THE THOUGHT-BUBBLE DIFFERENTIAL
I don’t understand how women think, even though I have been married for 14 years. However, I have inhabited my own body for thirty-eight years and have a pretty good idea how men think. Two men, Mike and Bill, are in line at the post-office and have been in line for some time. Mike strikes up a conversation with Bill:
Mike: “Wow, I thought I would be in and out in just a few minutes. This is a crazy long line.”
Bill: “Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." He looks like he's in good shape. I wonder if I could kick his butt.
Mike: “I usually come in at lunch, but it doesn't usually take this long."
Bill: “Same here.” First thing I'd go for is his right knee cap. He has skinny legs, so he would totally be on the floor.
Mike: “You work close by?”
Bill: “Cool Springs Boulevard. First floor of the Marriot." If he tried to go for me, I'd lock his right arm and bend that mother back until it snapped.
Mike: "Oh, investments, finance?”
Bill: "Banking. Twelve years.” You freaking perv. What else do you want to know? What color my underwear is? If you even tried to put your hands on my underwear, I'd knee you so bad you'd be talking like Julia Childs...
Mike: "I’ve got friends over there. Do you know Jim Martin?"
Bill: "Craig? Yes, I do. He works right across the hall from me." Why the hell would Jim Martin be friends with him? I could probably take both of them down.
Mike: "Yeah, we do breakfast once a week. Shoneys. Tuesdays."
Bill: "How long have you guys known each other? Jim and I go way back." I’d punch him in the throat. If he didn’t go down, I’d bring his head down and knee him right in the nose.
Mike: "Yeah, we go to the same church. The Global Nation. Heard of it?"
Bill: "I’ve heard of it. I know the worship leader, Stephanie Marland." He looks like he has ripped abs, too. He would have a strong core. I'd get him in a good chokehold, and wouldn't let go until he passed out.
Mike: "Absolutely! I went rappelling with her husband two weeks ago. Bev has an amazing gift. She was featured in the Tennessean last week for her work in the Metro Children's Choir."
Bill: "No way! I had no idea she worked with kids." I wonder if my wife would think he was hot. Probably. With his chiseled face and that stupid, spiky hair.
Mike: "Yeah, we moved here from
around the same time. Back in 07." L.A.
Bill: "You probably know the Stantons and the Butlers?" I could see them together. Her in that red dress and him with those huge biceps. But I’d beat his butt if he ever did tried that.
Mike: "Yes, I do… Hey, we're going to go listen to Bam Bam in concert this Friday night. You want to come? You can bring your wife. You married?"
Bill: "I love Bam Bam! Sure, let me find out what I’m doing. How do I get in touch with you?" I'm sure you would want me to bring my wife, you arrogant piece of crap. You think I'm some small, vulnerable, nice guy at the post office who needs to be befriended? You don't know anything about me. I could take you down with two moves.
Mike: "Great! Call Jim Martin, and tell him we spoke. I'll get two extra tickets. I’m Mike Page. (Shakes hands). Hey, dinner on us before the concert? What a small world! Oh, it looks like it’s time to go. Nice talking to you. You are...?”
Bill: "Bill Newport. Looking forward to it!" He’s not such a bad guy after all. I wonder if his wife is hot.
In this example of the word-thought differential, Bill has been bullied into a one-sided relationship by the sheer passivity of his inferiority complex. He will average 14 lunches, 8 family dinners, 3 movies, and 123 phone conversations during the life of this relationship with Mike.
Worse yet, Bill's wife will be best friends with Mike's wife for the better part of four years in which case Bill becomes recipient to an information pipeline about Mike's vocational promotions, Mike's romantic inclinations, Mike's athletic accomplishments, Mike's generosity.
Mike. Mike. Mike. Bill and Mike will be "good" friends for the next few years. Bill will hate it, and Mike will be none the wiser. All because Bill did not observe the word-thought differential. If you find yourself in a situation similar in spirit to this one, free yourself like I've recently done.
Oops... that was supposed to be in a thought bubble.