"Unflappable" - the sky isn't falling

Aug 21, 2016
Sonora Desert
Many years ago I worked at a small, very principled, newspaper that specialized in investigative journalism. It was responsible for outing, criticizing, and ousting, quite a few corrupt politicians. I worked my way up to the position of Managing Editor.

One day I got a call from the son of the publishers. He was quite upset about a political cartoon that I had run.

The cartoon showed a couple of businessmen sitting in a club sipping martinis. One said, "I don't mind getting screwed once in a while, but the government thinks I'm a nymphomaniac."

The publisher's son was mostly upset because, as a deeply pious father, he had been pushed to explain the term "nymphomaniac" to his 10-year-old daughter, "...just because it was in Grandpa's newspaper..."

I told him that I understood his angst, and that it wasn't my intent to cause such situations, but that this is a newspaper of political impact, and that I felt the cartoon would lend humorous light to the relationship between government and business, and in general how government treats everybody. He agreed in theory, but he still maintained quite strongly that "it wasn't quite right for a family-oriented home-town paper..."

So, I told him to look on the bright side. It was likely a good time to start those sorts of discussions with his daughter to keep her from being victimized and/or falling for the propaganda of others. He had to agree, though it hurt him to do so, that education should begin at home, and if you leave it up to others it may be done wrong.

The next day I got a call from my publisher. He sounded very solemn as he told me about his son's concerns. I wondered if I would be terminated. Then he said that his son had told him, "your new editor is totally unflappable..." and he agreed with my stance.

"Unflappable" was almost a new word for me. I doubt that I had ever used it, though I knew it. But when I got to thinking about it I was flattered. Here was this highly educated professional man, saying to his revered father that (little me) was "unflappable".

I have since had time to reflect on the "Flappable" and "Unflappable" people in life.

Geez! I have personally experienced a lot of "flappable" people. They used to come into my newspaper office daily, call on the phone, write hysterical letters, and all of them were flapping about, and being totally sure that if whatever their issue was didn't get properly addressed immediately the sky would fall.

Some of them had legitimate points. Most of them could point to reasons for believing as they did. Many of them actually provided solid evidence to prove various sorts of crimes or corruption. But, their levels of hysteria did not help their causes. In fact, there were times that I would have liked to produce solid evidence, but the hysteria of the source (even though the evidence was elsewhere able to be shown or proven) made presenting it very difficult. I sometimes had many pages of evidence that couldn't be produced because I knew that if required to say who provided it, the "flappability" of my source would discredit what was accurate data.

So, if you want to present facts, don't flap. If you want to present hysteria, flap around and screech that the sky is falling. But, if you want to be believed, it is best to be "unflappable".

And right now there are a lot of political flappers screaming that if their candidate doesn't win, the sky will fall. Being hysterical does not make one believable.

So, when I hear hysteria, in my mind I say, "flap-flap-flap", but I also listen to hear if there is some truth hidden behind it. Mostly, it's just noise. But sometimes there's a real story there that the victim is not able to tell due to being too flappable. When that is the case, I do want to listen, learn, and maybe help to solve the issue.

Don't take that to mean I'm here to take on all of everybody's lost causes, because I am done with that.

And don't expect me to get all "flappy" over who wins an election. I am also done with that.

I'm happy to be mostly unflappable, and proud to be apathetic. That doesn't mean that I don’t care -- it just means that the things that are causing folks to flap and flutter don't really bother me.

I prefer to stay above the fray, considerate and copasetic is the way.

And to laugh at the clowns; there are sure a lot of them this time around!
Likes: 1 person
Oct 25, 2012
Louisville, Ky



adjective: flappable

excitable and quick to lose one's composure.
"he became totally flappable in her presence"
Aug 21, 2016
Sonora Desert
It did a spell check when I entered flappable. "Do you mean unflappable?".
Generic spell-checkers are like Home Depot. They have a lot of what everybody uses, but don't expect them to find anything unique. They can't think outside the big box...;)

Logically, how could "unflappable" be a word if its root "flappable" is not?
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