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Sophie's Choice: Bite your tongue

December 21, 2011

There are times in life where words fail us. A situation arises where we wish we really did have a Hollywood scriptwriter in our back pocket to save us from the ensuing social awkwardness or to offer a succinct token of encouragement or consolation to someone in need.
While every situation calls for its own delicacy when dealing with others, I think we can all agree that there are certain words that do not assist in bolstering any circumstances, unless one takes perverse pleasure in getting punched in the nose. There’s nothing quite like a case of foot-in-mouth disease that makes us lament opening our gob in the first place. So, in order to avoid this, allow me to offer up particular collective settings and the phrases you should never utter whilst in them.
To someone who has just lost a loved one: “God, has a plan.”
This has nothing to do with religious preference, just the drunken captain who is obviously steering this person’s brain ship. Even if you believe the above saying with all of your hearty-heart, for the love of said deity, don’t utter it out loud to the person in mourning. It provides no comfort, and casts the All Mighty in the role of a sadistic child playing roughly with toys based on a schizophrenic blueprint. I imagine that’s not how most of us prefer to picture our creator.
In a crowded elevator: “Remember the part in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter hid the cop’s body on top of the elevator?”
You know what, never mind. Go ahead and say it. Just don’t blame the fallout on me.
On a first date: “I don’t need anyone as long as I have my doggy.”
Thunderbolts of Jove, no one has ever touched your naughty bits, have they? Well I’m not about to break that record. Check, please!
To an acquaintance that has gotten a hairstyle you don’t approve of: “I hate your haircut.”
Well they may hate your face, but at least hair grows back. There are times when we need to speak up on our friends’ fashionable behalf, and there are other times when it’s best to just let sleeping hair follicles lie. Yes, their mullet is horrendous (because lets face it, mullets are horrendous), but if they are happy, then the best thing you can say is nothing at all.
In a job interview: “I prefer to work from home.”
Of all the people I know who have/had/want to attempt and complete an office job from home, you know how many people I consider a success at it? One. To make that statement in a job interview or a resume sends the message to the employer that you can’t be bothered to leave your bunny slippers at home and come join the rest of us working stiffs. If that’s the case, then why should they be bothered to hire you? There’s someone else out there that will show up because they want to.
To plump strangers looking at baby clothes: “Congratulations, when are you due?”
I had a really severe case of speaking before thinking one day, and actually said this to a lady in Macy’s. In my defense, I honestly thought she was preggers. Let’s just say it’s a miracle I am still among the living.

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