Know Whom You’re Speaking To

Since it’s Memorial Day weekend I thought I’d share a memory that is both of a cautionary measure as well as reminding us, when it comes to laughing – sometimes it’s ourselves where we must start.

There are times when we can’t help ourselves but to express either our dismay or, we’ll laud over someone we think should hear our thoughts. Doesn’t matter whether good or bad. There are those times we throw the transmission drive of our mouths into “peddle to the metal” status and let-er-rip! Who cares where the finish line is for as far as we’re concerned: speed and volume is all that matters here.

Many times we do this for we’ll believe we may never get this chance again. Problem is, we may never get the chance again for reasons we didn’t think about before we started. That’s why there’s a brake pedal and sometimes a clutch to help put all those forces together smoothly as well as helping to slow it down when necessary.

However, that doesn’t hinder us from using our tools in reckless abandonment. And just like any vehicle; sooner or later it’ll careen out of control and crash from being driven like a maniac. We find the same consequences happening when our lips flap wildly out of control. Let me share a glaring example of “reckless driving” perpetrated by yours truly.

Years back I had the pleasure to share a ride to Logan airport with a senior V.P. of operations for a very famous, and very large corporation. (not being coy, I’ll share who later) We introduced ourselves and I inferred he was one of the “big wigs” at CVS™.

Near immediately after the pleasantries I launched into a near fawning over the idea his company supported and paid for the sponsored driver assist vehicles that patrolled the major highways in and around Boston and elsewhere. I went on to say just how “wonderful, and great” this was. And how I was helped personally one time with a flat tire in rush hour traffic.

I went on, and on about how much I thought this service was such a great use of resources and the goodwill it produces. I went on, and on, and on. This man just sat and listened and agreed with my statements all the while just smiling and nodding in agreement. He never once interrupted me. (I wondered later if he really ever could) I just kept right on talking and heaping praise while articulating my opinion further.

Finally we arrived at the airport and as we went for our luggage I proceeded to insist and pulled his up in a show of “Here let me get that for you and once again – thanks!”

We shook hands and right before he turned is when I noticed the very prominent laminated ID badge on his briefcase. Yes he was the a very big V.P. as I alluded to earlier. Just not with CVS – he was with CBS®! (I later learned he was not a “title” but was actually very much in charge of many aspects of their company.)

Everything that I said during that ride, the examples, the insights, all of it had nothing to do with him or his company. Yes, he knew it also for I know I went into great detail how that “CVS” brand was doing wondrous things! And how he could use me as a living example since I had been helped by it: There was no way I would get my medications elsewhere willy-nilly. I was now brand loyal!”

I’ll garner in retrospect he probably felt after the first or second time he tried to correct me it was far easier to just let me ramble on. Because if there’s one thing I know about myself is that once I get rolling – It’s all down hill with no brakes from there.

The only time I truly disengaged my mouth was when I realized who and what had just transpired as he walked away. The only words I heard after he said “Well, nice meeting you and have a great day!” was my inner voice chastising myself for being so glaringly dumb.

Over the years that I’ve shared this story I sometimes ponder. Who gets more laughs when telling it. Me?

Or him?

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr