Delving into the Intangibles


I am often amazed to encounter a “fast talker” who dances around prattling rapidly in a confident and often dishonest way. Not being much of a sophist myself, I must admit this kind of person’s talent is beyond ordinary folk.

What is it like inside the brain of a fast talker? Perhaps his genius is in having a brain and a tongue almost directly connected. I can envy such a talent since I can hardly hope to acquire it.

On the other hand, many “poor talkers” are often unfairly ridiculed as “clumsy” or even “half-witted,” although their “amiable awkwardness” can sometimes smooth out human relations.

What about the case of the vaudeville performer? He seems to be speaking at random, yet I know an unimaginable amount of effort has gone into preparing for the performance––hidden behind his funny talk. In search of punch lines and gags, he carefully observes human nature and social phenomena, analyzing them from every angle, before taking notes. His treasured notebook is always at the ready.

On stage, he seems to be saying whatever comes into his head, but far from it. Such is his artistry. Spontaneity and pretended spontaneity are two very different things.

You cannot aspire to be a showbiz wiz unless you can grasp the full range of human emotions profoundly. The material employed for comic kicks is often “intangible.”

I am a big fan of Ayanokoji Kimimaro, a Japanese comic chat-artist who appears on stage wearing a gaudy tailcoat and ponytail wig and holding a folding fan in his hand.

Just one look at him makes me laugh.

“Hello there, Mom…. Oh! Excuse me… Granny.”

This is one of Kimimaro’s well-calculated “killer phrases.” Yes, a little wicked, but undeniably true. No one takes offence, even Granny herself. Everyone in the audience bursts out laughing. It’s Kimimaro’s great talent.

Words can blurt out from our mouths carelessly; since they are “tangible,” they expose us to possible risks. It is also a question of the reputation and dignity we might lose.

Be prepared for the day when you will be revenged upon by your own careless “tangible” words. You may try to take them back, but it’s too late.

The results can be fatal.

If you are happy-go-lucky, and don’t even notice, you will pay double.

Sorry, I’m unable to find any other word to describe the predicament except “helpless.”