Saturday, August 17, 2019 -
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What we say when the microphone is off

In 1984, former US President Ronald Reagan was warming up for his weekly radio address when he leaned into the microphone and said, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Now we read about the embarrassing exchange between Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama about Benjamin Netanyahu. OK, if you’re a political leader, damn the torpedoes! But what do the rest of us do when we talk too much and assume the mike is off?

We don’t refer here to the delusionary monologues all of us sometimes engage in, but to things we say — discreetly, we assume — in public. Maybe we proclaim the truth as we see it, wish it, or misinterpret it. Perhaps we indulge in gossip or vent momentary steam. Suddenly the individual under discussion appears behind us. He or she has heard every word. Do we blush? Deny? Run?

If you don’t want that person to hear you, don’t talk — or brace for the torpedoes heading your way.

Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News




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