Bob is on vacation this week. This post is from the Cluttered Desk archives, and was originally published on May 8, 2012.
This is quite possibly the first ever, multi-media, interactive thought induction blog post - not just for the industry, but anywhere. In order for you to experience my thoughts as I describe them below, we have included these really cute red buttons throughout the article. Click on this one to make sure your system is compatible (requires Flash):
There, if you heard my buddy Gomer Pyle, then we are good to go. The rest of you will just have to use your ever vivid imaginations. To make this work, and experience these stories just as I heard them inside my head, be sure to click on the red button at the end of any sentence when it appears – and remember, comedy is all about timing, so don't delay!
This will be no surprise to people who know me, or readers of my blog, but I have a problem with my brain. It is an issue that for all practical purposes interferes with what psychologist types would refer to as "normal human development and interaction".
The problem is essentially this: We all have a little committee in our head whose job it is to monitor the things we say for propriety, to ensure that the things we say are socially and (god forbid) politically correct. The committee's primary function is to ensure that we do not alienate others, or that we not be perceived as what psychologist types would call "a complete boob", or a "Joe Biden", depending on your political persuasions.
Normally, the area of your brain that manages the verbal communications, the Linguistics Center, develops a thought or statement it wishes to have expressed. It sends its recommendations to the Propriety Committee for review prior to the statements release. There, the committee assesses the proposed statement, analyzes it against known social barriers, as well as structure, form and proposed purpose. It also analyzes external factors, such as environment, social setting, whether your wife has had too much wine (or not enough), etc. The committee either approves the proposed statement and sends it on to the distribution queue, or it makes recommended changes and returns it the Linguistics Center for those revisions.
In my brain, it doesn't always work that way. No, with me, I find that my Linguistics Center has developed a way to bypass the Propriety Committee altogether. When it thinks of something it believes to be REALLY funny (turns out that being funny is more of an external perception thing), it bypasses the committee and sends the statement, unedited, directly to my mouth for general distribution. Then the rest of my brain listens in horror as my mouth says something it knows will get it in trouble.
It's not easy being me.
For some examples of how this happens, I turn to a few sample discussions I have had with my lovely, gracious and long suffering wife. As you may know, men occasionally joke about being married, or about things that happen with their lovely, gracious and long suffering wives. My wife was lamenting one day about some story or other I had told, expressing her concern that the information I had provided may make a less than accurate perception of her. She said to me, "you are always telling these stories about me, and you make me sound like a shrew".
It was at this point that my brain heard my mouth say, "Well, if the shrew fits!...."
I don't recall much after that. The doctor who reattached my face said I was very lucky; at least as lucky as a guy with my face could be.
In another incident, my wife and I were discussing a couple we knew who were having a rough patch in their marriage. The husbands behavior indicated he was in the midst of a mid life crisis. My wife noted that I had never had such an episode, and asked "How will I know when you are having a mid life crisis?" Once again, my brain stood helplessly by while it listened to my mouth say "Oh, you'll know, 'cause I'll be gone!"
Oops. Remember, humor is apparently judged by external perceptions.
Another problem is that the rapid delivery method employed by this condition tends to allow for multiple thoughts to be jumbled into a verbal conflagration that is either unintelligible or highly insulting. This would not happen if proper channels were followed within my brain. An example: Years ago I was speaking to a customer, making idle chit chat, and asked if she was ready for the Christmas holiday, which was rapidly approaching. She explained that she had finished her shopping in October, saying that she bought a couple items a month through the year, and was thereby able to avoid the holiday crush. I recall thinking both "well, that is why you are done" and "that is why it was so easy".
But I listened in horror as I looked at her and heard my mouth say, "Well, that's why you're so easy."
As I said, it is not easy being me.
I do believe that my condition is an actual disability, and I should therefore be afforded all of the entitlements and protections afforded those in a protected class. I have determined that this condition, referred to by psychologist types as Cranial Rectal JoeBidenistic Inversion, is a real and threatening danger. I reveal my affliction today, so until a real treatment is found, you will have a better understanding of certain items in my blog.
And guys out there, this affliction is not just a verbal one. It goes to core judgment as well. I should note as a public service, that photo shopping a third eye onto the forehead of the woman in your life, in my case my lovely, gracious and long suffering wife, is not nearly as funny as one might originally think...
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.