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The More Familiar I Become, the Stranger I Get


Bastrop, Texas, USA
October 11
Supreme Commander of the Universe
The Best Company in the World
Matriculated from: School of Hard Knocks and Diablo Valley College (AA in Communications Tech.) Done all kinds of things for work. Painted sidewalk curb address numbers, sold shoes, USAF Radio Electronics Tech, Semiconductor Tech for AMD, Intel & SEEQ Technologies, worked at Stanford Linear Accelerator upgrading motherboards for Beam Current Magnet Control, IBM building "Industrial Strength" Voice Activated Dialing networks, server systems and intranets, sold greeting cards, nuts, grapes, newspapers and found pets, janitored, worked in fast foods, pizza and data entry. I even clerked at a 7-11 and also ran a big searchlight for those events at night. Also worked at a zoo, where I pretty much did everything you can do at a zoo other than be eaten. Some of those critters do bite. I write and have been since 1972. I have written poetry, fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. I also have come to enjoy essays relating to human experience, the future and being good stewards of this planet. I believe I'm funny sometimes, so chuckle occasionally at my weird jokes and allusions. Very into science and technology, love logic and reason. For some reason, though, I am also a certified Shaman. I can cast horoscopes and read Tarot cards as well (from the expressions on people's faces and their responses, I am apparently quite accurate most of the time.) Love photography: You can find me here: http://s52.photobucket.com/albums/g31/dunniteowl/ and here: http://www.viewbug.com/my-account/photos (if those don't work properly, just go to the main pages and do a search for 'dunniteowl' I am the only one on the internet as far as I know.) I also love game design, starting with board wargames, card games and RPGs. Please comment if you feel like it. I don't care about being "tipped" and don't even really understand it as a function. I signed up on Open Salon so I could have a wider outlet for my writing and hope that you find it of interest at all. This bio is a reflection of things to come, so be prepared.


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FEBRUARY 29, 2012 4:02AM

The Art of Being Glib in Three Easy Lessons

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The Art of Being Glib: Confessions of a Social Chameleon 1


     Today I will be talking about how to come across as smooth, polished and artfully clever in speech and mannerisms.  Now, I don’t represent myself as the epitome of silver-tongued repartee, but I’m no slouch, either.  So, sit back, put on your reading glasses, take your highlighters out (no sniffing!) and get schooled.


     You ever have one of those most unsatisfying conversations where – as you’re walking home, sitting on the bus, in your room, talking on the phone to a friend – you have this moment of clarity and say, “I should have said …?”  Well that’s the first step to being glib.  You see, glibness isn’t something you are born having.  Okay, maybe some folks are born glib and their parents don’t screw them up with vows of, “You’ll never amount to anything if you keep drawing pictures, Tommy,” or, “When you pay the bills in this house, then you can repaint your room whatever color you damn well please, but this is my house and your walls are going to be pastel blue.  That’s final.”  If they make it past the pitfalls of avaricious and predatory parenting, they are still going to have to deal with all their social circles.


     Let’s face it, we all know we stand in a circle of social peers.  We are told and exposed to these social strata since the time we get to play with other kids in the local playground during mom’s wonderful strolls with us to the park.  Some kids are mean.  Some kids are nice.  Some are rich (and know it, somehow) and others are just so cute their parents would be beaming with pride should they see their child’s picture on a milk carton under the heading of:


     Last Seen With This Person:

(Now, in case that’s kind of confusing, I am referring to parental pride in seeing their son or daughter’s face on the carton if they were the abductor, not the abductee – that line’s only funny if their kids are doing something wrong.)


     You’ve seen the kids in school, though; you all have.  You might have been one of those kids.  The popular and “cool” kids.  Their circle is pretty exclusive.  Mostly the overachieving jocks and college preppie types, both male and female are in this circle of peers; and special exceptions.  You’ll have a smattering of them from the Drama curriculum and some low rent areas in town, but mostly, they’re going to be the sons and daughters of the slighter better off than your family category.


     In all the teen angst high school films you’ve ever seen (and in almost every school you could care to go to,) though, there’s always one or two kids who just seem to glow with brilliance.  Everything that pours from their lips is drank as intellectual wine.  Other students admire them, teachers respect them and even bullies seem to leave them be.  They are class valedictorians, class clowns, the leather jacketed Rebels With a Clue who resent any sort of authority and occasionally, the strident politically active youth on campus when most kids are more interested in their latest YouTube video, American Idol or whether they can convince their parents that a $700.00 dress, $300.00 for the limousine, $150.00 for the pair of tickets and god only knows what else is their due as a part of the rite of passage of a teen for the Senior Prom.


     Razor sharp wits, sometimes calculatedly cruel, oftentimes sarcastic and occasionally quite pithy, these kids ply their way through school and the social circles like a combine through a wheat field.  They had the right thing to say almost all the time and it didn’t matter which group of kids they were with, they all felt like this person was “in” with them, even if they did hang out with their mortal social enemies, whichever way the hierarchy moved.  These are the kids we all wished we were.


     I’m here to tell you, that it’s not too late.  Seriously.  Do you think being able to speak all the best lines is some off the cuff trick that only a truly gifted wordsmith can pull off?  Well, that one might actually be true, but make no mistake, as with any sport or endeavor, there’s talent and then there’s training.  I’m here today to give you three quick lessons in becoming ever more glib.


     Before we get started, you have to recognize that glibness isn’t something that just happens.  Remember that if you recall nothing else about being glib.  Glibness requires practice.  It requires a bit of training.  It requires an attentiveness to being clever without seeming to be purposefully clever.


     Look, being glib really isn’t tricky.  What it boils down to is that being glib is a learned skill.  I can teach you, but you have to be willing to do the work.  Interested?  Okay, let’s get to it.


Lesson One:  Practice Makes Perfect

     When you hear someone make some pithy or witty comment in a situation, at a restaurant, say, and people laugh, then you’ve got to take into account the setting and context.  Now that you know those things (if possible) then you have to imagine, in your mind, a situation similar and then speak the line.  It’s okay to steal someone else’s line, being glib can’t be copyrighted.  I do, however, caution the practitioner of glibness to avoid using someone else’s line in their presence – no-one appreciates a droll copycat.


     If you can remember the situation and context of a line, you should probably write that down and practice it regularly.  Part of the glib response is to come off as natural.  This means you can’t speak too forcefully your line, or sound as if you’re purposely being funny.  At least not at first.  First you must be able to simply speak the lines of glib, witty repartee as if they are the most natural thing that comes out in everyday conversation for you.


     This is where you need to remember those times when you went, “Oh, I should have said…” and write those down.  This is your practice material and you’ll need to build a decent base of witty comebacks, flippant replies, double entendres and pithy snippets of conversation that will certainly turn heads.


     The only way to get this natural seeming speech to pass your lips is to practice having it pass your lips.  You can do this in your head, too, like sports athletes visualizing their jump shot or their batting swing.  Saying it out loud may feel silly at first, but don’t let this put you off.  Practicing in front of a mirror is actually a good idea.  It helps you to get over feeling silly and self-conscious quickly, allowing you to get comfortable practicing your facial expressions with your lines to help convey subtle nuances of meaning.


Lesson Two: Know Your Source Material

     Any good comic or public speaker knows that the key to flowing casual speech is to know your material.  It doesn’t matter if you’re doing standup comedy, speaking at a Technical Convention or talking about the Do’s and Don’t’s to 2nd Grade kids for the rules at a zoo.  The overall rules for casual public speaking with confidence apply.  Knowing what you’re going to say is a critical component to being able to do so.


     An actor or comic doesn’t get up on stage and riff their lines 100%.  Over time, they develop phrases, mannerisms, tricks of memory and word association that allows them to appear facile, though the truth is they have developed a rapport with their material.  This rapport has grown to the point where they can apply it in almost any situation, riffing off that as the need arises.  Riffing at this level takes on a patois of confidence and ease of speaking that allows you to literally craft new sayings and variations on a theme with relative ease.


     Knowing your material includes knowing when the material applies to the situation.  This comes with experience and training.  Training includes watching good comics, great public speakers, listening to that guy or gal at the party whom everyone else seems to gravitate towards and listen to.  These are your training materials.  Get to know them.  And when someone drops a verbal bomb, saying something that no-one can relate to, seems inappropriate or just out of whack, pay attention – this could prevent you from doing the same thing another time.


Lesson Three: Watch Your Tone

     We see a lot of glib and pithy responses each and everyday.  Those moments may not be the most appropriate to emulate.  Sarcasm is probably one of the most used methods of witty responses.  A lot of comedy is extended from sarcasm.  However, sarcasm is best used in the form of condescension, insults and put downs – while this can be useful, the art of being glib is to come across as witty, friendly, warm and worldly as often, if not more so than being a prig.  Sarcasm doesn’t really fit this mold.  Just remember, just because you can be sarcastic and know you shouldn’t, don’t let that stop you under the right circumstances.


     Tone, pitch and vocal force is actually about 85% of vocal communications.  Body language, hand gestures, positioning and facial expressions are even more important than just what you say.  This is why telephone conversations can be so difficult.  Pitch and tone are there, but nothing else.  Sadly, vocal communications is only about 40% of complete communication being done in person.  Knowing this, you should limit your witty conversation to face-to-face meetings and use short, staccato bursts of sentences for telephone communications.  The best use of a phone is to schedule a time to meet.


     For these reasons, it is important to learn to modulate your pitch, tone and facial expressions to help convey your moods and intent when speaking.  This will aid your glibness.  Again, you must make sure you don’t come across as too sarcastic – or too conciliatory.  If it’s necessary to engage in sarcasm, you want to make sure that you don’t come across as too soft, either.  Again, the more often you encounter situations where you succeed or fail, you have that much more experience to reflect upon.  Refer to Lesson One: Practice Makes Perfect.


     I could tell you more about being glib, though these three lessons should get you well on your way.  In fact, if you follow these loose guidelines, bringing to the mix a dedication and willingness to become glib, these three lessons can be a springboard to greater confidence at parties, public outings and meeting new people.  If those things don’t attract you and still wish to be glib, more glib or even glibber, then following these three lessons in writing might appeal to you as well.  Who knows?  It could improve your dialogue in stories.


     Hope you found these little lessons useful.  Being glib can be learned by anyone.  If you feel you lack glibness, it’s not a failing on your part, it’s just lack of training and practice.  You can do it.  If I can, anyone can. 


So remember:

Practice Makes PerfectKnow Your MaterialWatch Your Tone  

     Occupy Your Mind

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I hope You don't mind Glib Drunks coming to read your words about being
Glib will be the word of the day. Glib can be detected. I agree about Tone.
My son and daughter-law, and grandchildren helped me set up the Skype.
We have a riot when we've used Skype. Skype, of course, You old Dunniteowl
no hoot glib
I hear peeps
pond peeper
ay yesterday
Spring's first pond peepers began peeping. Pond peepers will be Entertaining.
Peeper call in:
They ask if it's okay to peep glib this spring. Your fun to enter into your glib mind.
You know Glib.
Oh, no be Glib.
Today we Glib.
Sincerely, Glib.
You no so Glib.
No awaken Glib.
Now we so Glib.
I say all day Glib.
What a wake up.
I Love being with people that you can just Be You. If You or me act grouchy and Glib
Friends giggle Glee.
They tell us we Glib.
I Love to note Giddy.
I visit the farm`Joys.
I go for free Therapy.
I get free farm Grub.
Fun waker. no grouch.
This is just great and so much to my liking. Thanks for the tips and more..
Reminds me of Steve Buscemi's classic line in FARGO: You're a Smooth Smooth, Aren't Ya?"

Excellent! r.
The French have a phrase for those occasions on which one comes up with, after the fact, what would have been the perfect, cutting remark--it translates roughly as "rejoinder of the stairs," that is, what you thought of as you were going to bed later.
Good tips dunnite. The phenomenon you describe is also called "staircase wisdom". As in, after your guests have gone home and you're heading up the staircase to bed, you think of the witty rejoinders you might have said. That's happened to me more than I care to remember.
And I see that Con beat me to the punch.
Fine advice, D'Owl. Standing in front of teens and teaching for years (especially off the cuff) gains one that skill too.
Thanks all! I posted this at like 3am this morning and looked at my clock, saying, "HOLY SHIT it's already 3am?!? I better wake up my wife to put her to bed."

I think all my moving around and my precocity as a little lad allowed me to figure out how to say things that were mostly funny. Except I had then no sense of timing whatever. I was extremely socially inept. Also, word choice can be critical to sounding glib over just weird. Believe me when I tell you, weird and I are on very strong terms. We're like this: y (Try to imagine that y as a rough approximation of my crossed fingers.)

By the time I hit my junior year of highschool, I had been to 18 different schools. You know who you generally get to hang out with as the new kid in the middle of a school year? I do.

Rejects, castoffs, geeks, nerds, freaks, rebels and ne'erdowells aplenty, along with the odd assortment of folks who try too hard (guilty) to make friends. Luckily, though, I was in my best company. I'm a geeky, freaky nerd who's been rejected, castoff and denigrated who also rebels and questions authority. These were my people.

See how I did that? See what I did there?

Lesson Four:
Aalways work your way back to the original subject of your discussion, no matter how wide-ranging your apparent stream-of-consciousness patter goes, where it drifted off to, or how often you say, "Like. You know? Okay?" and, "Uhh," in your long-winded rambles, so people know you're still talking about something relevant to what they were before you started.

It's written that way on purpose.

Art: It is truly a joy to take a walk through the slivers of your mind and come to appreciate how intent Art can be when Art has Intent.

Algis: I love your photography and your sculptures. I, too, am very into photography, though I believe my focus and subjects have a very different depth of field. I know you get it. Thanks!

Jonathan, Con Chapman and Abrawang: Thanks! You know it's funny, I never heard that phrase before. If you actually know the French phrase for that, Con, I'd appreciate it (in my best impression of Jerry Lewis as the Nutty Professor.)

I always called it the "Should'a Saids." I realized pretty early on that most of my trouble was going to come in the form of being bullied. Smallest kid in class up to the 4th grade I think -- and that's at five schools by then!. (The implication here is to infer that I had a wider population from which to be guaged and was still the smallest kid.) Also that brainy little nerdy kid who was a fricking walking encyclopedia, dictionary, science and history course all in one, stuffed into a pair of 501's and a pair of Keds.

I can see, looking back, how insufferable I must have been to the other kids when I got going. Still, I don't think I merited the treatment, just a reminder to give other folks a chance to talk occasionally. Seriously, it was actually my friends, though, who hurt me the most -- with honesty -- and drove me to change some of my social ingraciousness.

There's nothing like a good lesson in seeing what a jerk you look like to everyone else. You can use that one when practicing to be glib, though I would appreciate attribution. :)

Fusun and Miguela: Couldn't agree more. I have performed animal information shows before live audiences, from the intimate brother, sister, mom and dad birthday party, up to the twenty or thirty kids at a big birthday, to several thousand people in an auditorium. If I didn't have some stage experience in high school, I might have done much worse.

I'm a ham, though. I love performing in front of a group. Always have. I discovered in situations like that, you don't need to fear the group, the audience, because they want you to entertain them, surprise them, make them laugh. They're actually sincerely rooting for you to do a good job.

Some might find that pressure inducing. I find it comforting. And I love making people laugh, think or wonder. So, whenever I get up in front of a group of people, doing something for the first time, I have rehearsed in my mind, several dozens of times the material I am going to be covering. I even did that before I gave presentations before my peers at work about work I did on the machines for which I was responsible.

After about four or five times, I like to start switching things up. I find that, if I mix up my presentation, I still know all the material and it gives me a chance to say the same things a little differently, so I don't sound bored with my own presentation. You do that enough, and pretty soon, your mind just starts working that way and it gets easier to just talk to people wherever you are.

Fifth Lesson:
The true Art of being glib is to not try to be glib. You have practiced and studied to reach this point. You have trained your mind to think quickly, review and observe people and their reactions and you can adjust on the fly. So stand a little straighter, hold your head confidently and get out there! After all, if you can train your self to be glib by faking it at first, confidence is no harder to trick yourself into having.

Thanks everyone. You folks really make this place such a great place to write and converse!
Glib: SEEMING TO BE easy, informal. When you are actually calculating. I have seen many masters of it, and it usually freezes me internally. For I know that I do not know how to be glib. Now I do thanks to you.

“ come off as natural. “ tone, pitch. Got it.

People tell me I am “dry” in my humor. Others say , I am black. Black dry.
But glib is where it’s at, I know.
I adore the naturally glib.
Can there be such a thing?

that is like putting ''remember to act spontaneously' on
your bathroom mirror. which i do...
James, as a Confessed Social Chameleon, I get what you're saying.

It's like when you're first interested in the opposite sex and you get a chance to meet that other person. You ask all your friends, "What do I do? What do I say?" Like at 10, 13, 17 or even 30 they even know what the hell they're actually talking about when they tell you, Just be yourself?"

And, like the dinosaur T. Rex in Toy Story, we are riddled with doubt, confusion and a complete lack of what our Self is to be in the first place. I mean, it's why we're asking for help in the first place, right? After all, how can we be our selves when everyone else is telling us what to do, think, act and how to behave?

One of those Human Condition things, I suspect.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
Cute! Cute and informative. It might also be titled, "Acting 101" or "How to appear intelligent while remaining a dummy."

But you've overlooked the number one, prime method of learning "glib". This is the method used by all those school friends who are so popular and who have never taken "glib training" or even thought much about it. That method? Grow up with parents who are glib. You will learn it in the crib as you learn the language. This is truly deep-seated glib, not the add-on kind that you learn after you've seen a need for it.

Glib in writing also requires that one proof-read one's scribblings. Words left out, misspelled, or used inappropriately can really mess up your glib. Grammatical errors or use of trite, over-used phrases or quips can make one seem unoriginal and out of touch with 'today' as well.

Your words are wise. I particularly like your phrase, "...like a combine through a wheat field..."
skypixie0: Thanks, yeah. My dad, he was a talker and prevaricator of high degree. He was such a great bullshit artist that it was really hard to tell when he was faking being upset, say, or faking liking someone to get someone else to do something for him. He wasn't (and isn't to my knowledge this day) a great guy, a decent person or even a completely bad guy, either. But, man, could he spin a tale of bullshit in a crowd of complete strangers!

I think, in many respects, while not a great man, he was a great teacher. Not because he cared about what he taught me, or enforced some semblance of a code of conduct he could not himself follow, but because he was just so incredibly self-confident in his ability to bullshit, fight or run as the need called for it.

Still, even a natural gets better with practice and experience. I think the idea with being glib is really the art of becoming comfortable around other people. You can't be disdainful of having folks admire and respect your speaking skills, but you can't force yourself to think of it as the reason you learn to be glib.

You all know what I mean, right? You have to sort of not really care what they think of you in many respects, while at the same time, acknowledging our general social programming that tells us we derive comfort in being around others and having folks like us -- for whatever reason, really.

Sigh. Is it any wonder I consider humanity walking conundrums? Myself included, to be certain. It does, however, make for interesting party topics. The Antix of People.

ccdarling: thanks. I was trying to think of the traditional scythe cutting through wheat, but honestly, we need to bring that metaphorical imagery up to at least 20th Century standards. So a combine through a wheat field. This huge demarcation in the fields, cut down in the swish of a gaint series of lawnmower blades like this gaint pushmower of old, cutting swathes through the fields you could drive a pair or tractor trailer rigs through, side by side.

Yeah. Now we're talking.

Thanks all for reading and commenting!
This is a sly dig at Obama, right? Sounds just like him.
Nope, Jeanne, no political digs whatsoever in this How To. I am not above taking digs at either political party, just not this time. Though if that makes it better for you, then sure, that's what it was. [wink wink]

Thanks for reading and commenting
You may actually have started this off as a glib piece to be posted in OS, but to be honest, you have got some EXCELLENT advice in here. I guess there are some naturally gifted glibbers...just as there are naturally gifted athletes--but that doesn't mean you cannot become an accomplished glibber even though you are not so naturally endowed, just as one can become an accomplished athlete without the special gifts.

Practice and determination are helpful...and can carry the day.

I am not an especially gifted golfer, but with practice and determination I could become a decent golfer. Unfortunately, I consider practice and determination to be a form of cheating...so I avoid it like the plague--and my scores show it.
Thanks Frank. You know, while I do consider myself to be preternaturally glib, I cannot tell at this point how much is "in my blood" and how much of it I drank deeply in from a young age.

As to practice, life is practice. I always looked at this time of whatever it is I do as practice for the next time. If I'm dancing, then I'm practicing to be as or more coordinated for the next time I dance. Same with everything else, including cooking, which I practice a lot.

Golf has always interested me in a pathologically morbid sort of way. It's not about inherent strength, because hitting a golfball far is great, but not so much if you can't aim it well. There's nothing like looking for a little round white ball in a forest, twenty five yards from the fairway.

This, plus the fact that hitting a golfball requires two hands, has caused me to look for another sport that derives most of the same benefits. That's why I play disc golf. And I can throw with either hand to some degree, so getting out of tight spots is not as bad as it is for a purely right handed or left handed person.

It's always practice for the next throw. You might consider it, Frank. It doesn't feel as much like playing a serious sport and plenty of folks on the fairways will either be drinking or smoking (or both) while playing. Very friendly, though not always family rated fun.

thanks for reading and commenting!
I came back for a touch up coarse.
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