“We are the Cubs from Den 3/And no one could be prouder/If you cannot hear our shout/We’ll yell a little LOUDER.”
That chant from my Cub Scout pack-meeting days comes to mind as I explore the issue of moderation-challenged speakers, or, as the prestigious American Psychiatric Association clinically labels them, “bozos who wouldn’t know an indoor voice if it bit them on the rear.”
Surely you could name some loud talkers. Maybe you are a loud talker. When you overhear people whispering about boorish behavior, perhaps you should consider asking, “Lord, is it I? I said, LORD, IS IT I????”
Booming voices disseminating too-much-information revelations are everywhere: across the hedge, in the classroom (my second-grade teacher Mrs. Shubert dubbed me “Old Cannon Mouth”), on the beach, in the grocery store, in the homes of people who use recorded jackhammer sounds in their “white noise” machine…
Retailers certainly need all the business they can get, but frontline employees dread the arrival of certain clueless extroverts. Everyone in the building hears them as soon as they enter the front door. Heck, the store’s vendors in Southeast Asia hear them as soon as they enter the front door!
You should consider yourself lucky if you meet an acquaintance who is merely loud. Sometimes you also get a dislocated shoulder from vigorous handshaking, a stinging slap on the back and a public recitation of how you obtained the embarrassing nickname you’ve been trying to live down since high school. (“I know you’re trying to get to the ER, stranger, but the ambulance driver can wait until you hear about Mr. Who Put the Dissected Frog in my Jockstrap?”)
Count your blessings (not out loud!) when you encounter a solo loudmouth. Too often, there are entire families who have been competing for attention for generations. (“Yes! Let’s play Twister! Then I can get even closer to your ear! What? No, I love YOU more. What? You actually said, ‘let’s make some s’mores’? I love you even more.”)
It’s obvious that some people unleash the decibels because they grew up poor in the middle of the 20th century. (“I can’t change my volume because I can’t find the pliers.”)
I wish all loud talkers could take some subtle hints when they’re getting carried away, but apparently many of them are colorblind as well. They mistake the blood oozing from your ears for sweat.
Don’t fall into the trap of pigeonholing people purely on the basis of volume. Some people are loud only intermittently, when they’re excited to share some news; others are always “on.” Some are apologetic; some are oblivious. Some are amiable and earnest with their gushing. Others are downright obnoxious. Some you make excuses for. Others, you make burial-in-a-shallow-grave plans for.
Not all loud talkers are egotistical. Some are preemptively bluffing to cover their insecurities. (Judging by the intensity of their utterances, they must think that alien invaders are about to drain their bank account and induce male pattern baldness.)
I would shout, “Yahoo!” now that I have met my deadline, but my wife is sensitive to loud noises, and I don’t want to trigger any migraines.
She might throw out my Cub Scout merit badge for Untying Sheepshank Knots by Yodeling at Them.
Almost as coveted as the one for Scaring Little Old Ladies into Crossing the Street to Avoid You.