Archived Story

Will saying stupid things be outlawed one day?

Published 8:27pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I looked up foot and mouth disease. I wanted to know if it was possible for me to catch it as there seems to be quite an epidemic of the disease these days. I found that foot and mouth disease was very rare in the human species and limited, mostly, to bovids, those cloven-hoofed animals of which the cow is the one we know best. The disease can be fatal.
Then, I realized that I was really searching for foot in mouth disease. Thankfully, that particular disease is not fatal. Expensive, but not fatal.
The most recent and widely-reported case of foot in mouth disease is attributed to billionaire basketball mogul Donald Sterling. His, unbeknownst to him, recently recorded remarks cost him a paltry $2.5 million. That’s paltry to Sterling but would just about wipe out my checking account.
To be honest, I am quite thankful that the billions of words I have spoken throughout my life have not been recorded, with all due respect to the NSA. What about you? Have any of you ever said anything stupid?
As I ask that question, I am thinking of the Connie Smith country song from 1964, “Once a Day, Every Day, All Day Long.” I am pretty sure during any 24-hour period, I will say something stupid. Thankfully, I don’t have a girlfriend with a recording device looking to prove my stupidity to the whole world. And, just for the record and Donna Sue, I don’t have a girlfriend.
The cost of saying stupid things is going up. I remember when I was a boy in school. One day I said something really stupid and the teacher sent me to the dreaded “office.” It only cost me five licks from the principal. I didn’t tell my parents because that was in the days when “If you get a whipping at school, you’re gonna get one at home, too.”
Nowadays, saying stupid things can cost jobs and many hours in the Sensitivity Training Room. That room is another one of those things I’m glad we didn’t have. It might have been good for me, though. I might have learned to be kinder to fish.
Some jobs are more susceptible to saying stupid things. In the preaching business there are many words spoken and one must be careful. At the same time, a preacher can’t be too careful to not tell the truth.
Politics is different. There’s a lot of speech-making so there are a lot of words and many opportunities to say stupid things, but, thankfully for the politician, truth has never been all that important and, in a way, stupid things said are expected.
Finally, saying stupid things is relative, which is to say that what sounds perfectly acceptable to me may be called stupid by another. That’s what makes for all the controversies that abound when famous people say things that some might find offensive or stupid. I guess the only way around the controversy is to outlaw people saying stupid things.
Imagine how quiet our country would be if no one was allowed to say stupid things. Talk about a moment of silence. But, let me go on the record as saying that even a moment of silence would be stupid to some people.

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