Sick of the sound of your voice
Make it stop.
Do you ever get sick of the sound of your own voice?
Lord knows I do and I'm sure many of you are completely over the ringing of mine in your head when you read these ramblings.
Some days I sit at my keyboard wondering what the hell I can possibly write to add to human understanding - or even human entertainment - and end up bashing out 700 words on abilities I wish I could buy on eBay (that was a pretty funny piece, actually).
It's one of the pitfalls of writing a blog; you have to think of stuff to say, even when you have absolutely nothing to say.
I'm sure you appreciate the notion, as this same tension informs about half of human conversation; people saying stuff when they have absolutely nothing to say.
It doesn't matter where you go in the world, you can have the same conversations in Sydney or Shanghai: "So how are you doing?", "What've you been up to?", "What do you do?", "You watch MasterChef?"
Or get prodded into saying stuff like: "I really like your house/haircut/shoes", "What a cute kid" or "Have you lost weight?"
As has been observed many times, you know you've found a friend when you can just sit in silence with them and feel no obligation to talk.
Ah, the serenity.
It's also a grand thing knowing how to hold your tongue when you're not among friends.
I've always had a grudging respect for the archetypal "man of few words", who nods and smiles wryly at conversations, ripping off a zinger of a line every 40 minutes.
Despite this, or maybe because of it, it is the smooth talkers sure dominate our media, our politics and our peer groups.
You're not likely to hear a "man who keeps his own counsel" doing the morning show on AM radio or network TV.
Nowadays, I fear the "strong silent type" may be something of an anachronism - people seem to equate silence with obscurity or at least a willingness to endure it.
In Chuck Klosterman's book Eating the Dinosaur, British music critic Chris Heath observes: "We are used to the idea of giving witness to one's life as an important and noble counterpoint to being unheard, especially when applied to people in certain disadvantaged, oppressed or unacceptable situations.
"But in a slightly more pathological way, I'm not sure we aren't seeing the emergence of a society in which almost everyone who isn't famous considers themselves cruelly and unfairly unheard.
"As though being the subject of wide attention is considered to be a fulfilled human being's natural state – and so, as a corollary, the cruelly unheard millions are perpetually primed and fired up to answer any and all questions in order to redress this awful imbalance."
Thus it seems we're left with a situation in the media whereby those people who are willing to speak - the celebrities, shock jocks, politicians and columnists - fill acres of newsprint and ballrooms of airspace with monotonously similar or predictably controversial views, while individuals who might have something reasonable or different to offer go unheard.
Of course, this situation is quickly being reversed by the Twitterati, Facebookers and bloggers who are yet to tire of telling us what they're having for lunch or what they think about their kids' poop.
To all of them I'd offer this fabulous little aphorism: "If you want to be seen, stand up. If you want to be heard, speak up. If you want to be appreciated, shut up."
Some weeks I certainly wish I could.