Over the years I’ve learned how to laugh at myself—I’ve honestly had no choice. I have a habit of doing stupid, thoughtless things that cause my friends to tease me relentlessly. I’m one of those people who open themselves up to that sort of treatment (or so I’ve been told). Yet, rarely do I actually feel stupid. Yesterday was one of those days. We were playing Pictionary (it used to be one of my favorite games). It was my turn to draw, and I selected “skid row.” So I drew my version of skid row—I’m sure you can see where this is going. Of course they didn’t guess it correctly, because for some reason I’ve always equated skid row with death row. Imagine my surprise when everyone, and I mean everyone, in the room started laughing with me… only I wasn’t really laughing. It’s amazing how I have managed to live such a sheltered life all these years; with twenty-five years in the military and a masters-level education, I never truly knew the real meaning of skid row.
When I finally I got beyond my embarrassment caused by my wounded pride, I decided to educate myself and any other unfortunate person who doesn’t know the meaning of skid row. So, according to Merriam-Webster, “skid row is the poor part of town or city where people who are homeless or who drink too much often go.” There!
Okay maybe you’re smarter than I am and already knew this—I sure hope so. But maybe there has been a time in your life when you’ve opened your mouth and made a fool of yourself or looked stupid. There’s an old proverb that says it’s better to keep our mouth shut and be thought wise, than to open it and show our stupidity . I just think back, if only I could have drawn another card. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice since it was my turn, but this wasn’t an isolated incident, there have been other times when I’ve effectively put my foot in my mouth. Maybe you can relate.
We just need to remember that there are times when we need to keep our mouths shut—after all I’d rather be thought wise and intelligent. Wouldn’t you?
Boots on the Ground, National Military Advisor