I have a flaw. Sometimes I open my mouth before the words pass my brain. I am sometimes brutally honest. I remember one day at work sitting in a meeting with a woman who didn’t shut up. She spoke at light speed and barely paused to draw breath. It was nigh impossible to get a word in that conversation. Strangely we were discussing a campaign which had at it’s heart, symbolic silence. The woman went on and on about which celebrity we could get involved; who we could get to be silent and who would pay to see those people be silent. In one of my classic moments of non-thinking, I said something along the lines of ‘can we silence you?’
At that point everyone laughed and I turned bright red. Later, people said to me, ‘you said what everyone was thinking but was not going to say.’ I can thank my mum for this brutal honesty. Unfortunately, I don’t see it as such until it escapes and I cannot gather the words back up and put them back in my mouth.
A lot of the time, people are taken aback. It certainly gets you a reputation. Yet sometimes, people welcome this refreshing honesty. Years ago when I was working for a blindness agency we had a new staff member start. I don’t remember what I said to him on his first day. About a year later, he reminded me. He said, I’ll never forget one of the first things you said:
Blind people are like everyone else. Some are nice. Some are arseholes.
He reminded me and told me that he had found that to be true.
What sparked this moment of self-reflection on my flaws? Well I was reading a post by Todd Winther called ‘You want to win an oscar? Play a (real) cripple.‘ I had a strong reaction to it. His argument is that if you play a person with a disability, you’ll win an Oscar… or perhaps it’s that if you’re nominated for an Oscar and the character you played has a disability, you’ll win. Either way, I found myself annoyed. I felt that this argument belitted the performances given by the respective actors. After watching Geoffrey Rush in Shine, did I think to myself, yes he won an Oscar because David Helfgott had a nervous breakdown? It didn’t cross my mind. I thought it was just a bloody good performance.
On reflection, I probably say things which are equally cynical, or at the very least, repeat them – such as Andrew’s claim that The Gap (a Sydney suicide hot spot) is discriminating against people who are disabled as there is no ramp to ‘launch’ oneself from. Yet, I’d like to think the difference is when Andrew does it it’s funny (in a black humoured kind of way). Hmm… not that I’ve got all hot under the collar over nothing, perhaps it’s time to call it a night.
At least if I decide that I’ve had one of my moments of exceptional bluntness, there’s always a delete button on a blog; unlike what comes out of mouth!