by John Larkin

Could that be true? Is it possible to actually have the experience of being ashamed of temporary fluency? The answer for me is yes. Let me explain. I have been traveling around the world as a pop star since February of this year. Both my single releases of "Scatman" and "Scatman's world" and my Album "Scatman's world" have climbed into gold and platinum sales in many countries worldwide. The media exposure I have had has been wide and varied; including television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. On one particular day in Oslo, Norway, I was doing a series of 12 telephone interviews for press throughout that country. The interviews were 15 minutes each. After a while, one would sort of lead into the other.....hang up, ring, hang up, ring, hang up. The message from me was the same for each call. I would talk about what the first single was about...."stuttering"....and I would go on to explain how I had to put my stuttering out there first to let the world know that I am a stutterer; so that people wouldn't be surprised when they heard me talk. I would explain that I finally gave up trying so much to be fluent....and began to give myself permission to go ahead and stutter. I would say that I was now concentrating more on overcoming the "shame" of stuttering itself. Well, now we get to the good part. By the time I got to about the 10th caller I was saying the message by rote....and, as many stutterers have experienced, I was going fluent by "repeating from memory". The last interviewer became skeptical because here I was talking about my stuttering without stuttering.....he was understandably wondering what the heck was going on. Well, he brought it to my attention....he said: "You have been talking about stuttering and I haven't heard you stutter once"...... Then he asked me the heartbreaker...he asked if I was trying to "use the stuttering community as a gimmick to further my career"?....... Well at first I was insulted by the question, but when I stopped and thought about it, I could understand why he might think such a thought. I WAS FLUENT AND I WAS ASHAMED OF IT!!!!! And, my embarrassment continued as I went on to explain that occasionally, some stutterers do experience temporary fluency. I don't think he believed me, or at best, he was still skeptical at the end of the call. That was the experience, as it happened; and to my recollection that was the first shame I've ever felt over NOT stuttering. So, my fellow stutterers, I leave you now and my heart goes out to all of you and your experiences. Love to you all, John Larkin added November 20, 1995