Now It Can Be Told ... | Sojourners

Now It Can Be Told ...

Now It Can Be Told...

Guess what my biggest problem is? No, that's not it. No, that's not it. Not that, ENOUGH ALREADY! Sheesh.

No, my biggest problem is that ever since junior high school I've had a stutter. (Actually, you don't "have" a stutter. You "are" a stutterer. Which is quite a coincidence, because so am I.)

Writers can be stutterers, of course, and nobody knows it. But I'm tired of my readers not knowing. I'm tired of the lies. I'm not going to stay in the closet any longer (mainly because people used to say, "Do you hear that funny noise coming from the closet? I think somebody's stuttering in there.")

My "problem" crops up without warning, sometimes as a stammer, sometimes as a complete wall of silence, like I just swallowed something a car.

Recently our staff was calling subscribers for contributions to our ministry. We were hoping to start the year with a clean fiscal slate, and I was telling folks that we were trying to retire our debt of $65,000.

Well, one woman answered in a friendly voice, and I said: "We're calling our subscribers tonight because we're trying to retire...."

That's when I got stuck. I couldn't say the next word. My tongue wouldn't work until the woman, after a pause, said, "Aren't we all."

Through the years I have learned to cope with my handicap and, more important, have developed a list of helpful hints for the non-stutterer.

When talking with someone who is stuck on a word, eyes fluttering, stomach muscles tightening, face turning purple from the effort to speak:

· DON'T look at your watch.

· DON'T look at your calendar.

· DON'T fidget, sigh impatiently, and say, "I'd like to buy a vowel."

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Sojourners Magazine May 1992
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