Sunday, November 25, 2012

Verbal Ineptitude: Top Hits from the Family

For a long, long while now, my dear mother has suffered from some sort of crossed wire or misfiring connection between her mouth and her brain. When it happens, we think she probably knows what she wants to say, but as soon as the thought reaches her vocal chords, all hell breaks loose. One of the most famous instances of this was the time we were being obnoxious and she said, "You're making the sperm in my neck hurt!" instead of saying something about the bone spur she thought she had in her neck. She definitely got our attention with that one.

Or there was the time when she pointed out the window of our motorhome when we were camping and exclaimed, "Look at the delicate!" It was a swan. I think maybe she was going for pelican or duck...who knows... There was a similar instance when she saw two blimps in the sky at once, and yelled, "Twimps!" But not in that I-just-made-up-a-clever-word kind of way.

It wasn't a huge surprise when, over the years, my sister began displaying similar challenges with her ability to speak. Once when I was a kid and I guessed a Wheel of Fortune puzzle before she did, she looked at me and said, "You snow bitch." We still have no idea where that one came from.

And then there was the one last year when my niece said something about the Macy's in our local mall and my sister said, "When I was a little boy, we didn't have Macy's." No one in the family was aware that my sister had ever been a little boy.

Last weekend, it became clear that my eldest niece is also afflicted by the verbal ineptitude gene. My mom, sister, and I had gone to visit my niece at college to celebrate her 18th birthday. After finishing a nice dinner, something came up about a night she had spent at my mom and dad's house while my sister and brother-in-law were out of town. She was complaining about how awful it was because, according to her, my parents' cats were having sex all night. "They're brother and sister," I told her. "They don't have sex."

She looked at me with a mix of confidence and irritation and said through narrowed eyes, "Cats don't know email."

About midway through the sentence, I think she realized it was going to come out wrong. Apparently she meant to say that cats don't know what incest is, so they very likely could have been trying to mate. But somehow "email" got thrown in there instead. It was fortunate I didn't pee my pants from laughing so hard.

As I racked my brain for additional points of evidence on how this tragic disease has affected my family, I began to think that my brother and dad may have been immune. But on Thanksgiving night when the family began talking about my great aunt and uncle who met and married on a whim a couple days later, my dad said very seriously, "They only knew themselves very long." Pretty sure he was trying to say something about how they didn't know each other very long.

I'm going to keep tabs on the family to see if this ailment continues to get worse. I think my brother and I may be the only remaining Hetheringtons that haven't come down with a serious case.

Mr. W on the other hand may have a related strain. Between the Costco hamburger bun cleavage story, old lady wash cloth face, and the time he told me I looked "good-sized" for my weight, it's clear the synapses don't always fire in his favor. I just hope he doesn't come down with a full-blown oral disability like so many of my family members.

But if he does, I assure you there will be many a blog post documenting his speeches.


  1. So that's where I got it from, the Hetherington's! Can't wait to share this with my daughter. She's just sure I'm going crazy! Wonderful story! Tami

  2. Oh it's funny how brains and tongues go to war on each other. I'm looking forward to how Mr. W is going to use this as an explanation for "good-sized" the only thing that should be described as such is a Snickers bar!

  3. I was truly laughing out loud through this whole post! Made my day.

  4. This is the only thing that has made me laugh all day. Thank you for that!


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