Weekly Discourse Column

Soliloquies from My Soul

The best conversations I’ve ever had have been entirely in my head.

In my head, I always know the right to thing to say. I stand up for every wrong against myself or anyone else and say the smoothest lines that cause women to swoon and men to spontaneously cheer.

Soliloquies from my soulI quit every job I’ve ever had with such righteous indignation that my bosses see the error of their ways and instantly regret all of their life decisions.

My views are calmly and rationally expressed to rapt audiences who can’t escape the conclusion that I am right – about everything.

In my head, there is widespread agreement. Everyone’s rights are respected. The world is just, fun, and fair. The only problem is, these conversations never make it out of my head.

When I was younger and single, it was as much a struggle to articulate romantic aspirations as it was to stand up to a bully of a boss or supposed authority figure. I’ve never been good at telling friends how much they mean to me and am slow to interrupt someone the moment they say something inappropriate.

And in job interviews, I always give the answer I think will be best received instead of the answer that best reflects how I would approach the job. I’m too quick to hold back in the interests of “just getting along.”

I’ve left more than a few interviews knowing that I had played it safe and regretting not taking the initiative to really express my potential. Needless to say, I didn’t get any of those jobs.

My life has been filled with soliloquies from my soul that nobody knows. I go through life like a non-fiction Walter Mitty constantly caught in the separation between the physical world and the imaginative world inside my mind.

I’m pretty good at weaving these sort of remarks into prepared remarks and speeches when the audience is primed and the microphone is mine. But they never trickle down into day-to-day conversations, which is a shame because understanding these thoughts is the truest way to know me. I assume it must be the same for other people too.

I’ve always enjoyed body-swap movies where one character’s spirit jumps into another person’s body, like Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold in Vice Versa, or when Patrick Swayze tricked Whoopi Goldberg into getting freaky with Demi Moore in Ghost.

As fun as it would be to temporarily experience the world inside someone else’s body, I’d much rather see it from someone else’s mind.

Mel Gibson was able to read women’s minds once in a movie, but he just used the power to seduce Helen Hunt and win a big account. That’s an admirable goal, but it was also the plot of every episode of Mad About You. He could’ve done so much more.

I don’t think I could handle the shock of reading everyone’s mind. There’s too much hate and ugliness in the world. But I’d like to at least read a few – to hear the unrestrained complexities of someone else’s thoughts and soul.

Internal thoughts never sharedI often wonder what life would be like if I didn’t have any filters. If I just said whatever came to mind, no matter the consequences.

Tom Cruise did that once while quitting his job in Jerry Maguire, but he just used the power to seduce Renee Zellweger and win a big account.

He could’ve done so much more, to show us the truth behind his couch-jumping madness and perfectly straight veneers.

If we could read each other’s thoughts, it would be chaos, but there would also be a lot less lying. Jim Carrey couldn’t lie once, but he just used the power to seduce the girl from Newsradio and win a big account. He could’ve done so much more.

We all could.

But most of what we do and say and write isn’t about revealing the deepest truths we hold. Like the Hollywood box office, the awkwardness of a first date, or the pressures of a job interview, we’re filtered.


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Soliloquies are unlike monologues or conversations. They exist separate from time and space and lose their properties if shared. Fred Savage holds the secret, but not from switching places with his divorced dad.

Judge Reinhold could never know Fred Savage’s soul. That job comes with introspection that takes many seasons to unfold and, for some reason, sounds an awful lot like Daniel Stern.



Next Week: Getting Serious About Soup

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