the words of tim walker

the taming of the sass mouth

i’ve always had a wicked tongue.
i can slice and dice with the best of them.
i’m not physically strong, but i can hold my own in a cut-down, and there’s an evil pride that comes over me with a well-delivered, verbal blow.
i feel like a super villain engaged in an epic battle with fire coming out of my mouth.
[insert geek snort.]

in college and in my 20s, i built some great friendships based on this ability.
i was funny.
i was admired.
i was sharp.
but the reality is that many times, i was mean.

i could critique someone in a single breath.
clothes. hair. style of music. intelligence.
but the target of all of my verbal assaults were never spoken directly.
they were whispered to friends, or said well away from the object of my verbal torture.
the pretty people. the popular people. the more successful people.
i would have been right at home in a john hughes film, except this went well beyond my teenage years.

i still have this “skill,” and it leaks out occasionally.
but there’s a big difference—i don’t like to use it as much now.

sure, i see someone and think of the potential good material they are supplying me with for mock and ridicule. but the problem now is that i don’t just see an outfit, or an attitude. i see a person.
and that really messes with my verbal slice and dice.

plus, i realize that i am no longer entertaining others.
i’m modeling a behavior for my boys.
and well, it’s not so funny anymore.

that doesn’t mean that i don’t like an occasional jab. it makes me feel sharp to pick up something that is dropped easily, some really good material for a comeback, and turn it around for a witty retort.

but i resist the urge when it cuts someone down to make me look better.
most of the time.
i’m realizing that it just seems kind of foolish for a 45-year-old man to cut people down.
and maybe to someone older, it looked foolish when i did it at 25 as well.

maybe it’s because the world has become so critical.
when i was doing it, it was a novelty. now, it’s so mainstream.
everyone has an opinion about everything.
and i’m kind of weary of opinions—even my own.

i want to see the good in people. i want to believe the best.
i want to have some understanding of why they do what they do.
or just let them be who they are.
it’s a work in progress, but i want that to be my default and not a verbal onslaught.

so i’m biting the urge to sass mouth.
i’m keeping that comment to myself—most of the time.
because i’ve realized that the world doesn’t have to look or act the way i think it should.
i may get frustrated, but my frustration no longer warrants an unsolicited comment.

if you set me up for a good verbal jab, i may take it.
i’ll just try not to take it as far.


the contents on this site are ©2013 tim walker. all rights reserved. for permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.

image courtesy of flickr.com/creative commons/by yoshiffles

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