So as I was telling myself the other day, talking to yourself isn't weird.
"You're so right," I answered. "Well, not too weird, anyway."
Oh, stop looking at me in that tone of voice. You know you talk to yourself, too. It's the only way to guarantee an intelligent conversation.
And according to the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, it's even smarter than you thought.
One of those gangs of roving researchers who run about committing acts of science found that people who babble to themselves accomplish tasks more quickly than their silent friends.
The experimenters from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Pennsylvania sent their human guinea pigs off on scavenger hunts. The sets with written lists just couldn't keep up with those who had to keep repeating the items to themselves.
"Aha!" I muttered to myself. "This proves that organization is a hindrance in getting things done. And that muttering to myself isn't weird."
A few friends overheard me debating among myself and chimed in. We talked to ourselves together.
"I like to verbalize things out loud because it DOES help me remember things," Nancy said. "However, verbalizing things out loud to my husband only ensures that he will forget things."
"I often find that the answers I give myself have nothing to do with the question I asked," Jack noted.
"We are in trouble when we start answering ourselves," Mary Jo said.
"I hear answering yourself is just fine,'' Andy countered. ''It's when you begin interrupting the conversation with the third opinion where things start to get shaky."
My mom claims no one listened back when she had four kids tearing about the house.
"Do you think I'm yelling just to hear myself talk?" she hollered as we chased each other over the dining room table and under the couch. She never noticed that we were helping her focus. According to science, the very thing she claimed was "driving her up the wall" kept her sane.
My mother is a very calm and serene woman today because of all the hard work we put in on her case for all those years. It's just too bad we didn't see these results until we all moved out of the house.
Talking to oneself used to be referred to as the first sign of madness. Now it's called "exercising your inner voice."
A couple years ago, a gang of researchers from the University of Toronto wreaked experimentation on self-control. Again, the babblers won.
Human guinea pigs whose internal dialog spilled over as external monologue showed fewer impulsive behaviors, better decision-making and stronger will power, according to the study published in Acta Psychologica.
"See," I nodded to myself. "When I stand in front of the fridge and tell myself, 'Don't eat that,' some day, I won't because I nagged myself out of it."
"Are you talking to the meatloaf again?" my wife yelled.
''She doesn't get it,'' I said to myself. ''How weird is that?''
''Pretty weird,'' I answered myself. ''Is there any lasagna?''
''Third shelf,'' I said. ''And no, conversing with oneself isn't weird at all.''
----- Interrupt Cole at email@example.com or find him on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.