That’s what I thought you said!


By Bill Derby

I’ve always been fascinated by verbal communication between human beings. Sometimes I thought my dogs understood better what I was trying to say than my wife. She accuses me of not using nouns any more in our conversations. Heck, after 47 years of marriage she should know what I’m trying to say by just watching my hand motions.

Words like, “thing… it… that there… over yonder… up there…” and more have replaced specific lengthy nouns and even locations. The explanation, “You know what I’m talking about,” covers everything else.

I believe when you eliminate words it takes less time to say what you wanted to say in the first place. During our discussions I can even point at things without saying the exact word. My dogs understood me when I pointed. I could even crank my head, shift my eyes in one direction and the dogs followed me and they were both female.

She also has made me stop using the term, “stupid idiot” for lousy, dangerous drivers.  My new and approved word for lousy, dangerous drivers is “nincompoop,” which, basically is the same as “stupid idiot!”   The word “nincompoop,” makes her laugh.

This past weekend our band was playing out of town and we planned on watching the UT game together. Fred Goodwin warned us that he comments verbally while watching UT football. “I’m warning you guys right now. I get a little loud during the game.”

“Fred, no problem. Don’t all men yell at the TV during game day?” I responded.

I usually talk back to TV news reporting and TV news anchors with verbal opinions, especially during the political season. Judy would rather I not do that but I can’t help it.

Sometimes I will chauvinistically comment, “I bet that makeup costs a fortune to keep those ladies looking good every day. Hey, she is verbally editorializing with her comments and attitude. She is supposed to be fair and impartial….”

By then Judy is headed to the other TV. Watching the cable news networks with me is like Fred watching a UT football game, all male comments and opinions verbally expressed!

Men have an easier time  understanding gestures. Look at Saturday afternoon college football games. The coaches on the sideline make arm gestures to their players on the field. Men understand. Women don’t. Butch Jones made a number of signs during the first half of the Florida game last week and Fred yelled.

If you notice closely, many times coaches cover their mouths while talking to coaches up in the press box. Men know opposing coaches can read lips. Men even know the words players mouth at home plate after a bad call or on the sideline after being ejected for making bad gestures. Women don’t know.

This ability comes from a time before cell phones when males communicated by long distance gestures with flags, mirrors and even smoke signals. Drums work too. Men even have the ability to communicate their feelings of happiness or anger through hand gestures and/or digital motions.

I must say one of my domestic failures might be the ability to keep my lovely wife enthralled with every word uttered from my mouth. It’s getting harder and harder to keep her interest in my communication. I sense that from the looks she’s been giving me lately.

Communicating between the sexes is a continual challenge. Maybe this difficulty can be explained by the email we received a few years ago. They sent this little thought provoker.

Everything has a gender (You may not know this but many nonliving things have a gender, i.e. Boy or Girl)

1. Ziploc Bags are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

2. A tire is male, because it goes bald and it’s often over-inflated.

3. A hot air balloon is male, because, to get it to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under it and, of course, there’s the hot air part.

4. Sponges are female, because they’re soft, squeezable and retain water.

5. A web page is female, because it’s always getting hit on.

6. A subway is male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

7. An hourglass is female, because over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.

8. A hammer is male, because it hasn’t changed much over the last 5,000 years, but it’s handy to have around.

9. A remote control is female. Ha! You thought it’d be male, didn’t you? But consider this, it gives a man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while he doesn’t always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying!


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