Futile Word Tsunami, Ahoy!

I am a tsunami survivor. A word tsunami, that is.

I had the misfortune of talking with a gentleman today who so ardently wanted to be proven right that he smothered me in verbiage, hoping I’d concede the point and move on. He was wrong.

Why do some people do this? He’s not the first person I’ve had an argument with who thought that the more he talked, the more right he became. I can see this approach working in a couple different cases. If the other person in the conversation is either not knowledgeable enough or not invested enough in the outcome of the conversation, I can see a verbal onslaught being quite effective.

During the course of a conversation with a person of middling competence, however, it merely has the effect of prolonging an already painfully long conversation.

It seems to me that the best way to win an argument is to keep your statements short and sensible. When I’m either arguing or conversing with someone, I heartily prefer short statements because short statements can be addressed categorically.

When someone dumps the contents of their complaints bucket at your feet, it can be difficult to know where to proceed or where the argument even started.

If I could talk to this guy, and try to help him figure out where he went wrong, I would tell him first of all that he was (and is) wrong. Then I would suggest that in the future he might have more luck keeping his points short. This quote has always had a profound impact on me and so I share it with you now:

It is better to keep and silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove
all doubt.

I don’t know who said the quote, though, so if you do please feel free to speak up in the comments section.

As for me and my tired house, I’m going to retire for the evening. This has been a taxing week and I need my beauty sleep. Before I hit the pillow with my face, though, I leave you with one bit of pirate trivia in honor of Pirate Day:

A bung-hole is not as dirty as it sounds. Food used to be stored on ships in giant barrels that had a single hole at the top that was stopped up by a cork. The cork was called a bung, and the hole it went into was, well, a bung-hole. If someone ever asked what was for dinner, the cook would reply, “Well, let’s just see what comes out of the bung-hole, shall we?”

I hope this trivia nugget pops into your head the next time you sit down to a fancy dinner and are inclined to inquire as to the main course.

2 thoughts on “Futile Word Tsunami, Ahoy!

  1. Well my dear, Abraham Lincoln said “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. But then Mark Twain copied him with a very similar remark with: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and removed all doubt”. Personally, I like Abe’s version better than Twain’s (that copycat!)

  2. -Del, You win smart points! Thanks for letting me know who the author of that quote is, I hate when I don’t attribute properly! I like Abe’s version better as well, it’s more succinct.

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