Writing prompt 1

I haven’t posted here in a while (vacation up at the lake, etc…), so I thought I’d use some of the writing prompts at the Absolute Write Water Cooler (great forum, btw) as a means of priming the pump and getting a bit of online writing done.

Here is prompt #1:

“Think before you speak” is a piece of advice often spoken. Can you think of a time when this advice paid off? Think about it. Now, write about it.

I can think of a time when it would have paid off, had I followed it. I was in the Army, and was at one point made company clerk for our 4 platoons (i.e. one US Army “company,” one third of our battalion, etc). It was an interesting experience, but not one I did very well at. Part of the problem was my low opinion of our First Sargeant. He had a habit of ordering us to do things that struck me as being odd and/or dumb (like I was so smart at that age!).

One day I was chatting with some folks in the company office in the barracks, and I was complaining about how the First Sargeant was running the thing, and made some snide, mocking remark. You can guess what happened next. I had my back to the door, and I saw the look on my friends’ faces as I completed my little impersonation.


I should have known that the First Sargeant would likely come walking in that door at any time. But more than that, I should have known better than to natter on about my boss behind his back, regardless of the provocation. I had a very bad attitude towards the army at that point, and very little maturity to counterbalance it. In retrospect, he treated me extremely well–he took me into his office and shut the door and asked me if I had any complaints about how he was running the company, and I said No, First Sargeant, and he dismissed me. End of story.

I’d like to say that I learned my lesson, and that was the last time I let my mouth run off and get me in trouble, but it wasn’t. I’ve repeated the experience too many times (well, once is too many), and now I know the value of the dictum.

Think before you speak.

Published in: on August 7, 2006 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment