Make Room For The Stuttering

Is There Humor In Stuttering?

Posted on: May 12, 2009

I sure didn’t used to see humor in my stuttering or getting made fun of. But I guess as you get older, you see things differently, or should anyway. Otherwise, how do we de-mystify it for kids coming up behind us and impart to them that they shouldn’t take things too personally? It’s hard, but usually when I step away from the moment, its not all that bad.

So, I am going to see what humor can be found in these recent little blips on the radar.

I like to play lottery numbers. That is probably my worst vice these days. I spend a couple of bucks on a daily number and usually play the big jackpot games too. Hey, you gotta be in it to win it. I play numbers at the same store a few times a week. When I went in there recently, I  told the clerk what I wanted like I always do. The number was 992 – it came out n-n-n-nine-nine-two. The clerk laughed and repeated it back just like that, asking me if I was sure I wanted six numbers in a three number game. I got embarrassed, felt my face get red, and tried to repeat it. I stuttered again on the same sound. He laughed and mimicked me again.  Aaargh! So the humor in this was . . . . .  I should have told him I was bucking for three times the prize if I won!

When I went to the deli to order some american cheese, I blocked on the “A” and it came out like “ah-ah-ah-ah”- couldn’t get the word american out. The guy knew what I wanted – I get the same thing every week. 

Sometimes I say the brand first, to ease the words out. I didn’t this time, and he made me pay. He made some dumb comment like “Who ever heard of someone not being able to say what they want? Just for that, you will have to buy the chicken wings that are on sale tonight.” I was astonished that this guy actually said that. But, I have since shared this story with people who stutter and people who don’t, and the general reaction: people have burst out laughing. I guess its so hard to believe that someone said it, that its actually funny. So, now its my chicken wing story!

When I drove my partner’s car over to my mom’s house on Mother’s Day, her neighbors were walking in their house just as I drove up. My mom’s husband has a very similar car. Neighbor says, “whoa, you trying to compete with Paul? Where did you get the ride?”  I started to say, “Its my hus-hus-hus-husband’s car”. The guy busts out laughing, and says “How many husbands do you have? Tell us. We won’t tell.” I was embarrassed and just said Happy Mother’s Day. I should have said ” I have four husbands – do you want to take a number?”

Easier said than done – yes. But you can’t take this stuff too seriously. Its not worth it. We have to have a thick skin if we want kids and teens to stand up for themselves and not let little stuff get to them.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!  Happy Stuttering Awareness Week!

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6 Responses to "Is There Humor In Stuttering?"

All I can say is I didn’t find the humor in those comments – maybe because of the profession of being an SLP or maybe just because I think it’s rude to make fun of people.

I found them extremely stinging WHEN they occured, but I am trying to find ways to see the humor. I can’t encourage kids and teens to let things go or don’t internalize if I can’t do it myself. I think to be honestly able to share these moments with others is one way of making them less awful

I actually wish in those moments I had a great, quick comeback, but the moment sometimes actually paralyzes me.

All the more reason to try and find humor in it all, thats the only way I can think of moving forward.

I completely understand your point – and I guess I try to find humor in things too – but it’s usually much after it actually happened. I, like you, am often too late on any quick comebacks…those kinds of things usually paralyze me too.

I really appreciate how you put yourself out there the way you do. People with all kinds of issues (not only those who stutter) could learn a lot from following your lead. You really should think about writing a book – even if it were just a book of your life experiences the way you write them in your blog. Seriously. It’d be fun! 🙂

At first, I agreed with Sara; where is the humor? It’s one thing for kids/teens to laugh or mimic, but an adult? Maybe people feel so vulnerable about their own “disabilities” (don’t we all have them?), that they don’t know how to handle others’ faults.

But, you’re absolutely right, Pam, that finding humor is the best way to deal with the ignorance out there. Pretty soon, after these events, you’ll be able to think beforehand of the comebacks so they won’t catch you by surprise.

I had a really funny story, which I’ll tell you sometime, with my son, Tzvi. Definitely humorous!

Keep smiling! Shayna

Quick comebacks are usually hard to think up when you’re caught off guard. Luckily, it’s happened a few times now that I have a canned reponse that wipes the ignorant smile off their faces: “I stutter”.

When (if) they profusely apologise, I keep a poker face and don’t say anything.

They are not there to be my friend. They are there to do a service. Laughing at my stuttering is a disservice. I can even go as far as saying their complete lack of knowledge of stuttering is a disservice to me much like wheelchair inaccessible establishments are a disservice to people in wheelchairs.

Sorry, not my usual positive perspective on stuttering but this is one of my pet peeves and I don’t tolerate that kind of behaviour from adults.

Yeah, this is a tough one, because it happens, and its happened more with me lately as I contine to be more open.

It seems that I am genuinely stuttering more as the covert cloak comes off and stays off. Weird. Not sure I totally understand it.

I want to be able to graciously deal with my being mocked, because I want to be able to honestly tell kids to not let it bother them.

Unfortunately, it is so hard for me to control my emotions and physical reaction – when I get caught off guard or embarassed, my face turns bright red.

But I appreciate your persepctive – we need to keep educating!

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