"if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"

i'd heard it thousands of times growing up
usually from my mother after dad cursed out the television
this was her attempt to influence *me*
it had no effect on the obnoxious drunk in the barcalounger

years later
while in rehab for the third time
the group was ganging up on me
over my bitching about the lousy food

to close discussion
the counselor offered this:

"cliff, if you can't say something nice..."

i lept from my chair and popped him in the jaw before he could finish.

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