The Right Thing to Say

In the background I can hear Willie Nelson singing Always on My Mind

“Maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Maybe I didn’t hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I’m so happy that you’re mine

If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m so sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died
Give me, give me one more chance to keep you satisfied, satisfied

Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind”

There is no real relevance to this song playing now other than I wanted to share it with you.

In an earlier post I blogged a bit about skills/talents that I would like to have. One of them is being able to say the right thing in every situation. It is probably more of talent than a skill, no I take that back, it is both.

Some of it I think is innate. Some people are very good about knowing what to say and how to say it. I don’t feel like it is something that I am completely inept at, for that matter I suspect that I am better than many.

Nonetheless I am not a place where I can rest on my laurels so I’d like to work on this. When I first watched LA Story I was touched/struck by a number of things. Fortunately I wasn’t injured by any of them.

There is a scene in the movie in which Steve Martin’s girlfriend decides to leave him. What caught my eye was this little speech he gave. I don’t remember it word for word but I can give you the gist. He said something like this:

I know that there is something that I could say which would make you reconsider, that there are words I could share that would make you stop in place and not leave. So let’s pretend that I said those words and go from there.”

It made me smile because it was silly but there is so much truth in that comment.

Anyway one of the things that I have been trying to do is become a collector of stories so that I can always recite a couple in every situation. But there are two things that occur to me.

First, sometimes there is nothing that you can say. There are no words or deeds that will be appropriate and those moments are times in which silence is the appropriate response.

The other issue is knowing how to deliver those stories. If you cannot tell a story in a way that people find compelling it just doesn’t matter.

I figure that about a week before I am scheduled to die I’ll become an expert in this. Until then I’ll fumble about like everyone else.

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  1. Mirty December 27, 2005 at 7:01 pm

    My husband says I have a talent for saying the right thing. I think he has a talent for listening (and thus hearing the right thing). It’s a two-way street.

  2. Jack's Shack December 26, 2005 at 8:32 pm


    There is only so much torture a man can take before he is forever shattered. Run while you still can. 😉

  3. Ezzie December 26, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    Pick a new team!? Blasphemy!!!

    Come on, I’m a 50-yard line season ticket holder. I’m literally, not just emotionally, invested in this!! (BTW, a GREAT investment. 🙂 )

  4. Jack's Shack December 26, 2005 at 7:40 pm


    That is a couple of years. Maybe you’ll get lucky and see something in your lifetime, or you can always pick a new team. 😉

    Hi Barbara,

    Chag Sameach to you.

    Hey LD,

    Thanks. Merry Xmas to you.

  5. LiquiDiamonds December 26, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    Jack: I couldn’t find a place to post my Happy Chanukah,so I’ll post it here:
    Happy Chanukah! 🙂

  6. BarbaraFromCalifornia December 26, 2005 at 7:06 pm

    That is beautiful. (see women have a diffent take on it than men.)

    Happy Hanukah to you and yours.

  7. Ezzie December 26, 2005 at 6:51 pm

    Jack, just saw your comment on Cleveland.

    Sadly, 1964 is the last one (Browns) in any major sport. Though we did have the Crunch for a while!!

  8. Jack's Shack December 26, 2005 at 6:21 pm


    You are in desperate need of a woman. A little loving and you’ll be a much happier guy. 😉

  9. Zeruel December 26, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    Hahah. Hi Stace. Merry Christmas. No i don’t really like techno music. I liked it 10 years ago but not anymore. I like ‘room music’. Music that you can hear in the background but doesn’t interfere in the conversation.

  10. Stacey December 26, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    Dude, that Willie Nelson song is simple and beautiful. I love it.

    Zeruel, are you into that awful Dutch techno-party-wannabe-music? I heard it all over Holland when I was there and I hated it. Blech.

  11. Zeruel December 26, 2005 at 10:34 am

    Dude, thats such a whiney melodrama song. Horrible.

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