Blah! Blah! Blah . . !

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WHAT’S that noise? my wife asked, one holiday, sitting at home. I listened. It was a low far off rumble, and as you listened it grew louder and louder and became increasingly deafening. And then enlightenment came, “Its people talking!” I exclaimed. “It’s a holiday and it’s the sound of all those people in their houses and flats behind us talking!”

The next time it’s a holiday listen. The world is increasingly becoming a more talkative world. Go to any restaurant and try to hear yourself over the din, it’s nigh impossible. I believe it isn’t so for everybody: Two hippies, feeling high, are strolling down the street. Another hippy, walking towards them, gently lifts his hand in greeting and says, “Hi there!” Four blocks later, one hippy turns to the other and says, “Man, I thought he’d never stop talking!” I guess whatever their bad points the hippies appreciated silence.

Here’s something about a President of the US, who loved talking: President Theodore Roosevelt had a passion for big-game hunting. When he heard that a famous British hunter was visiting the States he invited the man to the White House in the hope of getting some pointers from him.

After a two-hour meeting at which the two of them were closeted together and left undisturbed, the Englishman emerged looking somewhat dazed. “What did you tell the President?” a reporter asked. “I told him my name,” said the worn-out visitor. And here’s a President who knew how to listen: When Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States, he saw dozens of people each day. Most had complaints of one kind or another.

One day a visiting Governor told the President that he did not understand how he was able to meet so many people in the space of a few hours. “Why, you are finished with all your visitors by dinner time,” said the Governor, “while I am often in my office till midnight.” “Yes,” said Coolidge. “That’s because you talk.”

I end with a small joke of someone who didn’t listen: The village drunkard staggered up to the parish priest, newspaper in hand, and greeted him politely. The priest, annoyed, ignored the greeting because the man was slightly inebriated. He had come with a purpose, however, “Excuse me, Father,” he said, “Could you tell me what causes arthritis?” The priest ignored that too.

But when the man repeated the question the priest turned on him impatiently and cried, “Drinking causes arthritis! Gambling causes arthritis! Chasing loose women causes arthritis…”A man who had been listening asked the drunkard, “Why did you ask the priest?” “Because,” said the drunkard, “it says right here in the papers that the Bishop has arthritis..!”

 

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