Having a big mouth is a very dangerous thing. Not many people on the planet
are capable of shouldering the magnificent burden it creates. Couple it
with a lack of social conscience and a tendency to be overly frank and you
have a slight insight into the twisted little slice of hell I call my life.
But fret not, dear friends, for I possess a thick skin and am quite
impervious to the scorn of others. I take my lumps as well as I give them.
It is in this spirit that we must examine the phenomenon of the big mouth.
Let us begin at the beginning. Not the literal beginning, but more like the
place where I feel like starting.
In the beginning, there was Adolf Hitler. He had a very big mouth, a very
tiny moustache and a few parts missing upstairs. He used his big mouth to
talk up a bunch of trouble in Europe a few years ago. Those of you who took
Western Civ probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so we'll keep it
simple. He was a very bad man who would never have accomplished anything if
he had not had a big mouth. If he had been born mute, he would have lived
in poverty as a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. He was able to do a lot of
damage simply because he had a very big mouth and a great deal of anger.
Oh, did I mention that he was crazy?
Next, not chronologically but in terms of degree, we come to a little
fellow known as Napoleon, a man whose tiny stature hid a very large mouth.
How else could such a man rise to be the emperor of France? It certainly
wasn't an issue of physical intimidation, for I'd wager that an anemic,
half-blind chimpanzee on crack could have kicked his ass. So it was
necessary for him to learn, probably at a very early age, to talk a good
game. He used this to conquer most of Europe. Unfortunately for him, the
big mouth that gave him his power ultimately got him exiled. All that
trouble was caused because he lacked the necessary restraint.
These are just two examples of the world's greatest big mouths, but they
both seem to illustrate a pattern of compulsive behavior inherent in all
their ilk. Perhaps all this intensive analysis of the big mouths will
marshal in some dramatic change in yours truly, but I think we all know
that it's not very likely. So, in the interest of filling space, I will now
attempt to isolate for you exactly what can be learned from history's
greatest talkers. With any luck, you can master these lessons before the
next semester and return to the university with barbed tongue and rapier
wit. At the very least, you should be able to dismiss your TAs with a
single word, although there's very little challenge in it.
First of all, never underestimate a complete and total jackass. It takes
years and years of consistent inconsiderateness and verbal intrepidity to
become a full-fledged jackass. The confines of decency and respect left
these individuals long ago, to be replaced by a desire only for malice and
self-gratification. The combination of these traits creates a rather
volatile human being with a penchant for overstated self-expression. In
other words, they talk entirely too much and show no concern for the damage
their words cause to others. These are the folks to watch out for, because
they take the role of big mouth entirely too far. Although it does take
years to achieve the legitimate status of jackass, it can be reached more
immediately with the consumption of large quantities of alcohol.
As I have said, having a big mouth can be a very dangerous thing. The
trick lies in knowing when to use it and when not to. This is something
that can only be learned through experience, not taught. After my extensive
research in the area of the big mouth, I have found only one universal
truth: Never attack Russia in the winter. Now I'm not certain exactly what
bearing that advice has in our everyday lives, but I have the next couple
of weeks to figure it out. In the meantime, I will do my best to avoid
letting my big mouth get me into trouble. And if any of you have a problem
with that, you can lean over and kiss my big, hairy butt.
Opinion: Big mouths cover all manner of shortcomings
From the series UNTITLED COLUMN by Eldridge Doubleday
Tue Aug 10, 1999 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:53 p.m.