On The Restraint Of Wit

Sometimes, very frequently in fact, I enjoy exercising a razor sharp wit about what is going on.  While wit is hard to recognize in online communications or writing, it tends to sparkle in personal conversations where a twinkle in the eye and a wry grin is sufficient to demonstrate that one is engaging in witty conversation with someone else who is hopefully able to defend themselves in kind.  At times, though, the important task is not to exercise one’s wit but rather than to restrain it.  As I noticed several times where this was the case over the course of the last couple of days, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss how it is that someone like me who has no issues being politically incorrect can still find it necessary frequently to restrain a wit that has been cultivated over several decades of life, especially given my own family’s penchant for wit that has been cultivated for generations.

Yesterday I was the songleader at church, something that happens frequently.  Last Sabbath, after services, one of our retired pastors who among many talents and interests is a concert pianist decided to volunteer to play the hymns this week and so we chose half a dozen hymns and he said he would practice them over the course of the week.  He did not.  I had thought to tease him during the singing portion of the services concerning his having practiced the songs all week but seeing him struggle to play one of the songs after I had needed to write the song list for him multiple times led me to refrain.  There’s no need to look like a bully or to be a bully when someone is obviously struggling a bit, so I decided to bite my tongue and politely and kindly lead songs and let him work out his concerns.  I had heard later on that he was somewhat frantic to find me because he had misplaced the songs and so had not practiced as well as he had planned, and being a somewhat disorganized person at times myself I could certainly understand some of his concerns at least.

During the sermon, I found it quite interesting that one of our elders decided to talk about the lake of fire in the sermon.  Now, I had given a sermonette a couple of weeks ago [1], and the speaker referenced that in his message.  Now, I’m not sure what exactly he felt necessary to say in a sermon.  In a sermonette such as I had one has very limited time to discuss matters and a sermon has four to six times as much time for matters, and the speaker did not go into as much detail as he could have.  One wonders what the motive was on his part, and again I pondered the desirability of being witty concerning the speaker’s evident desire to piggyback on what I had previously said, but again I restrained myself, since the speaker may not have chosen the topic himself, just as I refrained from being witty when it came to the foliage that had been left on the lectern by a busy member of the flower crew.

One can even refrain from wit when dealing with the news.  I saw this afternoon that Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time great basketball players, had died along with seven other people, including his teenage daughter, in a helicopter accident.  The accident prompted, as these things tend to do, a reflection on mortality and the fact that none of us is promised a long life.  In looking at stories, though, some people were unable to restrain their own wit, either in saying words to the effect that Kobe was not a person worth mourning or wishing other people to have died instead.  When looking at such matters I ponder the safety of personal aviation as small planes and helicopters and the like are responsible for a great many deaths of the rich and famous, and one wonders just how safe such modes of transportation are.  But whatever one’s reflections, it can be agreed that there are times to restrain one’s wit so that one can simply be a compassionate human being.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2020/01/12/immortal-worms-and-mortal-souls/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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