I’m going to throw my personal vanity aside in an attempt to address a growing societal problem: people with no filters. Here are two examples from the past several days of people free-ranging with their thought process. Example number one: An auto mechanic commenting on how many miles I was putting on my car asked me, “Shouldn’t you have hit retirement age by now?” (And just to be clear he was referring to me, not my car.)
I was flabbergasted and gave the idiot a lecture on things you should never assume or ask a woman, most especially one who is y-e-a-r-s away from retirement. The worst part is I had just gotten my hair highlighted and felt so fabulous I swaggered into the car dealership with my new sandals making a sassy clippity-clop. Sadly, I did not swagger out. It was more of an angry mom brisk stride. My footwear was giving the floors a beat down.
Then, the next freaking day, I was picking up a 99 cent ice cream cone from the McDonald’s drive thru and a guy (yes, again a guy. Hmm, I note a trend...) handed me the cone and said, “I don’t know if you should be eating this.”
WTH? I had no words. Literally, I said nothing because it didn’t merit a response and I was taking a jumbo bite out of my cone, right in front of him, just on principle.
Now, I know if I had allowed myself to have conversation with any one of these filter-less goobers, the standard response would be: “I was joking.”
No, you weren’t joking. Instead you choose not to practice verbal discipline. I think the whole Homeland Security tag line “See something. Say something” has been co-opted by the filter-free crowd.
Therefore, I suggest that we, the filter crowd, must launch an educational campaign to teach the growing numbers of mammals who think their thoughts are either so special they must be shared or are just so lazy that they don’t want to expend the effort to edit themselves.
Of course, as in all my rants, I’m going to blame social media for part of this problem. The fact that everyone is encouraged to make comments about the minutia of their lives has led to people becoming embolden with their thoughts. It’s not a good look.
My education campaign will be kicking it old school. Yes, my friends, we are going back to the basics with the classic “if you don’t have anything nice to say zip it.” Now, don’t worry, I do indeed see the irony because I know that many things I write are not, shall we say, full of flowery prose that exalts the goodness of humans. But, I’m going to exempt myself as a community service, in the most general of terms. My writing is all done for the greater good. (Stop shaking your head and just roll with it.)
Now, in no way do I want to shut down anyone’s freedom of expression. The campaign will only urge everyone to think before they speak by asking these three simple questions. Will it hurt someone’s feelings? Will I regret what I said about 10 seconds after it comes out of my mouth? Am I really as smart as I think I am? If the answer is no to any of the above, we will encourage people to not open their mouths.
I know this has almost zero chance of working, so my alternate plan is that the next time someone ages me by more than a decade and insinuates that I’m not ice cream cone worthy, I’m going to go “full unfiltered.” Be afraid. Be very afraid.