Deeply Disturbed By Dense Readers

I’m evolving, it seems, at an increasingly rapid pace into a crotchety old man. My patience is wearing out faster than my underwear. I’m even looking with suspicion at my own mug in the mirror in the morning. If Carol weren’t still asleep in bed I’d say to myself, “What are you looking at?”

And in the midst of my scowl (Think Carol from the movie Up), I receive responses to one of my Words from WW posts. Don’t get me wrong! I love people to read and react to what I’ve written, but sometimes the responses are strongly indicative of the fact that the reader didn’t really read the whole thing or he is so dense he just doesn’t understand the point of the column.

Recently I wrote a post that began by using an illustration of a childhood game we played called Smear the Goat. The rest of the post was making the point that the person who had the football and got gang-tackled by everyone else was comparable to someone today who expresses an opinion and gets gang-tackled by those who salivate at the opportunity to inflict verbal damage. While many understand the point I was making about the vulnerability someone takes to express a view, so many responses to the post were focused on the memories of the game. I even had to delete a couple of responses that were inappropriate.

And then last week I posted a writing about the postal office drive-thru box that requires me to slide in my rearview mirror in order to pull close enough to reach the slot. I went on to make the point that the postal service and I both give and take to make it work…and that most of the difficult situations of life require both sides of an issue to seek that point of compromises. A response to the post, however, focused on the shortcomings of the postal service. It was an avenue for someone to gripe about something, and the person hadn’t read the whole post.

Listen! I’m not the brightest bulb in the light fixture, but I know not to make a judgment on the wattage while the switch is still in the Off position. I can’t stand there and spout off my opinions and perspectives if the light switch hasn’t been flipped yet.

Go back to the first word of that last paragraph. Maybe that’s the root of the problem. People don’t know how to listen because the only sweet music to their ears if what they’ve decided they’re going to say.

We’re an earbud-afflicted generation infatuated with the sound of our own voice. We’ve invented a new breed of deafness that has nothing to do with our physical senses.

There! Didn’t you envision Carl as you read that? Assuming you got all the way to the end!

person s right ear

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on

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