When I was younger, my mouth would sometimes get me into trouble. I was not mean, but owned a quick tongue. That is, I spoke before completely thinking out my response. I’ve learned discernment over the years and slowed down my response time to give my brain a chance to catch up with my loose cannon. Still, I like to joke around and half of joking-around is timing. And jokes age faster than collagened lips in Hollywood. Full confession: one female Lieutenant Commander, who I work with, will no longer talk to me over my big mouth.
She arrived at our command three months ago and was very cordial right from the get-go. I did not work with her (yet) but stopped and chatted with her on a couple of occasions. Chatty banter which I cannot remember the content. We were friendly, but not friends.
Come three weeks ago and I get a new responsibility that requires a meeting. I trucked down to a conference room across base and she was in there. Great, someone I can shoot it with. Still, very nice, the LCDR was.
Then last week, before our meeting, I asked what officer community she was a member of. (Our communities correspond with our jobs.)
Oh, I am an Engineering Duty Officer now.
Now? I inquired. You were a SWO before you lateral transferred?
(A SWO is a Surface Warfare Officer, a boat driver. The saying goes: SWOs eat their young. . .)
A Nuke SWO, she corrected me with an intense grimace.
I smiled (and did not engage my brain apparatus before speaking next.) Whoah, I said in a kind of whoop-di-do type of way.
In all fairness to me, I am a linguist and am used to being ribbed unmercifully for it. Languages do something odd to your brain; they marinate us with sauces normal people don’t get. So I was kind of just playing around with her, the same way folks poke at me. And speaking of marinades, I was really quite mild and not as tangy as I coulda been. This was nothing in my mind.
She shot me a look that would freeze hot coals at 1000 yards. I smiled weakly; she turned around and did not say another word.
Two more meetings later. And I continue to greet her, with a lackluster hey as her only response. If you ever hear that naval officers are not coordinating amongst themselves, know that I am the cause. . .