Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Hear Voices

We all have an inner voice. I’m not referring to my conscience though. For me, that’s an altogether different inner voice, one that sounds a little like my Dad and it rarely talks but it does shake its head a lot. I mean a different inner voice. (Confused yet? Sorry.) At the risk of sounding screw-loose, I mean a voice that just talks in the background periodically. This inner voice helps humble me but lately, it’s become quite bad-tempered. Is this happening to anyone else?

This inner voice used to be too quiet. During my youth, it often let me blather on and on like a windbag know-it-all. Well let’s just say it’s louder now and it’s cantankerous. Here’s a recent talk I had with myself.

The conversation was about nothing. Obviously, I enjoy meaningless conversation (nod to the majority of my columns). Anyway, my inner voice grew weary of a ten minute discussion I was having with two guys about the importance of buying decent quality shoes. Things got weird when it said, “Dude, shut up! I repeat. SHUT UP!”

Surprised by its use of the upper case, I asked my inner voice, “Why?!”

“No one cares about expensive comfortable shoes. You sound like an idiot. And old.”

Insults? Puzzled, I weakly replied, “I’m not old.”

It persisted, “Dude, you’re talking about shoes.”

Getting a little offended, “Yeah, so?”

“Seriously? In your discussion on shoes, you referenced a documentary you saw about the coca-cola company. Only old farts talk about their shoe woes and only old farts watch documentaries about the history of coca-cola.”


“And speaking of coca-cola, you actually told your son the other day you were excited about ordering a root beer because you rarely drink it anymore. Do you think he cares? Do you think he thinks that makes any sense? He was probably thinking just drink the flippin’ root beer Dad. There’s no need to talk about root beer and caffeine and insomnia for ten minutes after you order a root beer!”

“Maybe not but—”

“Seriously. What’s the next discussion topic going to be? Are you going to share that you’ve walked home then realized you drove to work? Or will you discuss how you drift off during conversations to talk to your inner voice?”

Yup. I am. And here it is. Suddenly my inner voice has become the voice of everyone in my life who ever said I was stupid. Message to my inner voice: zip it. Because in the words of Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

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