Michiana Chronicles: Blurting Out

Dec 4, 2019

Oh Lord help me! There’s no sugar-coating the situation, I’m a blurter! If I hadn’t been quite sure that this is a bad thing, one look at our Dear Leader plunges me into the depths of despair over my situation. This blurting business is not a good thing: raucous laughter, streams of invective and unkind opinions really are best kept internalized.

Sometimes, I do try to repress a thought, often negative, and I am told that I might as well blurt it, because my face screws up and conveys the barely repressed thought anyway. A lot to work on there. Probably a safe bet that I shouldn’t consider diplomacy or live radio just yet as late-life careers.

Not so long ago, in the middle of some muddled thought that was tumbling out my mouth, my ever-cautious husband, Larry, gently reminded me that “It’s important to pick your word before starting out.” Would that this were put into practice by me.

In the 1981 movie, The Four Seasons, the Rita Moreno character said—in a line that resonated with me— “My thoughts are like gumballs. They’re in my head and then they just roll down and pop out of my mouth.” That may not be a verbatim quote, but it certainly conveys the gist of the idea—and of my unfortunate situation.

Do you ever watch former President Obama or almost-former Mayor Pete Buttigieg? When questioned, or just even before speaking, you can see from their faces that thoughts are forming, but you generally have no idea what they may be before, after careful consideration, those thoughts are uttered. What a wonderful gift that must be!

If you’ve ever visited someone in a long-term care facility, you may have noticed that there are “types” who reside there. Usually, there is someone who is yelling, there often is someone who is removing his or her clothing, frequently there is someone who helps him or herself to the possessions of others, and there often is someone loudly spouting out swear words. Pretty sure that I will be that person, much to the dismay of my family. What an embarrassment to have your mother be the one heard up and down the hallways giving vent to rude utterances. I only hope that these will be muffled and muttered, rather than shouted, blurtings.

Do you remember the Estelle Getty character, Sophia, on The Golden Girls? She was the mother of Dorothy, another of the five older women who lived together in a house in Florida. The storyline was that Sophia had a medical condition that had disabled the filtering system in her brain. The offshoot: she too was a blurter. Those gumball thoughts just came rolling out. This occasionally was embarrassing, but to move the storyline alone, it always was amusing. You could tell by the laugh-track. So, I ask myself, is this not too far down the road for me? Will those I know be amused?

Here, I have the opportunity to relay a blurting incident from my own life, but no way is that going to happen! Whatever it was, I’ve humiliated myself once with it, and I’m sure that it doesn’t bear repeating. If you know me, you may have one – or more—of these moments in your memory banks, and if you don’t know me, well, sometimes the Lord provides small mercies and you draw a blank here.

Admittedly, the past three years of watching political news have lowered the bar considerably as to what constitutes moments of ill-formed thoughts that would best have been left unsaid (or un- Tweeted), so there is no need for me, in football parlance, to pile on. Best to remain mum this once.

In some circles, the gathering closes with a prayer, and this seems a good opportunity to trot out one attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. “Blessed the one . . . who is not anxious to speak but reflects prudently on what he has to say and the manner in which he is to reply.” It probably works for blurting women too.

Music: "You Talk Too Much" by Joe Jones