You Gotta Be So Careful What You Say Nowadays
Careful! Oh, careful there – you’ve got to be so careful, what you say nowadays. There’s got to be care when you say it, whatever it is. For example, you know, here’s an example of something you could never get away with saying nowadays: And that’s just an example, mind you! Imagine if I’d really said that? To you, a news reporter? And you printed it, and so on? Anything could happen, if that happened.
I don’t know exactly when we all had to start being so careful. Certainly by the time I had achieved a definite degree of financial security and a vested interest in maintaining a certain cultural status I’d managed to achieve. Before then, no one was careful. Or if they were careful, it was only in sufficient quantities to lend a desirable sense of security underpinning the proceedings. We were careful with our carefulness, then. Too much carefulness and what have you got? Well, too much, that’s what you’ve got; whatever it is there’s certainly too much of it. I think we can all agree on that. I think we can all agree that too much of something is more than you need. I think if I keep saying I think I know what we can all agree on without pausing for response that I can take your silence for consensus.
Silence!! A victory. The resounding rightness of my position is met always by silence. Someone’s being careful, anyhow.
I think everyone’s being too careful, as a matter of fact. For example, what if something were to happen and nobody did anything about it because they were all so busy being careful? That’d be terrible – I think we can all agree on that. And it probably does happen! I don’t know, somewhere. Imagine it – someone’s a child, or even younger, and then they say something, and everyone’s so worried about being careful that they forget to act repressively, and then what do you end up with? A lot of children and not very much carefulness. And isn’t it children who have to be the most careful of all? What about a hot stove? Children are always touching those, and it’s never careful. Can’t touch a hot stove without being burned, and if you extrapolate from there, well.
Can’t be so careful you stop calling a hot stove a hot stove! That’s why everyone is too careful, in my opinion. Here’s another thing I think they’re too careful about: Just another example of what you can’t say. They’ll string me up over a hot stove for saying so! But I’m too old to be careful. Too old, and yet paradoxically with a younger spirit than even the youngest careful person – I’m the oldest boy in the world with the heart and mind of God’s youngest baby. All those careful children out there are much, much older than me, the eternal prankster with several investment portfolios. Invest carefully but speak carelessly, that’s my motto! Not that these children will listen; they’re too busy touching hot stoves and yelling at one another for not being careful enough. One of them will be along shortly and make me eat my own death for saying this, mind you; this will be my very last interview after a long string of interviews where I talk about the things it’s not careful to say. I’ll keep saying them, but they’ll kill me for it.
Before I’m killed, I’d like to invite you to imagine another hypothetical: What if something happened? It’d be terrible, wouldn’t it? And what if something terrible happened just because everyone was so worried about being careful? That wouldn’t be very careful at all, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m getting younger by the minute, and everyone older than me is turning into children and hot stoves, and no one’s doing a damn thing about it. Anything could happen, and anything’s happening right now.
Back then we could disagree with each other, you see, in a civil way, and not let our nearly identical upbringings and life experiences keep us from coming together in a spirit of comity and decorum and clinky drinks.