking and then wondering, "Where did that come from?"

     Like for instance while I was taking a class while in seminary a group of students decided to go to a Mexican restaurant for lunch one day.  Now, I have been to dozens and dozens of Mexican restaurants in my life and what I did on this particular day had never happened before.

     But first some background.  I grew up in Tampa Florida and I went to school in Ybor City (pronounces EE BORE), the Latin section of Tampa famous for these kinds of restaurants.  My elementary school was about 50% white kids and 50% Hispanic kids, many of whom spoke Spanish as their primary language at home.  So I quickly acquired the ability to speak with an authentic-sounding Spanish accent.

     Now back to my story.  So we are seated in this Mexican restaurant in the heart of Kansas City MO.  The waiter, who is clearly Hispanic hands us our menus and then asked (in an accent that very closely resembled my authentic-sounding accent) "What would you like to eat?"  I happened to be the first person he asked so I said in my very authentic-sounding Spanish accent, "I would like to have the burrito supreme."  Now everyone at the table had been engaging in small talk, but when I blurted that out in my very authentic-sounding accent, the entire table grew deathly silent.

     It was only then that I realized what I had done.  And I also realized that I had one of two choices to make:  (a) I could, from that point forward, speak with my normal accent, at which time he would know that I was mocking him, or (b) Continue to speak in that really authentic-sounding accent every time he approached the table.  I stuck with plan "b" which caused the rest of the meal to consist of my talking in my really authentic-sounding accent and the entire table bursting out in laughter.

     You would think I had learned my lesson but NO!  Fast-forward to 2009.  My wife and I are sitting in the waiting room of a financial adviser's office on a very hot day. The gentleman we were waiting to see comes out of his office in a very white, very starched dress shirt.  As we shook hands, I noticed that there is a wet spot on his shirt near his left breast.  Once again, without thinking I said, "Are you leaking?"

     My wife later told me that she wanted to find a way, at that very moment, to crawl under the wall-to-wall carpet in the lobby of that place.  There was a pregnant pause.  A very uncomfortable pregnant pause while this man tries to put together some words to explain the fact that he was a little warm and that he had a tendency to sweat heavily.  He even went so far as to explain that he always wore tee-shirts to help alleviate this problem but that it didn't always work.


     These were the very first words my wife said to me after we exited the office and got into the car.

I admitted that I had no idea where that came from and apologized profusely.  She said she forgave me but later took great pride in relating the story to my grown children at first opportunity.

     There are more, but I will save them for another day and another blog.  The point is that we all, at one time or another say something that we later regret.  We would be wise to heed the words of James, where he says (James 1:19) " My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry"

     Someone paraphrased this verse nicely when they said, "Engage brain before engaging mouth."

     We all could do with a little more listening and a little less talking.  It will ultimately save us all from a lot of embarrassment.