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Stop, Drop, and Listen

Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

Today I’ve felt the need to gouge my eye out at multiple junctures in multiple classes. This urge comes over me when I make the mistake of tuning in to the vapid comments taking place during class discussions.

These boil down to two forms. First, we’ve got the irrelevant side comments made by freshmen who have nothing better to do but come to a class where the professor doesn’t take attendance, only to fuck off the entire time. We’ve all encountered this first breed of idiot. They were in your lecture hall freshman year, or they sat behind you in the Tivoli movie theatre. The second kind blathers out in class discussion going on and on with no coherent point in sight. This latter breed I feel a tinge of sympathy for because at least they’re trying.

Sympathy or no sympathy, their words create nothing but pain for everyone else involved. I want to tell them to shut up, but I can’t. I’m working on polite communication because I suck at it.

“Just breathe,” my boyfriend reminds me after knocking a lit glass candle stick into the bath. I can feel my temper boiling up inside me. I’ve had a history of outbursts that  I can trace back to my Aspergers. But that’s no excuse. My personal growth isn’t limited to my disability. It’s a difficulty, not a reason to be an asshole. All that in mind, why do we still make excuses for these word-vomiting jackals?

The Grammys started out with a message reminding everyone involved to value their voice and others’ voices. I understand what they’re going for. Representation is important in all of the entertainment industries. Still, I wonder how many of my problems they could solve if they added the caveat that the value of your voice depends upon the weight and novelty of your content.

Not everyone’s voice matters. If you haven’t thought through what you’re going to say, hold your tongue. If you haven’t researched your topic, stop talking. If you’re only ever interrupting discourse, go home. If your speech has left you engulfed in flames: stop, drop, and listen.

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