I did something stupid the other day.
I was on the phone with my mother, doing my usual good-sonly duties by nodding my head and saying "uh huh?" and "yeah" like I was P-Diddy or something. As she went on (and on), updating me on the minutiae of her life (I kid, I kid! I love my mom!), I looked out at Swan Lake and kind of glazed over. A duck swam by, his quacks echoing over the water, as if to say "fuck you, urban legend!"
Then my mother started talking about serious stuff, about how someone in my extended family had a so-called "cancer scare". Suddenly, I wasn't idly thinking about herons and the idle lives they live. I was instead in "how the hell did it take my mom twenty minutes to get to this point in the conversation!?" mode. Which happens fairly often. Rambling seems to be a family trait.
Anyways, this particular person, who shall remain nameless, has a history of trying to drum up drama to scam family members out of money. She's done it before, and it seems she may be doing it again... though my mom does hate this person, so maybe I don't know the full story. Fair enough. But I do know, while listening to my mom describe what was going on, and how this person said the doctors absolutely told her she had cancer, I spoke without thinking.
"That's not how doctors go about it, mom. Trust me, I know. I've been through it."
For those at home keeping score, this is always a dumb thing to say to your mom. If you've had a cancer scare yourself, but wound up being alright, you probably shouldn't tell your mother about it. Ever. Trust me on this.
I spent the next few minutes filling her in, telling her that no, I don't have cancer, but yes, I was afraid for awhile I did. She was anxious, her pitch slowly rising over the cell phone until I could dogs in the distance howling. I had to explain to her that, for about a month, I had to wait to see a specialist to confirm that the cancer-like symptoms I had were, in fact, benign.
And had to gently explain to her that she is an awful person to go to during medical scares. Because she freaks out, gets super stressed, and makes things more stressful for everyone else. I had to explain this to her as gently as possible, but it didn't go well. As I sat on the pier, talking to her on my cell, a duck swam up to me and quacked loudly, as if to say, "You're a moron, Dave."
I'm inclined to agree.
Anyways, yeah, it turns out I'm fine, and that the minor symptoms that are problematic are, in fact, being fixed in early August as part of an outpatient procedure. But that's not really the point of this little rant of mine.
The point is, I need to learn to shut my mouth sometimes. I far too often think without speaking, and it commonly winds up biting me in the ass. Future linguists will refer to self-inflicted verbal manglings as "The Dave Effect".
I have called girlfriends fat without thinking (though really, what guy hasn't?). I have said awful things to friends because I didn't process what went from my brain to my mouth. I have alienated dates ("people that like horses are retards"). I have flubbed job interviews ("That job was just a paycheque to me - I broke the rules whenever I could"). And I have said things my parents are better off not knowing ("Yeah, I went through a cancer scare two months ago" or "so, mom, I heard my next door neighbours having a threesome last night").
For what it's worth, I'm also fairly sure this trait of mine is what helps generate a lot of funny blog content. So I guess there's that.