Oh, this word can get one in a lot of trouble. Some have tact, some don’t. Tact can ride with a low tide, so subtle it only tickles your toes, or the lack of it strikes like lightning and knocks you flat. I think the universal truth is you need a little insight into human nature to practice the art of tact. Politicians are often so tactful, their promises slip from their mouths like melted butter. Not much good if there’s no toast with it. I heard an acquaintance tell a co-worker ‘make up does wonders for a plain face’. Now that kind of tact brings the claws out. How about the person who always accuses others of being judgmental. Isn’t that the essence of being judgmental? The person didn’t earn a degree in tact from a ‘smart’ school. But I like this definition: “Tact is the art of putting your foot down without stepping on anyone’s toes.” Laurence J. Peter gets credit for that. Writers don’t worry about tact, they let their characters say anything they want. That’s great fun and some might say tactless. If a reader only knew the source of a character’s remarks…like the in-law who says, ‘well, (huff, huff) you don’t…’ You should rebuke with ‘you’re so open-minded’ but really you know she has a hole in her head. If said, it would cause trouble at the family potluck dinner but it makes others laugh in a good story. Trouble—a word to avoid. So I’ll stick with tact and try real hard to describe others as they see themselves.
What’s your T word for the day? Fatal Mistake by Wil A. Emerson, Amazon.com, Kindle