If you don’t announce that you’re an idiot, people may not know

By Jeremy Gulley

Two events on Friday reminded me that being unnoticed is often the best choice. I know that we like to be noticed, stand out, be important and have people listen to us, but in a lot of cases, I think it would be better if we just shut up and stayed to ourselves.
Friday I took my family to the Nelson Atkins museum of art on the plaza. Getting close to the museum, I knew the traffic would pick up and people would start to get more obnoxious and crazier (it’s the nature of the area). So when I was cut off by a Subaru Outback I didn’t think much of it; until my wife pointed out the overtly religious bumper sticker on the car and the driver flipped me off.
Then later, at the museum, as we waited for the final speaker (it was a special night where historians and artists presented on specific pieces), another idiot opened his mouth. My family and I sat on the ground so that those in the back could see. This is how the other presentations were structured, as well – those in front sat and those in back stood. However, because of the tight space, the third presentation seemed more crowded.
“You know,” said a young man in the back, “if these people in front would stand up, more people could fit in closer.”
In response to his incredulous comments, one woman said, “yeah, but then no one could see.”
“Yeah,” said another, “we could crowd in, but it would not make it better, stay out of it.”
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I added, “If you don’t like where you are, you should have gotten here earlier.”
But then it got better.
All of the sitters moved closer as the presenter prepared to talk. That left more room in the back. The young man who complained about the sitting people moved behind us and stood.
Then sat.
So the man who complained about how things were joined us within five minutes of opening his mouth.
Do you see my point? Sometimes we should just shut up. Sometimes we would be better off just blending in. If the man with the bumper sticker and middle-finger salute had not called out his religion or his disgust, I wouldn’t have noticed either one.
If the young man behind us had kept his mouth shut, no one would known that he was an idiot.
But, alas, as is so often the case – those who should shut up, don’t, and those who should remain obscure make their presence known in unavoidable ways.
At least it makes for humorous discussions and good columns. Perhaps I need to be careful, though, and know when I, too, should just shut up.

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Posted by admin on Apr 13 2011. Filed under Jeremy Gulley. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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