Can we talk?

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By Ken Begley

Most everybody loves to talk, but do you know someone who talks too much?

Occasionally, I’ve been accused of this. OK, more than occasionally.

You people are tough.

I’m like a water faucet concerning talk. I’m either running or not. If I’m in a room with a bunch of strangers, then I’m prone to just sit back and listen.

But woe to the poor saps that venture over to make polite conversation. You will see them staggering back in stunned horror, as a tsunami wave of words engulfs them and they fear being carried out to sea.

I never realized how much I talked until I started dating Cindy. She was very quiet on our first date, which made for many awkward moments. Whoever said, “Silence is golden” surely couldn’t be talking about dating.

I generously started to fill the void of empty space by relating some of my brilliant observations on life. Was she grateful? Please!

She buckled under the weight after merely four nonstop hours of one-way conversation. I was in the middle of one of my more profound sentences when she pointed at the car radio on the dashboard and said, “You know, they put these in here so you don’t have to talk all the time.”

What a novel, yet boring idea.

Unfortunately, it has not been just my wife that has pointed out my “gift of gab.”
My father is 87. He still works a day a week at B & E Furniture in Springfield, and did for many years in Danville, where I work at a factory.

Frequently, some of my co-workers will go down to B & E looking for good deals and hope mentioning me will bring them. They all come back with the same report. Mention my name and dad will say, “He don’t talk much, does he?” and then laughs.

My dad says, in his colorful Central Kentucky language, “Ken can talk up to 100 mile an hour, with occasional gusts up to 110.”

You can always tell who’s the big talker. They have no short answers to any questions.

For instance, someone might say, “You get much rain last night?”

They can take that one simple question and link it seamlessly from story-to-story like Tarzan swinging vine-to-vine thru the jungle. The listeners end up nowhere near where the “journey” began, and dizzy from the ride.

I’ve been on active, and now reserve, duty with the army for over 38 years. I’ve spent the last 23 teaching first, enlisted men and later, future officers. My wife allows me to stay in the Army Reserve for the sole purpose of draining off stories to my captive audiences, so she won’t have to listen to them.

I told Cindy this story once thinking it was a pretty good laugh:
I worked in Springfield for Clifton Cunningham. He owned a clothing store when I was young. Clifton played on a big talker’s one weakness. They tend to go into a trance and ignore everything going on around them when in the midst of a good story.

It went like this.

Someone would get a verbal death grip on Clifton’s ear down at the store. The big talker would pause/gasp for air in the middle of their story. Clifton would then take a sudden step forward, get very close to their face, and get in some innocent word edgewise before they could recover. After which he’d immediately take two steps backwards. The talker, not wanting to lose the audience, would take one step toward him.

He’d repeat the process over and over again slowly “herding” the big talker out the front door. Eventually Clifton would have the talker out on the sidewalk. He’d suddenly make a loud statement agreeing to whatever they were talking about, give a friendly slap on the shoulder, and beat a hasty retreat back to the store where he would close the door firmly behind him.

The big talker would suddenly come out of their trance, look around, and wonder how they ended up on the street by themselves.

Pretty neat, huh? Cindy thought so.

Now, if I could only get back into our house.