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The Idle American
"Gun Jumping" on the Rise...
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 • Posted November 2, 2011

When we over-the-hill bunch were in the early stages of the climb, we faced unending barrages of hints, admonishments, suggestions and commands that our folks and teachers drilled into our skulls.They believed their guidance would serve us well in dealing with obstacles along life’s winding roads.We were urged to be deliberate, slow to anger and resolved to stay the course. “Cutting the butter” was a “no-no,” and when a tough decision loomed, it was almost always best to “sleep on it.” That was long before “instant everything” took over. Now, much confusion, anger, misunderstanding and hurt feelings are incurred needlessly because “send buttons” are hit too quickly….*****Deliberation is critically needed in these days—from our house to the White House. Ours is a culture marked by folks “going off half-cocked,” or not even cocked at all. With social media “at the ready” to convey our thoughts, we all risk saying too much too soon. We forget Shakespeare’s admonition to “give every man thine ear but few thy voice.” In but a jiffy—maybe even a “mini-jiffy”—we respond without thinking. Despite our yearning for the “King’s X” time-out option we chose as kids, toothpaste won’t go back in the tube….*****The higher the profile, the louder the “buzz.”No doubt, the Texas A&M University Athletic Director regrets the decision he made to react quickly to the trashing out of a football team bus during the Aggies’ recent visit to Texas Tech. His comments on “Twitter” sprouted legs to radio/newspapers/TV, overshadowing coverage of the game.Verbal barrages ensued, mostly concerning the exact make-up of material smeared on the bus.How unfortunate that venting of outrage sometimes trumps reliance on common sense….*****Major League Baseball honchos would like to claim a mulligan on their position that initially denied the Texas Rangers’ invitation to professional basketballer Dirk Nowitzki. The Dallas Mavericks star was chosen to throw out the first pitch before Game 3 in the 2011 World Series.When MLB balked, switchboards lit up. Soon, the baseball brass “un-balked.”I can understand unsavory folks like Jack the Ripper being stricken from the list of invitees, but Dirk? MLB should get a life, giving the local franchise wide berth in determining honorees to throw out first pitches. (Team President Nolan Ryan may disqualify himself from catching ceremonial tosses in the future. George W. Bush made a decent pitch to open game #4. But, “unofficial scorers”—more than 51,000 of them—charged Ryan with a passed ball on the presidential pitch. In an instant, Ryan went from “no-hitter” to “no-catcher!”)... ***** The NFL would like a “scuse me,” too. League brass understandably exacts fines from players and coaches who misbehave.Surely the $10,000 assessment against Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu will be voided. He was cited for his sideline use of a cell phone. He was advising his wife that an injury incurred a few minutes earlier was likely just a “mild concussion.”…*****Years ago, I responded to an email received from a colleague. He asked me to evaluate an institutional board member. I composed a frank message, then hit the “reply all” button. That was the very day I learned the difference between “reply” and “reply all,” since my response also wound up in the board member’s email.I was beyond embarrassed and drove immediately to the home of the board member to apologize. It was a round-trip of some four hours.Come to think of it, there’s something to be said for the “mute” and “delete” buttons. They can save us considerable embarrassment….*****The oldest jurist in Supreme Court History, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., distinguished himself during his three decades on the bench. He outlasted other justices by serving until age 90, dying three years later in 1935. He became highly quotable along the way, and his observations still are valuable—if applied.One of his gems reads thusly: “Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.”‘Nuff said….*****

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/emails to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com

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