Cottonmouth Disease

Many people suffer from this self-inflicted illness. However, there is hope and a simple cure.

Through the years of watching city television news and knowing some local government representatives, some were enthralled with their own press and talking points. For a few of them — unless the media was covering the event – they did little in serving their constituents. And, government officials were not the only ones infected with this selfish disease; most of us believe our positions are very important to protect, prove and promote.

God created humans with two ears to listen and one mouth to talk. In giving us free will, He knew at times our egos may get the best of us. That’s why we like to talk about our grandiose ideas and opinions with fervent passion. Because we think our talking points have great value, we succumb to the selfish cottonmouth disease.

There are some signs of being infected with this disease. After talking too much, the inside of your mouth feels like cotton. In preparation for what you want to say, you tune out and don’t listen to others’ points. Sometimes, friends and colleagues know your reputation of hogging conversations.

Abraham Lincoln was America’s 16th president and one of the United States of America’s most respected and loved leaders in our 200+ years’ history. He traveled to the tiny town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to pay respect to the fallen Union soldiers in the Gettysburg battle with the Confederate soldiers. For his November 19, 1863, Gettysburg Address, Lincoln composed the neatly handwritten message by himself. In the Gettysburg battle between the armies, it’s estimated there were 46,000 to 51,000 casualties of Americans. These numbers included killed, wounded, captured and missing. The bloody battle occurred four months before President Lincoln’s speech.

A well-known orator of the era, Edward Everett, was chosen to introduce President Lincoln for the address. A raised stage was centered in the midst of the 10,000 throngs of people who came to hear the president speak. For the introduction Everett blathered on and on…for two long hours! Then President Lincoln stood up and gave the Gettysburg Address. His two-minute speech was finished before most of the listeners knew he’d spoken. Afterward, Lincoln opined a disclaimer, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here…”

      History, however, proved President Abraham Lincoln’s brief two-minute Gettysburg Address changed the world. His iconic words continue to echo in Americans’ memories and resonate with people around the world. And, he certainly didn’t have the cottonmouth disease!

In reading Ecclesiastes 5:2 and James 1:19, I believe God appreciates us talking less.

Questions to Ponder?                                                                                                                                              

1. Who do you remember the best and why– Edward Everett or Abraham Lincoln?                                               

2. Here’s an individual statement, “I must protect my position, prove I’m right and promote my agenda.” What do you think about it – is this comment selfish, right, wrong, overzealous or what?                

3. Know any people that hog conversations? Do you avoid them if at all possible?                                                 

4. One of my favorite books is Lincoln on Leadership by Donald Phillips.                                  What do you consider as some traits of good and great leaders?                                                                                 

5.  Have you ever experienced cottonmouth disease? Do you know the simple cure for it?

Cottonmouth Disease is written by Charles H. Castle. The purpose of this non-fiction short story is to encourage, build, inspire, entertain and give you, the reader, opportunities to laugh, smile and questions to ponder. If you’re interested in giving the author feedback, send an email to You can purchase his book, Where are the Instructions,? at Amazon and

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