Silent people have lied to me exactly twice in my life. When I was a kid living in New Orleans a mime once talked to me. He actually gave me pointers on how to become a mime (My poor parents. I mean, to them their child becoming an artist was bad enough, so I can only imagine how they felt about the possibility of a mime son). I guess the mime didn’t directly lie to me, but rather, I felt lied to. I had always been under the assumption that mimes didn’t talk, so to hear one speak was essentially the equivalent of my six-year-old self realizing that Santa didn’t exist.
The second silence-breaker I met was Teller of the illusionist duo Penn & Teller. For those of you who don’t know, Penn & Teller do a show which is an amalgamation of magic and comedy in which Penn is boisterous whilst Teller remains silent. So, I met the duo after seeing one of their shows in Vegas. This incident actually felt more surreal than my mime encounter because, unlike Professor Mime, Teller has a great speaking voice. He spoke to me very clearly and was extremely nice (In case you were wondering, Penn is also an incredibly cool guy). Looking back, for some reason the fact that Teller doesn’t speak at all feels more false than a mime offering me pointers. I mean, Teller has a name (sort of), a face, an explicit identity, whereas a mime is just, well, a mime in a sea of mimes. What I find most interesting about both the mime and Teller is that these are two individuals who have chosen to make their livings in silence, yet they so obviously have something to say (I mean, they bothered to speak to me). But, ultimately I wonder, why do they elect not to speak? Loose lips might sink ships, but they might also give you a free lesson in miming.
It is now my hope to visit Buckingham Palace to gain further silent wisdom.