Speak first, think later.
It’s a common trait. Politicians are great at it. As a matter of fact, they have their feet in their mouths so much, they’re barely intelligible. At least I think that’s the reason they don’t make much sense.
Two of the most famous foot-in-mouthers belong to our American neighbours–“I am not a crook” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
But up here in Canada, we have a few good ones, too–“Jeepers Creepers, I put de pepper on my plate,” “Buy cans of dented tuna,” and more recently Pal Al with, “Mangea cakes.”
There has been more than one domestic tiff initiated when the unwary husband has–without thinking–answered the question, “Who will you marry if I die first.” Answering that question substantially will increase the odds of the husband dying first.
And yes, even yours truly has made the odd quip slip. The pain can be excruciating.
On a recent trip though an American airport in the deep south, I got a firsthand taste of their increased security. Apparently this burst of vigilance was spurred by a recent report the U.S. has the most sophisticated surveillance and detection equipment but most staff can’t operate it effectively.
Must be a government plot.
As I approached the metal detector, I sucked in my gut without fear. My new belt, backed up by a heavy duty pair of suspenders, wasn’t going to let down either me or my trousers.
But I knew something was wrong. They had the sensitivity on that sucker set up so high, even the fillings in my teeth were beginning to vibrate. And sure enough, when I stepped through, all sorts of alarms went off.
“Empty your pockets and step through again,” sneered the 400-pound head guard as he flexed his biceps and cracked his knuckles.
“Yessir,” I obliged, ferreting out a wad of used tissue and a paper clip I had been using to clean my ears.
I stepped back through and again bells rang and lights flashed. The guard tucked his hand inside his coat. I was sure he was reaching for his .357 magnum.
“Check ’im over,” he ordered his assistant as he kept me fixed in an icy stare, ready to pump me full of holes at my first miscue. I hadn’t realized to this point I might look like a terrorist.
The assistant approached me tentatively, waving her hand-held detector. It was obviously her first day on the job and she appeared about as scared as I was.
Nervously, with an embarrassed smile, she passed the wand over my chest as I stood arms straight out, legs spread-eagled. You might say I felt vulnerable.
“Beep . . . beeep . . . beeep” went the detector.
“What y’all got under y’ sweater,” she drawled shyly. I was sure it wasn’t an underwire support bra, and informed her it was probably a clip on my suspenders.
“Beep . . . beeep . . . beeep” went the detector as it approached my belt.
“Kin I touch y’all here?” questioned the attendant, indicating the offending area.
“Sure,” I replied anxious to get this over with. A little prodding at the suspender clip and the wand moved on.
“Beep . . . beeep . . . beeep” it went yet again on a clip on the other side of the suspender.
“Kin I touch y’all here?” queried my search mistress again. Being very co-operative, I immediately replied, “Y’all kin touch me wherever you want.”
Then I realized the context in which this reply would be taken. I envisioned the pain and embarrassment I would suffer as I was cuffed and dragged from the area by the FBI.
I glanced to see if King Kong was pulling on a rubber glove for a thorough body cavity inspection.
But then the true pain of the situation really hit me as little Miss Security Guard, blushing modestly, giggled, “Y’all too ol’ fo’ that.”
Speak first, think later.