A Thought With Horsepower

Robert - Queensbury, New York
Entered on October 6, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that there should be a connection from the mouth to the brain, an emergency brake that is applied until the brain releases the okay for what is about to be said. I believe that the thought should be passed from the part of the brain responsible for speech to the part of the brain responsible for logic before that thought is allowed to exit from the mouth. The brain should give the mouth the green light to speak.

I believe this, because I suffer from it, too. If each thought were a bright red, twelve-cylinder Ferrari driving down the highway from the brain to the mouth, virtually all of my thoughts would be pulled over by the judgment police for speeding. There is no yellow caution light warning me to think about what I am going to say. There are no caution signs; my words collide head-on with those they were directed at like a crash test dummy would with a wall. Nothing I say comes with a test drive.

I have this quirk that whenever anyone says anything, I have to say “You’re [insert whatever they had said].” There is no time between what they said and my response. If my response were a part of the car, it would be the airbag. The words burst out of my mouth as the airbag bursts from the dashboard on impact, and most times my reply does more damage than good. For example, if someone was to be walking along in a park and say, “That’s a funny-looking duck,” my response would be, “You’re a funny-looking duck.” That wouldn’t insult anyone, or at least it didn’t the last time I tried.

But, I have done worse. One morning, several months ago, my girlfriend was combing her hair to get ready to go out. She made the simple observation, “My hair is huge today.” Of course, me lacking the judgment police in my brain, I couldn’t stop in time. I started to say, “You’re huge,” and then stopped. I hadn’t said it all, I caught myself, but I still got a firm slap across my face. My face turned as red as the stop light I should have seen flashing in my brain. I couldn’t believe I had said it, and it wasn’t something I would normally say, but I didn’t have the emergency brake in my head to slow me down before the impact.

There are too many examples to name, but in each case I would have gladly used the mental brake pedal. You would think that I had learned to think about what I say before I say it, but I still make the same mistake. I wish I had an anti-theft system attached to my mouth, to stop words from stealing out of it. I have realized that quick to joke, and slow to think makes Rob a rash boy. I believe in thought before voice, but I have yet to follow through.