Foot-in-mouth disease among humans

  • Pallavi Singh, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 22, 2014 11:46 IST

The foot-and-mouth disease afflicts cows, buffaloes and sheep and causes them to break out in acute fever and blisters and could be fatal. Whereas the foot-in-mouth disease is known to attack us humans as we often shoot off our mouths, resulting in embarrassment. One may think that the tendency to say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, takes some doing, but actually it is a common malady and afflicts us all, at some time or the other.

Some people have no qualms about making crude jokes in the presence of women or passing sexist or racist comments without a thought. `+and messages doing the rounds with the men often have inappropriate content regarding the opposite sex, but the inebriated smart alec at the party is the worst offender who puts his foot in the mouth by repeating the jokes in front of women.

A long suffering cousin, known for his tactless statements, while travelling by train to the high court for a prolonged litigation, initiated a conversation with a gentleman sitting next to him. He launched into a criticism of lawyers, their tendency to overcharge clients and take on more cases than they can handle. He raved and ranted and told the gentleman to be wary of the breed. He had the decency to blush and apologise when the man told him that he was a lawyer.

A friend entered a large clothing store during a busy sale. Unwittingly, he approached a customer browsing around, and mistaking her for a saleswoman, asked her to help him find a particular shirt. The blank look he received from the affronted lady had him beat a hasty retreat with a mumbled sorry for his blunder.

I usually take pride in being careful about not mentioning anything inappropriate in public but had to eat my words the other day when my brother-in-law came over. I seated him in the drawing room and after the initial niceties, decided to get some refreshments. Instead of calling to my help in the kitchen, I got up and facing the kitchen door started shouting out my brother-in-law’s name. To this day I don’t know what came over me. My poor brother-in-law was taken aback, and to make matters worse, I clapped my hands over my mouth in horror at what I had just done and ran out of the room.

It became a joke in the family and the topic invariably crops up during our gettogethers and I am ready to flee again out of embarrassment and shame at my faux pas.

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