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Not Talking About Me…

     Thank goodness it’s almost over. My family and friends aren’t going to be all that happy, but I sure will.

     One of the sacrifices I made during Lent this year was to not talk about myself. For a lot of people I know and probably for you, too, that might be easy. I love those people who greet me with open arms and ask how I’ve been and what I’ve been up to and how did that project turn out?

     Me – now that’s another story. Which is why I decided this was a sacrifice I needed to make. Here you are, telling me all about your trouble at the grocery store and before you get to the canned soup aisle, I’m off and running with my tale of woe at the check-out counter at Ralph’s last month.

     You’re blasting the Senator for her vote against the highway bill and thirty seconds into the filibuster, I jump in with my story of the day I hit a pothole deeper than your kitchen sink and wider than your HiDef TV.

     You’re bragging – righteously, I might say - about your son’s fantastic hit off the league’s best pitcher and before you get to ball three, I’m off and running with the story about the last time I was up in Yreka – that’s the Yreka at the Oregon border, not the Eureka on the coast – at my grandson’s baseball game when it started to hail - of all things - but he took that bat and…

     So you can see it was a good resolution, and I’m sure it would’ve been warmly welcomed by all who come in contact with me on a regular basis - if they’d known that I’d made it.

     The first day was great. I opened my mouth – and shut it. Not s’posed to talk about me. S’posed to talk about you. How’ve you been and what have you been doing and how’s your dog, Coco, and… Then I remembered that you’d told me you were having trouble sleeping lately.

     “Did you sleep well last night?” I asked. You did, for a while, but then you had to get up twice because…

     “Oh, so did…”


     This was not going to be easy. My whole day was going to be different. I was going to be different. Or else this resolution was doomed. Worse, if I wasn’t going to talk about myself, I’d have to stop thinking about myself. I’m cursed with a brain that talks to me ’round the clock about what it wants me to do and not do. I was definitely going to have to retrain that brain.

     For the next week, I was constantly aware of my resolution. I bit my tongue eighteen times a day – sometimes nineteen and a half – after which I spoke only of others’ concerns. I inquired as to everyone’s latest medical checkup and their social activities and their dogs and their tax situation. I asked about their vacation plans and their Internet blogs. And I listened to every word they said.

     Whoa! This turned out to be way more interesting than I expected! You wouldn’t believe the stuff I learned. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell - but you guys are a fascinating bunch, now that I’m tuned in.

     Unfortunately, as the days and weeks passed, I began to slip. I’d be doing really well, listening and asking questions and learning lots of neat stuff about you and then, next thing you know, I’d start talking about me again.

     Just yesterday I was chatting away about maneuvering through traffic coming out of downtown when suddenly I realized I was doing it again, so I stopped right smack in the middle of my sentence. And no one noticed.

     Which is a good thing. How’ve things been going with you lately?

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