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ROUNDING THIRD: Sound of the times — cacophonous conversations

John David Fay
Sentinel columnist
Posted 4/21/23

Have you ever noticed how group conversations today are so much more cacophonous and frenetic than they were 50, 60 or 70 years ago?

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ROUNDING THIRD: Sound of the times — cacophonous conversations


Have you ever noticed how group conversations today are so much more cacophonous and frenetic than they were 50, 60 or 70 years ago? Everyone talks at once. We seem to have lost the simple trait of waiting your turn.

Watch a TV debate of politicians if you want a good example. In my childhood, if I got into an argument with one of my sisters, Ma would step in, shush us, and then say, “Let her speak first, David, then you can tell your side. I can’t listen to both of you at once.” I’d be almost peeing my pants wanting to interject but wouldn’t dare. You waited your turn. There is no turn today. Sometimes, everybody talks at once, and when you get older that becomes a problem because it gets more difficult to extract one voice from all the extraneous sound.

Now — I have been told by a few people (men) that they read this column but not the poetry because they’ve never been fans. I understand that! When we were kids, men just weren’t supposed to take to that genre because it was not manly. Well, I’m way past worrying about my masculinity. I like poetry and that is how I best express my thoughts. It is easier for me to sketch out my points in that forum, and then just use a short introductory to get to the poem.

If you don’t like poems — just skip them, but a lot more thought goes into my poetry than my prose. I call them commentary poems, and I use them to express how I feel. I don’t expect you to agree with all that I say but I do get to say it all without interruption and the opportunity to cleanse my mind of the little niggling things that inhabit and disturb it. It’s kind of like when they used to televise the Masters Golf Tournament without advertisements. Just let it flow. Thanks Sentinel.


The poem isn’t popular with many folks today.

For me, it’s just an avenue for what I want to say.

I put my words to paper so that they come out in rhyme.

It helps to coalesce my thoughts and saves me space and time.

This is a world where people bellow so they may be heard,

The competition for attention’s really quite absurd.

I cannot concentrate on substance when I have to shout,

And so, I sit and try to gather what it’s all about.

The time is gone when folks would wait while others had their say,

We interrupt at any point; we cannot stand delay.

For what you have to add is far more relevant than I,

So, just speak loud enough so people have to shift their eye.

It was a kinder, gentler world when I was being raised,

You listened to the speaker so their thoughts could be appraised.

And then, you would rebut the parts with which you had a beef.

He, in turn, would listen and would give you some relief.

But people now don’t make a point—they beat it half to death.

They speak until you wonder, “Don’t they have to take a breath?”

And then someone will interject—and then some more will chime,

While I just sit there silently, my words reduced to mime.

I fear that people now spend hours just looking at a screen,

And when it’s time for discourse, their anxiety is keen.

We need to talk to people as we travel through each day –

Sadly, I believe that time has surely slipped away. JDF

Joke: After a big operation, a politician comes out from under the anesthesia and notices that all the curtains have been drawn in his hospital room.

He questions this and is told, “There is a very big fire going on across the street and we didn’t want you to wake up and think the operation had been a failure.”

Favorite one (or 2) liners:

Money is made out of cotton, not paper, and maybe that’s why the dollar is shrinking so much.

Life is like a bicycle: nothing happens if you don’t pedal.

It’s so true, woman’s word is never done.. I meant work, ladies, work!

If you have enough money, everyone around you thinks that you’re a nice guy.

Duct tape is the force. It has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.

See ya! JDF


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