Verbal Hostage

There’s no dearth of problems in this world: shark attacks, cross fit, expired milk, and I hear that there is rampant twerking going on (although I can’t be certain what twerking is, I know I am afraid of it). 

Another problem is the verbal hostage taker.  I, myself, have been taken verbal hostage numerous times. Police won’t do anything about it. I have been told many a time by irritated law enforcement, “M’am, just tell them to quit talking.” Ha! If only it were that easy!  Truth be told, the verbal hostage taker is usually nice enough, adding a degree of difficulty in telling them to shut it. Being taken verbal hostage is a severe irritation and unfortunately, this person isn’t particularly charming or clever either; they merely possess an uncanny talent for talking for extended periods of time without pausing or breathing. They also lack the ability to identify socially acceptable topics.

Being a verbal hostage is uncomfortable; like trying on a swimsuit in January–it’s not pretty. They will corner you and begin a story right in the middle with no discernible thesis. 

My attention span is already that of an amoeba, so I usually check out after one to three minutes. My mind drifts to a field of green under a light blue sky as I think about all the things I’d rather be doing: undergoing a pap smear, having my spleen removed, frying bacon topless. The drone of a voice drags me back to reality and I know I need to interject a word, a gesture, or a sound of some kind. “Wow,” is what I manage to get out. Luckily, it was enough. That was a close one.

I tell myself, ‘Just act like you are listening.’ Good, I will act. I am a pretty good actor. Then I wonder if I really am that good of an actor. Well, I’ve never won an academy award and now that I think about it, I’ve never even been nominated! 

It’s about this time that I start to perspire and the verbal hostage taker asks the dreaded question, “So what do you think?”

What do I think? What do I think? I panic and blurt out, “I think puppies are cute, I think it’s embarrassing to order ‘pulled pork’ in mixed company, I think the cranberry has been typecast in sauce, and I think Play-Doh tastes pretty good.” Thank goodness the verbal hostage taker is a poor listener as well.

And just like that, it’s over. I can’t help but think this is what a largemouth bass must feel like with catch and release.

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