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Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Really Can't Say

I have this theory that we all have words that give us problems. We may have a problem pronouncing them, or understanding them, or maybe even spelling them. We want to say something, but we can't, and it's not because we're trying to keep a secret of monumental proportions. We just really can't say them. For the ones among you reading this and thinking to yourselves that it just isn't so, you have no problems, let me say one thing. You just might not have experienced your trip word/s yet. Or it could be that you're just many times smarter than everyone else I know, in which case I salute you. You're awesome.

Gram used to have a few words that came out kind of funny, but I would never have disrespected her by laughing at them. Of course it wasn't just courtesy and love, there was some self-preservation at play as well. If I had pointed anything out, she might have done what she would have called giving me the sharp side of her tongue. If it isn't obvious what that means, just think of words that are sharp enough to cut you to shreds and leave you shaking in fear.

One of Gram's trouble words was confiscate. I first heard it when she was talking about a news story having to do with a major drug bust. The police literally found stacks of money in the house, which was taken away as evidence. Gram told me that the police had confisticated thousands and thousands of dollars in cash that was found in a house on a major crime bust. I know that Trent won't make fun of Gram for this, either. His trip-you-up-words are far shorter and simpler. One of them is iron, as in the mineral or the wrinkle eradicator. Mm-hmm. See, it happens to most of us.

I have one that's pretty silly. When lupus became a part of my life, it did so in a dramatic fashion, attacking my kidneys. After very aggressive treatment, my kidneys were saved, but sustained minor permanent damage. As is often the case with mild kidney damage, this left me with elevated blood pressure. It's such a simple phrase, really. High blood pressure - what's so tough about that? Not a thing. Except that when I say it, I have to concentrate so that it doesn't come out as, "I have high blood plessure." I find it frustrating and embarrassing. I can say antedeluvian (a highfaluting word that means "before the flood," and is a way of saying something is terribly old-fashioned) and prestidigitation (magic or slight-of-hand), but I can't tell someone I have high blood pressure without really concentrating on the words. And as a companion to that, I have a really hard time typing certain words, one of which is remember, which usually comes out as remeber.

Something that helps me feel a bit better about myself when I stumble over certain words is remembering my Aunt Jackie, Gram's daughter. Her ability to mangle certain words over and over again was the stuff of family legend. Her most famous incident occurred in a Woolworth's store when she and her sister Alice went shopping together. Alice had wandered off, and Jackie was looking at a table of fabric remnants that were being sold at greatly reduced prices. She found one piece that she must have thought was particularly beautiful, because she called out to Alice, who was across the store, "Alice, come look at the Rembrandt I found on the sale table!" To the best of everyone's knowledge, no one suffered any permanent injuries or loss of limbs in the small riot that ensued.

I was particularly entertained whenever I heard her say something about taking a couple of Ty-nols for headaches or other pains, or needing a spatulator when cooking. Her all-time greatest, though, was often used at a time when something happened that made her particularly angry. One evening when she was on her way home from work, she stopped by to share dinner with us. She was telling Gram that she was glad to be coming over for some of her mother's cooking, because she had not eaten much lunch that day. She had gone out to a nearby sandwich shop, but was so disgusted by how dirty it was that she lost her appetite. She was practically yelling, saying that she would never set foot in that place again. "It was absolutely thilthy! I've never seen such a thilthy place in my whole life! It made me sick to my stomach!" Gram and I managed to keep ourselves together, and we were very sympathetic to what Jackie had experienced that day. But we laughed ourselves silly in relief when she finally went on her way. 

Now that I think about it, there was an almost a Shakespearean quality to the whole thing, just with very bad timing. He would never have had the high drama and the comic relief that close to each other in the same scene! And if I offended you by saying that we got a belly laugh out of it when Jackie was gone, I hope you'll consider forgiving me, because I'm really not a completely cruel and insensitive person. Gram and I had a few chuckles over it with Jackie herself after she had cooled down, and she thought it was funny, too. If we should ever meet, my dear reader, and I mangle something terribly, I would love to have you laugh with me over it. I hear that laughter does wonders for your blood plessure!