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You Don't Say

I have always had a dislike for telephone answering machines. Once you leave a message, it is there. You cannot revise it, re-record it or delete it, and quite often, I leave words which I really did not mean to say. I think most of us have been in situations where we have said something regrettably silly, but once it has been orated, all we can do is cringe at the memory.

Fortunately, there are much worse comments made by much greater people, a few of which I have listed below:

Film star, Brooke Shields was selected as spokesperson for the federal anti-smoking campaign. When interviewed, she responded with, "Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." Well, Brooke, I suppose that is quite logical.

Surprisingly to most of us, politicians do not always say the smartest things, as was recorded during an interview with Vice President Al Gore, who is all about the environment. Gore spoke at a university about climate concerns. "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." Thank you, Al; I am so glad he cleared that up for us.

Another Vice President, Dan Quale, was heard speaking about the perfection of living in California. "I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix." Well, Dan, National Geographic must be having a fit.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien, discussing the standard of proof of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in 2002, said, "I don't know. A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven". Gee, Mr. Prime Minister, I guess that proves it.

Keppel Enderbery, the former Attorney General for Australia, was caught on tape saying, "Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas." Hmmm, now that is logical but not as profound as a statement made by Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., who uttered the famous phrase, "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." Wow, that makes you want to move there, does it not?

Lastly, Joe Theisman, a famous NFL football quarterback, said, while he was an ESPN broadcaster, "The word 'genius' isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." I am glad football injuries have no effect on our bodies.

I know these are mostly older people, but I am certain young Canadians have their embarrassing moments as well. Was it not our dear prime minister who searched for the right words before speaking about wearing a mask during the pandemic and uttered the following, "A mask protects others more than it protects you. It prevents you from breathing or speaking moistly on them." You could certainly tell from his face how he instantly regretted those words.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, 'Jonathan van Bilsen's photosNtravel', on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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