I was out at a crash scene the other night and it didn’t look good. 

Mark LaFlamme

“Boy,” I said as I scrambled out of the car. “This doesn’t look good.” 

Ahead, I could see a small knot of people gathered around the crash site. 

“We’ll want to talk to those people,” I remarked. “Some of them must have witnessed this wreck.” 

As I drew closer, I could make out the faces of the men and women huddling around the wreckage. 

“Hey,” I declared. “I know that guy. He’s the dude who works at that garage, isn’t he?” 

There was no answer to that. Of course there wasn’t, fool. Who would answer? As I half-trotted to the crash scene that day, as I’d trotted to so many others, I was completely alone. 

I admit it with faint apprehension. I talk to myself. A lot. More than can be healthy, frankly. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if I kept track, I’d find that I talk to myself way, WAY more than I talk to others. 

What can I say? I’m delightful company. 

Although, sometimes I can be a real bastard. 

The other night I was sitting at the drum kit, trying to unknot a difficult fill in a frantic section of “Light My Fire.” It wasn’t going well. 

“Man, that’s terrible!” I derided myself. “Absolute crap. Can you not even manage a simple flam? Maybe you should stick to ‘Manic Monday,’ you lousy, no good Densmore wannabe!” 

It was a vicious attack and for a moment, I just sat there in stunned silence. 

“Did I really just say all that to myself?” I asked the room. 

“You did, moron. You really gotta stop talking to yourself.” 

“Ah, shuddup.” 

“YOU shuddup!” 

It nearly came to blows. 

It gets particularly embarrassing when I start yammering in a public place. 

“A buck-fifty for a can of Vienna sausage?” I’ll babble in a grocery store, completely unaware that a shockingly graceful elderly woman has crept in behind me to look at the Dinty Moore. 

When she gawps at me, eyebrows raised in judgment, I’ll press a finger to the side of my head. 

“Ear piece,” I’ll tell her. “The phone, don’cha know. Ain’t technology grand? I just wish people wouldn’t call when I’m trying to shop. Toodaloo, nice lady. Enjoy the beef stew!” 

In the car I’m safe, inasmuch as I can’t talk to myself because I’m too busy singing a full-blast falsetto along with whatever song is on the radio (I have a lovely singing voice; I’ve told myself so many times) but other than that, it’s me, myself and I having nonstop conversations like we’re buddies at a bar. 

On the motorcycle, it gets out of control, although the argument could be made that I’m not really talking to myself there, I’m talking to the bike, which is obviously not strange at all. 

“I dunno about that mud hole,” I’ll mutter as I make my approach. “If we get stuck out here, we’re in for an all-day slog.” 

A second or two later, the answer comes back — whether from myself or from the bike is not altogether clear. 

“By gum, you’re right,” I’ll declare. “Let’s do it! What’s the worst that could happen?” 

I gun the throttle, hit the mud and the dialogue from there is mostly in the form of four letter words — either of glee or defeat, depending on how it goes. 

I talk to myself everywhere, under all types of circumstances. I babble deliriously when I’m happy and dolorously when I’m not. Words, words and more words, uttered to no one yet sincerely felt all the same. 

Why, while writing this very column, I caught myself engaging in more of that private and meaningless conversation. 

“Duuuude,” I said early on. “Are you really going to write about this and admit utter lunacy to the five people who read your column?” 

“Well,” came the reply. “You got anything else to write about this week? No? I thought so. Shut your head, F. Scott FitzHemingway, and let’s get this done.” 

An endless stream of words, forever slaying the silences that, for whatever reason, make me so uncomfortable. Blah, blah and more blah. To me, words are like poisonous food: either regurgitate them at once, sonny boy, or you just might die. 

And as it is with so many components of my life, I’m always trying to quit this pointless and troubling habit. 

“I won’t say a single word to myself all day!” I’ll vow out loud. “I will cure myself of this peccadillo!” 

Laughter ensues

“Ha!” I say. “You? Quit talking? I’ve got 20 bucks that says you won’t make it an hour.” 

See what I mean? A real beast, this guy. So you can see why I have to tell him off so often.

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