What I Meant

There is so much misunderstanding in the world today.  Some of it is because of different cultures, generations, nationalities, and ideologies.  In my case, it is sometimes because there seems to be a short circuit between my brain and my mouth.

For example, I have had a sore shoulder for months.  Two of them, in fact.  But, I don’t dare talk about my shoulders because I have a tendency to get mixed up and say I have a “shore soldier.”   I’d hate to have people think there was a beach invasion taking place.

When I worked in radio I dreaded the winter nights when snow showers were in the forecast.  I think it only happened once, but it’s embarrassing to be on the radio and say “show snowers” into the microphone.

As a little kid I thought detectives were very cool, and back in those days when buying toy guns for kids was still considered to be okay, I lobbied for a shoulder holster for Christmas.  Of course, it came out “holder sholster.”  A real detective would never call it that.

I’m not the only person with this affliction.  I knew a minister who couldn’t say the word “specific.”  It came out “pacific.”  That’s not so bad if you’re three years old, but as a spiritual leader, it wasn’t too impressive.

The worst is if you’re trying to command respect, but your brain-mouth communication falters.  And example comes from a mother I know who chided her kid for having a “smout marth,” by which, of course, she meant “smart mouth.”  It’s hard to be taken seriously when the child being chastised is laughing hysterically.

That reminds me of a girl I used to know that liked to sing the song with the lyrics, “give me a man who’s a stout-hearted man…”  It came out “start-houted” about half the time, but she kept singing the song anyway.

My father used to occasionally say, “Do what I meant, not what I said.”   That was an interesting approach to communication, but most of the time it was pretty effective.  The desire to understand can overcome the inability to speak correctly.

People say a lot of things that are untrue or hurtful or just plain dumb.  Saying the right thing wrong, as awkward as it can be sometimes, is better than saying the wrong thing right.  So, if I start telling you about my shore soldier, I ask that you not be a smout marth. 

You know what I mean?


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