This one is kinda bleak, but it’s also true. I’ll admit that the title is a little over the top, but hear me out: People mostly talk to throw their own voice into the mix. Maybe they just love the sound of it, maybe they have something important to tell (according to themselves), maybe something really funny happened or maybe they just need to get something off their chest. Either way, they aren’t doing for your benefit; they’re doing it for their own.
We all know the old adage, and like many, I’ve grown sick and tired of having conversations where people just talk to hear their own voice. Couldn’t we rather enjoy the silence for once, huh? On certain days, this gets so bad that I just decide to keep my mouth shut. And people don’t really seem to notice it, because they’re all busy talking about their own things. But then suddenly someone sees me, and feel the need to tell me that I’ve been quiet lately. ‘Well, you know what? It sounds like you people pretty much got this covered. I’ll be over here with my thoughts . . . they ones you just interrupted to tell me that I’m being quiet.’ I’ll admit once again that I’m being bit of a negative Nelly here. People talk to one another (or past one another); it’s how we pass the time. If the conversations are boring, I can either try to contribute or I can leave. Sometimes, I kinda feel like the angsty teenager that wants to get invited to the party just so he can decline the invitation. But there is more to this. I can endure boring small-talk as well as the next person, but when people make the conversation about me when I’m not participating, I get pissy! And you wouldn’t find me nearly as complacent and non-threatening when I’m pissy! (Working on a punchline for a superhero . . . how’s that one?) I’ll try to explain:
When people tell me that I should be a stand-up comedian, do you know what I do?
Well, I don’t go do stand-up, that’s for damn sure! Instead, I keep being as funny as I possibly can, making sure the person who said it stands by his or her opinion. If I actually went on to do a stand-up show, there would be rules and requirements, and the audience would be totally different. Sure, I could really rock, but I’d probably be slaughtered by both crowd and judges. The same goes for talent shows and song contests. “Oh, my friends all told me I could sing!” Well, you can sing; you just can’t do it very well…
I realize that since the dawn of time, humans have worked hard for confirmation. Everyone wants to be good at something and everyone wants to succeed; but does that mean we have to constantly keep score and test ourselves?
I, for instance have a really good memory (or so I’m told). Given a little bit of time and a thread to grab, I can remember most days of my life, down to the tiniest detail. Do you know what happens when I tell people that? They test me and put me on the spot! And if I fail their tests, I’ll have proven to them that my memory is not that good. This is why I don’t tell people about it; I just keep remembering stuff instead, proving every day that I have a good memory. And that’s all I need, really, anything more would just amount to a stupid party trick.