Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The sentence finisher
One of my favorite t.v. shows of all time was Seinfeld.
He managed to take the mundane moments of life and turn them into an hysterical 1/2 hour show that we couldn't wait to view every Thursday night for years.
One of the watermarks of a Seinfeld episode, was his ability to make an everyday behavior bigger than life.
One episode that clearly stands out is that of the "close talker", played by actor Judge Reinhold.
(pictured above in Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
You know this person... the one that invades your space, your personal invisible boundary, moving right smack into your face while talking to you.
The other day, my husband noticed something about a friend of ours, that I had not been aware of.
He finishes your sentences...he's a sentence finisher!
I couldn't help but laugh hysterically, thinking, this is one episode Seinfeld missed!
This is the person who, while you're talking, is busy thinking up the best ending to your sentences or sometimes, your entire story. Before you can spit the words out of your mouth...they have already judged and executed the remainder of your story.
Now, if you're a brand new couple, this behavior is quite adorable. "Oh, don't you just love Susie and Joe together...they're so in tune with one another that they finish eachother's sentences".
"How romantic, how cute, how adorable, how endearing...they complete eachother".
Of course, cut to that same couple 20 years later, and Susie is reaming Joe for constantly cutting her off, never letting her finish a sentence, or get a word in edge-wise, and for doubting that she has a valuable thought in her head.
Joe is screaming at Susie for being a blustering loud mouthed bitch, who never shuts up unless she has a bowl of icecream in front of her.
(no, no, despite what you may be thinking, I'm not talking about me and Mr. Cruisin...he knows to keep his mouth shut when I'm talking).
Now, if you're not a couple, and just two people talking...it's a little more difficult to lambast the person for cutting you off. I mean, afterall, that lambasting should really be reserved for those closest to us...wives, husbands, children, parents...you know, the people we love and care about the most.
Never waist a good reaming on someone you don't really care about intimately and passionately.
So what to do when confronted with this kind of person? I say, why not have fun with it.
And here's how...
See how many sentences or stories you can start, and have that person finish. You know, kind of like mad libs or a sentence completion game. Become a sentence-finisher enabler!
Keep score in your head. How many sentences were they able to complete? How many entire stories of yours did they already know the ending to?
And why not just keep increasing the stakes as you go along...start telling about your bathroom habits; relay a story about your sexual escapades with your husband...
and see where the sentence finisher takes you!
So, the next time you find a sentence finisher's behavior annoying, it's time to look in the mirror, girlfriend (sorry if you're a guy...what's the guy equivalent to girlfriend?) and ask yourself...
How have I let this person down? How have I not enabled them in becoming the most proficient sentence-finisher they could be?
Perhaps you have been unwilling to share, openly and honestly. What's a little sexual escapades story among friends...
And bathroom habits? ...why, crap, I've already shared the intimate details of my colonoscopy with you...
Perhaps we can do a "sentence finishing" test run right here...go ahead, fill in the blanks.
Okay, here goes...
last night Mr. Cruisin and I.........