Ross: Everybody thinks they have to be a commentator 24/7

Jan 26, 2022, 5:55 AM | Updated: 9:38 am
A mom helps her daughter with schoolwork at home. (File photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(File photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I was listening to the “Scenarios” segment of the Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show yesterday, and Gee read a message from a new mom whose mother-in-law was on a Christmas visit that lasted way too long.

She got a little too comfortable, and started commenting on the daughter-in-law’s lifestyle:

“She kept commenting about how much money we waste. She criticized us for not doing more with our leftovers. Then she tried to show me how to reuse coffee filters instead of starting with a new one each day.”

Apparently, the mother-in-law is an environmentalist:

“She thinks we’re wrong for using disposal diapers. But the last straw was when she told us we don’t watch enough television to justify so many streaming services, and we should cut out what we don’t need and start saving for college.”

Yikes. Now – mother-in-law relationships have been awkward from the beginning. I’m pretty sure that at the Big Bang there was a mother-in- law saying, “Does it have to be so loud?”

But what we have here is a symptom of a much wider societal problem, which is that everybody now thinks they have to be a commentator 24/7.

And as a professional commentator, I’m here to say: “No, you don’t!”

Especially if you’re doing it in person.

I’ve been doing commentary since I was 15. But the one thing I have never done is deliver a commentary in person to a relative as others are watching.

The problem with in-person commentary is that when it’s over, you’re still physically standing there. You don’t have a spot break to go to, you don’t have Colleen standing by with a Daily Dose of Kindness – you’re like an actor at the end of a show wondering why the curtain hasn’t come down.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution, and it’s to censor yourself.

And even if someone does solicit your advice, always double-check: “Do you REALLY want my advice?” If the answer is “yes,” you say – “I’ll call you later and we’ll talk privately.”

Because as a general rule, it’s not just your in-laws who don’t want your advice – nobody wants your advice. Unless you have a medical degree, or you bought Amazon in 1997.

They may want your help – to re-boot the computer, oil a squeaky hinge, properly fold socks, do the Heimlich maneuver in a pinch …

But unless your daughter-in-law is the CEO of a company that’s been discharging PCBs into the water supply, don’t be judging her environmental habits, even if it’s your passion. Because if you’re worried about climate change, that’ll do it.

Which is very bad for the earth.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Everybody thinks they have to be a commentator 24/7