27 Feb 2010
When it comes to gibberish, nobody appreciates it more than Yours Truly. If the truth were fully known, and let's hope it isn't, I have engaged in more than my share of gibberish.
Just last week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage accosted me on this very subject. I was trying to explain to her why I did not do something she asked me to do when in the middle of my explanation she stopped me and said, "I wish you would stop all of this gibberish and just tell me the truth."
I did not point out to her at that time – there were other priorities – but later on I mused on what she said. In her statement she made an assumption that I'm not quite sure is absolutely the truth. Her assumption, plain and simple, is that gibberish and truth are not synonymous. According to her, it is either gibberish or it is the truth, and neither shall the twain meet.
I feel, however, that this is not fair.
Undoubtedly, everybody would agree that there are plenty of times when the truth is absolutely essential. The higher up the chain of authority the more essential that truth is.
For example, if I am driving down the road speeding and a police officer stops me and asks me if I was speeding, the truth will set me free. Especially, when the nice police officer has irrefutable evidence that I was in fact speeding. There is absolutely no good that can come from lying in a situation like this.
Then there is the other side. If your wife asks you if the dress she is wearing makes her look fat, believe me, the truth will not set you free. This is where gibberish comes in.
There is a place for everything in life, and I am happy to say that there is a place for gibberish.
Now the question bears asking, what is gibberish?
According to the dictionary, gibberish is "rapid and incoherent talk; unintelligible chatter; jargon." That definition covers a vast territory of human experience.
Nowhere in that definition does it even suggest that gibberish is the opposite of truth. In fact, gibberish at its best is truth disguised in order not to hurt somebody. That somebody may be yourself or in my case, my wife. I employ the fine art of gibberish so as not to hurt the one I love. And I am sticking with that story.
First, gibberish is "rapid and incoherent talk." Many a time this has been my salvation. When I am caught, for example, with my hands in the cookie jar and someone catches me and inquires, "What are you doing?" this level of gibberish is employed. And the faster the better. Of course, if your mouth is filled with cookies at the time, all the better.
Then there is the "unintelligible chatter." This is harder to master. Not the "unintelligible" part. For many of us, especially husbands, this is almost a natural thing. Regardless, it becomes quite easy for us. The chatter part sometimes slows us down. After all, any man who has been married for any length of time rarely gets the opportunity to practice his chattering skills. This is why most husbands talk in their sleep.
Last, but not least is "jargon." This calls for a specialized language requiring the employment of words that do not mean anything whatsoever. Words like, “thingamajig” and “whatchamacallit.” For those who are going to master the skills of gibberish these kinds of words are absolutely necessary.
When my father was working in the garage, he used to tell me, "Go get me that thingamajig next to the whatchamacallit." I always brought him the hammer. He always invited me to go outside and play.
Gibberish is a present help in time of trouble.
Nobody has raised gibberish to the high art standard as the humble politician. (The word "humble," is gibberish and I can't tell you what it means.) The average politician can say more gibberish in five minutes than the average husband can in a lifetime. And I know they mean well, they do not want to hurt our feelings and so they employ the tactic of gibberish. (The gibberish union must have strong lobbyists in Washington DC to get all this employment).
Some of the gibberish used in the past has been, "I feel your pain." Certainly you feel my pain. You caused it. And the famous one, "No new taxes." Of course not, it will be the re-employment of the old taxes. (Again, here is a strong lobbyist representingold taxes union.)
However, in light of all this, there has been an old gibberish that I never quite understood what it meant until lately. I think it was Harry Truman who said, "The buck stops here." I thought I knew what it meant until lately.
When a politician says, "The Buck stops here," he is actually referring to all those bucks in your wallet.
Only one person I know does not employ the tactic of gibberish. Fortunately, for all concerned that one person is God. The Bible says, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19 KJV).
God always says what He means, and always means what He says.
Rev. James L. Snyder