Friday, December 30, 2005

How to cure a stutter

Here, in her words, is my mom's account of how she cured me of stuttering. It probably isn't recommended in conventional speech therapy or child psychology, but it seems to have worked.

"I don't know how it got started. One day you were talking normally, and the next you were stuttering. I think you saw it on TV or something. It went on for days—weeks. I was totally distraught. I was in tears. I was running around asking everyone for advice. Little did I know you were enjoying every minute of it.

"Finally, I was talking to Mac Peterson. Either I asked him about it or he heard you. He said, 'My brother used to do that, and you know why? Because when he was a kid, he saw a puppy in a window he wanted, and our parents wouldn't let him have it, so he started stuttering, and they panicked and got it for him. And he went on for years. And he knew he did it on purpose. So later on when his little girl started doing it, he told her, "If you can't talk right, don't talk at all." And it worked. Do you think something like that might have happened to Pete?'

"Later on I was down in the laundry room, and you came up behind me and started stuttering. And I turned around and I said, 'If you can't talk right, don't talk at all.' You stood there, and you thought about it, and then you started stuttering again. And I said, 'I'm serious. If you can't talk right, don't talk at all.' And then I turned around again so you couldn't see the tears streaming down my face because that's a really mean thing to have to say.

"But it worked. When I went upstairs, you went upstairs, and you never stuttered again."

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