Most of you have heard of an English idiom "Putting your foot in your mouth" . In fact, some of you have used this idiom in reference to your mouth more than once. I used it just the other day. Again.
We were on our way to my mom's house after morning church service for a birthday celebration when I asked my husband to stop at a grocery store so I could get her some flowers. My plan was to get in, grab a pretty flower pot and get out as we were in a hurry to get to a place that had food. When I got to the store I started frantically looking through different pots of flowers lifting the more attracting ones and taking a closer look when I thought I heard someone say,
"I like that one best."
I ignored this comment as I didn't think anyone was talking to me. After about a minute I looked up and saw a man staring at me and at that very second I understood that it was him who made that comment. Not wanting to appear rude (hah!) I said,
"I am sorry, were you talking to me a second ago?"
"Yes, I said I liked that red one when you were looking at it, " he answered. "I don't know much about flowers but those look good."
"I don't know much about flowers either, " I said. "So I am having a hard time deciding."
Then he said something I wish he didn't.
"In fact, when I was married, I used to just cut daffodils and give them to my ex-wife. "
I smiled, thought a clever thought and spurred out, "That is why you are not married anymore, hah?"
"Hmm....ye.....aha....hmmm..." he mumbled back.
I immediately felt bad about my comment but not before he said,
"Say, do you subscribe to the Oregonian?"
Right at that moment, I realized that my tongue has gotten me in trouble. I usually make an extra effort avoid sales people. When I see one, I tell my self, "Do not look up. Do not make eye contact. Now, RUUUUUUUN!" It is an innate feeling of some sort that works to GUARD me from unnecessary, unplanned spending and from wasting my time and theirs. But now, I felt so bad about what I've said, I felt like I owed him at least a little bet of attention and allow him to get through his spiel.
Needless to say, I spent about fifteen minutes telling him why we don't currently subscribe as we don't mind at all reading a bias newspaper, and listening to his rebuttals. Finally, I grabbed whatever pot of flowers that didn't look too wilted, took his contact info and politely left the scene.
There is simple rule that one must follow and he/she will never be stuck in such an uncomfortable position:
That simple rule is.....if you are feeling the urge to say something clever, bite your tongue. If after a few seconds you still find it clever, bite your tongue harder until it bleeds. It IS better, than putting your foot in your mouth. Trust me.