Archive for November 12th, 2008

Open Mouth – Insert Foot

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Impromptu remarks at a social gathering – be they toasts, words of welcome, or expressions of thanks – should always be brief, G-rated, and sincere. Please notice that I didn’t say they should necessarily be funny.

A very special few folks have a gift for humor, and seem to have that magical ability to spontaneously say something which is amusing (or even downright hilarious). Sadly, most of us don’t have that knack. Thus, the clever bon mot we intended to deliver comes out as a lame, and sometimes even offensive blooper that we wish to God we could take back.

(I know from whence I speak. Just last month, I tried to lighten up what I thought was an altogether too serious discussion at my church. My attempt failed miserably, and I felt like a total jackass.)

No one is ever offended by a short, sweet, sincere statement. It’s only when we try to be stand-up comics that we stuff our feet squarely into our mouths. What was intended to be witty comes out as half-witted instead.

Also, when we are nervous (as we tend to be when speaking publicly), our delivery of even the funniest of material is adversely affected. We sound strained, and the humor of our words is lost.

None of us likes to embarrass ourselves. The sad thing is – nobody makes us do so. These are all self-inflicted wounds.

So my November Resolution is to keep my comments quick, clean, and straight from the heart. I’d rather be remembered as the guy who said the nicest thing than as the class clown. If you do the same, you’ll kick yourself much less often.