Words & Banter

Listen To This Stutter!


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You know how I like to blah-blah-blah, barely letting anyone get a word in edgewise?


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Is this a rhetorical question? Or, a trick question?


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Neither, I leave those to you. And, you know how things happen to us that seem accidental but probably aren’t coincidences?


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Is there a point to these questions? If so, can you please get to it?


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As you often tell me, “Patience, grasshopper.” Although I know that’s not your strong suit. Especially not in conversations. Anyway, the other day you sent me a video about stutterers. Well, that same day, I happened to speak to someone who stuttered, and it was just what I needed.


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The video? Or, the conversation?

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The conversation. It happened before you sent the video. As you know, we weren’t sure the buyers of Mom’s house wanted the 22-foot shuffleboard table in the second-floor game room. And since it’s a solid piece of, well, whatever the board’s made of, it’d have to be broken down to get it out of the house since the original homeowners probably brought it in through the windows while the house was still being built.

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I know the story. But, I am running out of patience with your blah-blah-blah. Can you get to the point?

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I’ll try, but sometimes the details are important. Anyway, I was pretty stressed about finding someone who could remove the shuffleboard, especially since we only had a few days to pull this off. So, I was excited when I found LoadUp, a company that professionally disposes of your old items, but imagine how I felt when the person who answered the phone stuttered. I was not in a patient mood.

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Oh, I can only imagine. Normally, you would have been patient and understanding, but getting Mom’s house emptied has been overwhelming and emotional for you.

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There’s an understatement, but something remarkable happened during that call. I went from being incredibly stressed out to being calm and in a good mood. Because as soon as I heard his stutter, I forced myself to “slow down” and just listen.

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I will not get into the power of active listening, but by focusing on what he was saying, that was an escape, albeit very brief, from everything going on in your mind.

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Besides him being highly professional and knowledgeable, he was extremely nice and understood my “disposal” dilemma. I only wish he could’ve seen me as I went from being a woman bouncing off the walls to someone in a much better mood, all because, ironically, of his stutter!

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I am certain he could hear it in the tone of your voice. Regardless, as the video points out, the problem is not with the person who stutters; it is with the listener.

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Which makes sense. And even though you commented the video was a great piece and worth the time to watch, I only did so a few days ago. And I agree. But you also mentioned I should remind you to tell me about the Make-A-Wish interviewer who stuttered.

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It was exactly one week before your conversation with the man who stuttered. I arrived for the building dedication interview and was introduced to the two-man film crew – an interviewer and a camera operator. I noticed that one man stuttered, so I assumed he was the camera operator. Imagine my surprise when I found out I had guessed wrong.


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I’m sure you were great. You don’t tolerate fools well, but you’re very empathic with people who have genuine issues.


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Perhaps. But, I also have been known to finish people’s sentences or interrupt them when it is obvious where they are going, and I want the conversation to move along quicker.


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I think we’ve already established you’re impatient.


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Point made. But, just as you learned allowing yourself to genuinely listen not only allowed you to connect better with him but also to stop and catch your breath, I realized that allowing the interviewer to ask his questions at his pace allowed me to think about what he was saying and carefully prepare my answer. That it was not a race to the finish.


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So, does that mean you will start being more patient with me? And become a better listener?


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Doubtful; however, I wonder if people who stutter do a better job of getting to the point and actually are more succinct speakers.


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You would …
Check out this list of famous and gifted people that didn’t let stuttering get in their way!
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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