The Last Word


Melissa Stagnaro

I’ve taken to carrying a tiny little hard-covered journal with me wherever I go. When I reach into my bag, I see its shiny, pale gold cover winking at me. As yet, its lined pages are blank, but I have no doubt that before long, they will play host to numerous entries.

I’m not sure where, or even when, I acquired this particular notebook. I’m assuming it was a gift, since it’s not what I’d call my taste necessarily. It’s a little too “gold lame” for me. But in this case, it’s not about aesthetics. It’s for emergencies, after all.

You see, this is not to replace the reporter’s notebook which is my constant companion. Nor the larger, un-lined journal I keep near my bedside to record my thoughts and musings when the mood strikes.

No, this is the Last Word.

You see, I have this compulsion. Well, actually it’s more of a pathological need, to have the Last Word. It’s without a doubt one of my worst character flaws. No matter how small the argument, or discussion, I have to have the final say in the matter. Regardless of how destructive that may turn out to be.

I try to keep my mouth shut, I really do. But it just festers in my brain until the words seem to swell up out of nowhere and spring from my lips despite any intention to the contrary.

I’m not sure if this is something hard-wired within me, or if it is a learned behavior. But I can tell you without a doubt that it runs in my family. In my house, having the last word is victory. He (or she) who argues the loudest and the longest is right. Regardless of whether they actually ARE right, I might add.

So, yes, I have this tendency. It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life. To my detriment, I’m afraid.

Regrettably there is no Twelve Step program for this compulsion. But that’s okay, because I think I’ve finally arrived at a workable solution.

I mean, of course, my little gold book.

Within in its pages, I plan to have my say. I will record my insightful conclusions to any given argument, decisive closing statements to every heated discussion and even blistering parting shots – all in clear, concise script. Completely regret and repercussion free.

Oh yes, from now on I will always have the Last Word.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.