I have a problem. I know I have it, and yet I don’t know what to do about it. Because I only realize I am doing it after the fact when it is too late. In the moment, I am providing much-needed clarity. It is only through the powers of Captain Hindsight that I am able to see that I was confusing the issue with unneeded information. I am like a word problem gone horribly wrong. You see, I am incapable of answering a question with answering at least fourteen others first.
Context, people! It’s all about context! You could ask me what’s for dinner, but unless you know what I had for dinner last night, I’m afraid my answer will not make sense to you. You should probably also know what I had for dinner every night for the last week, how my day was, what the children spilled yesterday, what went wrong with the dishwasher that morning, and I can’t do the answer justice without referencing to at least one article about food that I read on Facebook. What’s for dinner? Ha! You might as well have asked me what the meaning of life is. THERE IS NO ANSWER! There are only stories.
This is all well and bad until I have to go to a meeting and talk about professional things. Last night I had to go to such a meeting and say words to people. Well, okay, first I should tell you that…NO! Stop! I should NOT tell you that! It doesn’t matter what the meeting was about! It doesn’t matter what happened at the last meeting! It doesn’t matter who was there, what my relationship is like with each one of them, how my pre-meeting meeting went, or the abridged bedtime routine that I was involved in just prior in en effort to be on time. Not vital! Keep it simple stupid! Just the facts ma’am! (That’s from Dragnet, which I used to watch on Nick at Nite when I was a kid, although you see we didn’t have cable, so it was only when we visited my relatives, which we did on summers because, you see, my dad was a pastor, so he would…ACK! NO!)
I went to a meeting last night. I was worried that I would talk too much. I tried hard not to talk too much. I think I succeeded. It was good.
Oh man, look how boring that story was. Why even bother telling it without all of the details? Yeah, I guess if we were trying to get business done and not be there all night, that might be a more efficient way to say things. But of course that is how I think I am saying things at the time. It is only an hour later, when I notice that I am still talking, that I realize that I may have over-explained a bit. TenorDadsplaining. It’s a thing.
But I’m working on it. This is a place for stories. Job interviews, parent teacher conferences, business meetings, and performance reviews are not. I know it in my head. But dammit Jim, I’m a story-teller, not a question answerer! This is just to say that if we are having a conversation, and you suddenly say “Hey, you’re TenorDadsplaining again,” I will know why. And I will try to control myself. Try.
Although as Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try,” which is kind of inconsistent when you think about it. Shouldn’t he have said “try there is not”? Or “no try, there is”? You see his syntax was created by George Lucas, even though the script for Empire was officially written by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett. Yoda wasn’t in the original Star Wars of course, and first appeared in the sequel. Anyway, Lucas had the final say as to Yoda’s dialogue, which then makes sense if you think about how inconsistent Lucas himself has been, citing for example the matter of…