Thursday, July 9, 2009

Time to change the filter

Several years ago I was in Washington D.C. attending a conference at which my company received an award prestigious enough that a couple members of Congress took the time to present it. The award presentation took place in a meeting room in one of the Congressional office buildings. While the honorable [name withheld] was up front giving the presentation speech, I was “whispering” snarky comments to one of my colleagues.

Here’s the thing, though, I can’t whisper. I have one of those voices that carries. I can speak in an auditorium with no microphone and everyone will hear me. But I forget this sometimes, so one of the people from our PR firm casually walked over from the other side of the room and told me, in the kindest possible way, to shut my trap.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve made my living by and large with my ability to communicate. I never have a shortage of things to say, it’s just a matter of whether or not they’re appropriate. Professionally, I have to keep the filter between my brain and my mouth set to eleven.

On this blog, however, it goes down to three or four. I would turn it all the way off except that my dad and my wife read this thing, and I’d prefer to avoid being disowned or divorced. That and I don't want to alienate each and every one of my readers.

Sometimes, however, I go too far, and in a vain attempt at snarky humor say things that are perhaps a bit much. For that, Padraig, I apologize. In pondering the name Red Kite Prayer I had an idea I thought would be funny. Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t. Perhaps I was just bummed about the dissolution of Belgium Knee Warmers. Regardless, I hope you’ll take the attitude that there’s no such thing as bad publicity and move on. As cycling blogs go, I’m a Sergio Paulinho to your George Hincapie—I didn’t even know you knew I existed.

Moreover, when certain athletes talk about their sport with an air of superiority or confidence, we call it swagger and say it’s justifiable given the results. But to one fan swagger may be arrogance or worse to another. In Padraig’s case, his knowledge of all things cycling could justifiably be called swagger. Which is not to say we agree about everything. But if I only read things from people I agree with I’d be pretty bored. And boring. So I’ll keep on reading, and enjoying, Red Kite Prayer.

If a guy like Lance Armstrong, whom I’ve publicly called selfish and arrogant, can apologize, so can I. And for what it’s worth, Lance, I thought the ‘08 tour was anything but a joke. VDV was gritty and tireless throughout. And Sastre riding off the front up Alpe d’Huez was a heroic way for a man to win the only way he knew how. It was almost enough to make me forget the pacifier incident.


  1. I tend to speak my mind as well, and at times it can get me in trouble. But I'd rather people who have opinions and are intelligent and articulate and passionate enough to express them.

    And anyway, a healthy argument can do us all good. As well as sticking our feet in our mouths from time to time :D

  2. filters are over-rated, plus they are always getting clogged with detritus.

  3. Ha. I can relate. I am quite renowned for my lack of thought before speaking.

    Love the spinal tap clip.