Update: I just realized that I’ve already written a post about wasting words. Do you see what I mean? I really do talk too much!
Besides death or divine intervention, nothing in the universe can stop me once I start rambling.
I was reminded of this a few days ago. At the time, I was explaining to coworkers how a gerund looks remarkably like a chicken when diagrammed in a sentence. (This fact was pointed out to me by a college professor.) The English language fascinates me, and I’m greatly amused by this quirk of sentence diagramming. I was enthusiastic in sharing my amusement with my coworkers.
My gerund-chicken was met with one or two blank faces, and I realized I was babbling. It probably wasn’t the first time that day. Ah, well. No harm, no fowl. (Pun intended. I’m so, so sorry.)
I ramble all the time, and most people aren’t blunt or brave enough to ask me to stop. A few politely change the subject. Many suffer in silence. If I may, for the sake of illustration, borrow and edit a couple of old comic panels from Gigi D.G. of Cucumber Quest fame: many of my conversations go something like this.
The greatest difference between this illustration and real life is that I hardly ever chat with one-eyed war veterans.
I’m exaggerating a bit for comedic effect, yet the truth is that I talk too much. As an introvert, I generally keep to myself around other people. However, the very second a conversation turns to something that interests me, I begin to talk… and eventually to babble.
One of the things that troubles me most about my lamentable loquacity is that it afflicts my nearest and dearest. Most of the people who meet me will never hear me ramble. It’s my family and friends (along with a few coworkers and acquaintances) who put up with my enthusiastic floods of words. It’s when I feel comfortable around someone that I let down my guard, and when my guard is down that I talk too much.
That said, you should take it as a compliment if I ramble at you… I guess?
Anyhowz, I have three points to make about my tendency to talk too much.
1. Writing is awesome because it allows me to moderate my own words.
Probably my favorite thing about writing is the freedom it gives me to find exactly the right words and phrase them precisely the way I want. Written words can be revised. If I begin to ramble in, say, a Facebook message, I can go back and cut out the fluff.
Speaking doesn’t give me that luxury. It represents immediate, irrevocable communication. There is no revising spoken words, except by speaking more. Once a word is spoken, it can’t be deleted. I wish I could revise and moderate my speaking the way I do my writing.
2. Rambling is selfish.
When I ramble about stuff that matters to me, I forget—or worse, ignore—that it might not matter to other people. I disrespect people by demanding their time and attention, airing my own views and opinions, when they’re not interested. Worse, I don’t spend enough time listening to them.
Talking too much is a way of saying, “I don’t care enough about you to listen.”
3. The Bible says some pretty harsh things about talking too much.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ says, “I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The Proverbs add quite a few cautions against babbling. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise,” quoth the author of Proverbs, and later adds, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
I… suppose I’ll end here, actually. Heaven knows I don’t want to ramble.