March 2nd, 2004

Think First, Then Speak. Think First, Then Speak. Think First, Then Speak
Loman on the Totem Pole

This is the story of how I confused an innocent bystander by failing to remember that you don’t just say whatever pops into your head.

I work on the third floor of an office building. The men’s room is on the second floor. About 20 minutes ago, I made the walk down the stairs to, you know, see a man about a horse. So I’m in the stairwell heading down and I can hear someone whistling. I open the door to the second floor lobby and the elevator door is open. The whistling is coming from inside the elevator. And in my head I’m going, “What’s the thing about whistling on an elevator? What’s the thing about whistling on an elevator?” I look into the elevator and there’s a white-haired guy — mid-60s, I’d guess — standing there holding some kind of sample case. And the salesman thing must have tripped whatever mechanism in my brain hadn’t been kicking in. Still looking at the guy, I blurted out, “Biff.” And as the elevator door closed, I saw this man give me a look that said, quite simply, “What?” Fearing he’d hit the door-open button, I quickly scurried into the men’s room, locked the door and spent a little while splashing water on my face and trying not to burst into hysterical laughter. There’s something really, really wrong with me.

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