Talking about nothing | Mark’s Remarks


You laugh at the title of this column because you’ve probably read plenty of these in which I write about the ordinary and mundane topics of this world.

So I ask that if you choose to read on, you humor me. Thank you.

Did you ever notice how much we discuss things that don’t matter? I sat at a meeting the other day and was amazed at the amount of time we spent on mundane and unimportant stuff.  

I contend that all meetings of any sort, whether in the workplace, community, church, or what have you need a parliamentarian there to direct the discussion. Much of what we do and discuss is a waste of time. Heck, many meetings are highly unnecessary and the things discussed could be easily brought up and addressed in a quick phone call, text or email. 

Other people and what they are doing in life is also a huge time waster. Yet there are people who spend a great deal of time discussing the goings-on and habits of their neighbors, friends and family members. 

We sit around and discuss the details of what everyone does, how everyone behaves. Sometimes, we repeat the stories over and over, discussing it to death.  There is never any satisfaction in talking about any of it because, let’s face it, people are going to do what they are going to do.

I have come to the conclusion that most people discuss mundane topics and watch people closely because they really want to do something about it. Your neighbor cuts his grass too short, in your opinion, so you talk about it every week. You shake your head and complain to yourself about it.

You’d like to be able to tell him, have him listen to you and start cutting that grass at a more respectable height. You’d like to control him, be the boss.

Yet every week, you look out and see his grass is still an inch shorter than yours. 

By the way, who cares anyway? Why are you wasting your time?

I remember being a kid and being around visitors of different sorts. There were always comments after they left about some annoying habit, what they ate, their routine, how often they bathed, when they woke up, when they went to bed.  Topics such as this would be discussed over and over.

My question was always this: “Why are these people visiting when we have a problem with everything they do? Why are we sad to see them leave when we judge every little detail of the way they conduct themselves?” Sheesh.

I was in a play once in which the setting was the Deep South. One of the prima donnas in the cast (not me this time) spent a great deal of time asking the director if she should extend her hand palm up or palm down, knowing the proper way that it was done down south.  The rest of the cast stood around, bored into unconsciousness, until one brave individual said “Who gives a hoot which way your palm faces?”

But he didn’t actually use the word “hoot.” It didn’t go over well, but the show went on.

Perhaps I feel this way about mundane topics and discussing the boring because I am past middle age and realize how important good, meaty discussion is. 

I don’t think the people who go for such irritating conversation are bad people. Maybe they have nothing better to talk about. 

One of my great fears in life is getting to the age where I get a kick out of discussing the same things.  Maybe one day I will have little to do and be relegated to topics like how high the neighbor’s grass is or how late my cousins eat lunch.

But gee, I sure hope not.

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