It never fails. You're at work and hanging with your coworkers cracking jokes around the water cooler or killing time pretending to look like you're busy. Something comes out of your mouth about your boss and you think it's funny, and maybe it woulda been funny, if it wasn't for the fact that all your friends are looking over your shoulder and you turn around and your boss walked in just in time to hear you put your foot in your mouth.

This is known as The "It Sounded Good In My Head Before It Came Out Of My Mouth" Syndrome. Not to be confused with The "I Like You A Lot But Maybe We Could Oh Gee I Dunno Let's Just Be Friends Okay" Syndrome which is a completely different thing entirely and has nothing to do with The "It Sounded Good In My Head Before It Came Out Of My Mouth" Syndrome because the Let's Just Be Friends thing is something stupid that she says and you're just standing there with a dumb look on your face. No. The "It Sounded Good In My Head Before It Came Out Of My Mouth" Syndrome is equally frustrating and nerve-wracking but that's where the similarity ends.

In order for The "It Sounded Good In My Head Before It Came Out Of My Mouth" Syndrome to kick in, there's a few variables that need to be in the room together. First, you need a mouth. Next, you need a brain connected to that mouth. Thirdly, you need to have a nervous system between the brain and the mouth, which has no common sense whatsoever. Sometimes the nervous system connecting the brain to the mouth does have common sense, but has no common sense in when to use its common sense. To wit, at all times. When for that split instant where the nervous system that usually has common sense suddenly doesn't, that's called a Common Sense Short Circuit. This is when the electrical impulses connecting the common sense to the rest of the nervous system takes a holiday for a split second, but then it kicks back in just long enough for you to realize that you're a real dumb ass.

This is a common issue among politicians. When Bill Clinton looked into the camera and said, "Well, I guess that depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is," I'm sure it sounded good in his head before it came out of his mouth. When Dan Quayle spelled potatoe with an 'e,' I'm sure it sounded good in his head before it came out of his mouth. When Ronald Reagan said on the radio, "we begin bombing in five minutes," I'm sure it sounded good in his head before it came out of his mouth. Recently, Trent Lott said something in support of his colleague Strom Thurmond which I'm sure sounded good in his head but when he opened his mouth the world just painted him as racist and insensitive. He didn't necessarily mean for it to be racist or insensitive, but that's what it was. George W. Bush's nervous system short circuits so often, I don't even know where to start with him.

There are times when we who participate in Everything2 suffer from this ailment. You write up something and post it to the website, and it sounded like a good idea when you were typing it up, but then others read it and they get upset with you and next thing you know it's marked for destruction and your head is spinning trying to figure out what went wrong. Well, the answer is usually you. You went wrong. Your brain was sending impulses to your fingers but somewhere along the way your common sense just went off to wash its hair or something and you're left looking stupid.

What can you do when you find this happening to you? Well the first thing you should do is nothing. At this instant anything that you say is just going to add insult to injury. YOUR injury. Just fall silent and pretend to be a plant in the corner of the room. Secondly, remember that you are not alone. More importantly, remember that no matter what you've just done, it's not the worst. Others before you have done far more damage to their own common sense and humanity than you could ever imagine.

When Tonya Harding said to Jeff Gillooly that she wished someone would break Nancy Kerrigan's legs, I'm sure it sounded good in her head before it came out of her mouth. When Michael Jackson told his plastic surgeon that he wanted to look more like Diana Ross, I'm sure it sounded good in his head before it came out of his mouth. When Jim Jones told his associates, "put it in the kool-aid" I'm sure it sounded good in his head before it came out of his mouth. There are times in every human being's life when something comes out of one's mouth when it really shouldn't have; when one commits to an action that one really shouldn't have done. Everyone loses common sense for a brief second now and then. The real tragedy is when that short circuit becomes a switch that is permanently turned off.

This is one of the flaws in human engineering. I do not mean to insinuate that whatever supreme force created humanity is fallible, but the creation of that supreme force is fallible. I doubt anyone is immune to The "It Sounded Good In My Head Before It Came Out Of My Mouth" Syndrome.

Well. Maybe Fred Rogers was immune to it.

And perhaps it's not a flaw. Perhaps this is a purposeful 'feature' in the design of the human being. Maybe it's not a weakness of which to be ashamed, but instead an obstacle to overcome.

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