Verbal Content Filter Failure
“How can you say nothing is going on?”
He stood there with a blank look on his face for a moment, then he blinked, and replied.
“Nothing is going on.”
She bristled at this. She really hated when he acted this way.
“You’ve been out to lunch with her!”
“Well what?” He said after a second.
“You don’t see what is wrong with that?”
“No I don’t.”
She huffed and put her hands on her hips.
He knew what was bothering her and he did understand why she felt the way she did. But the simple fact is, he didn’t try to hide anything, he told her face to face. But she is under the impression that this could be the beginning of something.
“How can you not see what is wrong here?”
“Because you think something happened and I am telling you that nothing did or will happen.”
She shifted her weight on to her other foot defiantly.
“Really!” She replied in a tone that said she did not believe him.
He tried a new tactic. He was tired of always being the one to give in.
“Do you trust me?”
This brought her up short and left her scrambling for a reply. He saw this on her face. She thought this was very out of character for him, which heightened her suspicions.
“What do you mean by that?’
“It was a pretty straight forward question.”
“This isn’t about me!”
“Not completely.” That was a mistake, and he knew it. But he found the words just leapt out before he realized it. Her face turned several darker shades of red, and her eyes began to well with tears.
In all the arguments they ever had, the second the tears started, it would knock him right out of the ring. Her tears were his kryptonite. A single tear would blow his chances of getting his point across in an instant. He could almost see his side of the argument flying out the door and being blown down the street, then being run over by a long line of trucks filled with loads of guilt, self loathing and remorse.
A single tear fell down her cheek and her eyes instantly filled with tears.
Several thoughts jumped on him right then.
First, can she command tears like this at will?
Second, does she consciously or subconsciously know that he is incapable of arguing when she is crying?
Third, does she know how silly this argument is, and could that be the reason for this sudden uncalled for waterworks?
He was so caught up with all of these thoughts that he missed that she was talking to him.
“...uncaring! Do you understand?”
His brain seized up at this moment. He was distracted by his own thoughts that he had been grappling with, that when he finally caught on that she was talking to him, and what she said hit his brain, it caused all his thoughts to grind to a halt.
And then without thinking, he said, “Huh?
Bad, bad move. He would have been much better off just keeping his mouth shut. This was a habit that he really wished he could do something about. Saying “what” or “huh” is not a good reply, especially to her.
“Would you listen to me for once!”
What he said next was the result of several factors. Ordinarily none of them would pose too much of a problem, but combinations of them, or all, would cause that part of his brain that kept him from making inappropriate comments, the verbal editing filters, to fail.
While his brain scrambled to come to grips with this failure of the editing filters, and the mental stall he had just suffered, and the crying, he failed to notice the words he spoke,until it was far too late.
“It’s hard NOT to hear you, understanding is the problem.”
STRIKE THREE! YOUR OUT!
As she stood in front of him, completely dumbfounded, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide, he tried to stay calm. But the horror exploded when he heard himself say,
“You sound like a broken radio, a lot of static but you can’t hear the words.”
Reprinted from the Reading Times
February 5, 2005
Shoemakersville man hospitalized in domestic dispute.
A Shoemakersville man was taken to Reading Community Hospital two days ago. He was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife. The man suffered moderate injuries including a concussion, several lacerations and bruises on his face, arms and head.
His wife was briefly detained by police as a result. She was taken into custody for assaulting her husband with a large book.
Charges against the woman are not expected to be filed as the husband has refused to press charges. The couple was seen leaving the hospital today. They were holding hands and the woman's eyes were filled with tears.