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big mouth

In Defense of Loud Mouths

JANUARY 05, 2012 | PAULA WRAY

Like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput, perspective is key. I'm not a loud talker; you all talk too low. Speak up, for Pete's sake! Don't make me lean in and cock my head trying to make out your namby-pamby mutterings.

As with snoring and parsley between the teeth, we loud talkers are blissfully unaware of the problem until someone points it out. Then shamefaced, we purposefully lower our volume to a self-conscious whisper until we inevitably forget the complaint and return to our normal voices.

In a family of loud talkers, I am apparently the Queen, as has been pointed out by my daughter and others. This raised my hackles and sent me into denial, until I realized they were unanimous in their opinion.

Having a strong voice is handy for singing. When Don and I performed for Candlelight Service, he took along an amplifier for his guitar to match my volume. It was not the first time he told me I did NOT need a microphone.

Well, it's time to stand up for loud mouths. People seem to think of us as uncultured and rude. But consider the great loud talkers of history - Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Carol Burnett, Beverly Sills, Judy Garland. Pretty much every politician and/or performer.

I don't know what anatomical anomaly makes us loud. Is it lung capacity, diaphragm strength, vocal cord thickness? Or is it nurture - growing up with plenty of sibling arguing where the loudest one is right, and yelling competitions where my cousin Donna could defeat even me?

In my old job, if someone called my office when I was 2 doors down the hall, they could still hear me speaking. I promise I was not practicing hog-calling or arias at work.

So the first item I am adding to what I want in life, is a job where I can speak in my natural volume. Some possibilities are substitute teacher (done that), lumberjack, fighter pilot,  jack hammer operator, rock musician, stockbroker, drill sergeant, housewife, auctioneer, or self-employed.

I am open to career suggestions, but please don't tell me to lower my voice.