On the Lighter Side

Joseph Sheehan used to say that finding humor in our human-ness can be very appropriate, and shared humorous stories about stuttering. There is also a lot of research available that demonstrates the therapeutic implications of humor. You may enjoy exploring Walt Manning also wrote an interesting article Humor As A Variable In The Process Of Change for the ISAD 2003 online conference.

The following section will be developed for appropriate humor related to stuttering. If individuals are interested in submitting a humorous incident that occurred because of stuttering, they are welcome to send their submission to judith.kuster@mnsu.edu for consideration.

Index
  • Marty Leisner, March 10, 1996
  • Marty Leisner, March 18, 1996
  • Michael Barnett, April 15, 1996
  • Richard Merson, May 24,1996
  • Ira Zimmerman, August 12, 1996
  • Ira Zimmerman, August 12, 1996
  • Marty Leisner, September 25, 1996
  • Dane Williams, December 3, 1996
  • Bonnie Weiss January 7, 1997
  • Anita Blom March 11, 1997
  • A Friend March 28, 1997
  • Anders Lundberg April 3, 1997
  • Anders Lundberg April 14, 1997
  • Bill Fletcher May 4, 1997
  • Sven Klinge May 27, 1997
  • Lou Heite August 11, 1997
  • Russ Hicks August 11, 1997
  • Silvano Colombano August 11, 1997
  • Ken Lund November 8, 1997
  • Funny Starter Stories by Andy Floyd, Vicki Schutter, Jeff Shames, and Woody Starkweather. March 10, 1998
  • Gene Dinovo March 12, 1998
  • Dave Sloot March 29, 1998
  • Joe West August 10, 1998
  • Vicki Benson Schutter September 3, 1998
  • Bonnie Weiss January 15, 1999
  • Robert Morschel February 4, 1999
  • Vicki Benson Schutter March 11, 1999
  • Ed Feuer May 4, 1999
  • Homer Bigart as reported by Andy Rooney
  • Vicki Benson Schutter July 16, 1999
  • Ed MacDonald November 22, 1999
  • Jim Mollin July 18, 2000
  • Ira Zimmerman December 7, 2000
  • Brian Howell March 13, 2001
  • William McGee March 13, 2001
  • Jim Abbott April 13, 2001
  • Jim McClure April 13, 2001
  • Russ Hicks April 16, 2001
  • Julie Davis August 4, 2001
  • Elankulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad - May 24, 2002
  • "Phoning for a Date" - Tim - December 30, 2002
  • "Two stories" - Kim Howland - December 30, 2002
  • Your Name is What?!" - John Wade - May 22, 2003. (rated PG)
  • Stuttering Contest - Dan Kremer - May 30, 2002
  • Ten Authorities In Search Of An Agreement a skit where several authorities on stuttering, "spoof" themselves at the 1959 Bahamas conference.
  • The Jamaican Farewell a skit where several authorities on stuttering, "spoof" themselves at the 1963 Jamaican conference.
  • Turning a Deaf Ear By Bernie Weiner
  • Dock Chocks by Jim Abbott
  • Snap by Alan Badmington
  • Henry Carleton from Anecdotage.com
  • A positive effect of stuttering - Dale Williams
  • Double or Nothing - Jack Welch
  • Mr. Itsum - Alan Badmington
  • Lylynda - Lynda Voight
  • The Balshezzar Gooblstone Story - Paul Goldstein
  • An Urdu Couplet - from Satyendra Kumar Srivastava
  • Deleting Data - Doug Hendricks
  • Wrong Meeting - Lucy Reed
  • Jack? - Bernie Weiner
  • Living in the USA - Howard D.
  • The Stuttering WHAT? - Anita Blom
  • My Lincoln Town Car - Pam Mertz
  • Training School Children About Sexual Harassment - Pam Mertz
  • Cold enough for you? - John Paskievich
  • Night before exams! - Dhruva Kathuria
  • Giving Directions - Dhruva Kathuria
    Submitted by Marty Leisner - March 10, 1996 This is a quote from Belinda Ali (Muhammed's 2nd wife) in Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times (Thomas Hauser, Simon and Shuster, 1991) I really got a kick out of it! There's a lot of truth to it...

    Belinda Ali:

    I'll tell you straight out. With everything I went through with Ali, the one person I always could count on was Howard Bingham. He's such a nice man, so sweet. Since before Ali and I knew each other, he's been Ali's truest friend. But there's one story I have to tell you. Howard and I were driving in California. I was driving, actually. He was giving me directions. And Howard stutters; sometimes he stutters bad. Well, we were on this road, and he'd say "T-t-t-turn right, t-t-t-turn left'. And I drive kind of fast, so one time, by the time he got the word out of his mouth, I missed the turn. But I got him. There was a truck coming toward us, and I pulled out to pass a car, pretending like I didn't see. And Bingham thought he was gonna die. He screamed, 'Look out for the truck!' I mean, he was scared. Anyway, I maneuvered back into the lane where I was supposed to be. And then I said, 'Bingham, you didn't stutter.' And do you know what he told me? He said 'I couldn't. I didn't have t-t-t-time.'

    return to index



    How Burns met Allen - submitted by Marty Leisner, March 18, 1996

    Author of the biography, George Burns: And the Hundred Year Dash, Martin Gottfried appeared on a recent A&E special about George Burns. Gottfried told how George and his wife, Gracie Allen, met.

    Gracie was looking for a vaudevillian, Billy Loraine, who reportedly had a terrible stuttering problem. He was very self-conscious about his stuttering and when Gracie approached him and asked if he was Billy Loraine, Billy indicated he was not, pointing to George Burns. It is reported that George pretended he was Billy Loraine for awhile, until he had broken the ice with Gracie.

    An interesting side-light is that George Burns perhaps shared a stuttering problem with Billy Loraine. Marty Jezer shared on STUTT-L, March 18, 1996, an exerpt from The Box, An Oral History Of Television 1921-1961 by Jeff Kisseloff.

    Greg Garrison, a writer for Burns and Allen, tells this story about having dinner with Burns and Jack Benny.

    "....One night Jack says, "Tell Greg what the cigar is for" George says, Well all right, watch me carefully. I'm gonna tell a joke and after the joke I'm gonna take a little pause and then I'm gonna give you the punch line. Watch me." [Imitates Burn's voice.] Why does a fireman wear red suspenders? [Garrison takes an imaginary cigar and sucks on it, then takes it from his mouth and looks at it]. To hold up his pants. Did you see what I did?"

    "No I didn't. Show me again." ....

    "All right. Watch me. I'm gonna do the setup for the joke: Why does the fireman wear red suspenders? Then I'm going take the cigar and put it in my mouth. Now I'm gonna take the cigar out of my mouth and hold it over here. While I hold it there, the audience is gonna look at it, and while the audience is looking at it, I lick my lips. You see, I stutter, and you can't tell a punch line on a dry mouth."

    return to index



    Shared by Michael Barnett on April 15, 1996

    I used to be a tourguide for a cavern, and this was after I had completed my "singing" therapy. I was doing the tour, and lost concentration, and stuttered a little. A lady in front of the group started laughing and pointing at me. A BIG guy from the back of the group came up front. If you were to picture the typical representation of a Harley person like portrayed on television, well, this guy was much bigger!! He came up to the woman, and said, "W-w-w-what a-a-a-are y-you l-l-l-l-laugh-gh-ghing a-a-about??" Well, that woman shut up then and there, and everyone else started clapping. He came up and put his arm around me and goes, "We're buds!!"

    return to index



    Shared by Richard Merson - May 24,1996

    I was fortunate enough to spend a few years at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Mo. As a part of that good fortune I was able to interact with a great Psychologist, Scientist, and mensche of a mentor Ira Hirsh. Dr. Hirsh published widely ( text's and sci.articles) on the temporal aspects of human communication.. timing etc....He was one of the founding fathers of ASHA... anyway..... He would stop me in the clinic halls and ask "What's going on the Speech Clinic?" I'd respond.... "Stuttering Ira... stuttering is going on in the speech clinic." He'd rejoin, "Haven't you guys figured out how to correct that speech temporal problem yet?" I'd say ... "We're working on it.. but it's more than 'just what meets the ear'"..... He'd laugh and say ... "Well how do you treat it... Dr. Merson?...." And I'd say.... trying to tweek his mind with half subtlety.. half wit... and very little science...... "I treat them with accents!!!" He knew right away what I was talking about.... Hirsh would say, "Do you use 'Charles Boyer?'" "No," I'd say, "I like to use John Wayne for the guys and Mae West for the girls." "Good choice," he'd say.... "Does it work?" "Yup! ( Sorry Coop)... it works if they don't mind changing their personalites to 'cowboys and fan dancers'"....

    return to index



    Shared by Ira Zimmerman, August 12, 1996

    When I was in therapy at the UCLA Clinic for Stutterers, we used to go to a nearby village to practice our voluntary stuttering on the village merchants.

    The aim of voluntary stuttering was to build up our tolerance and acceptance of stuttering.

    I approached the box office of the local movie theater to work on my voluntary stuttering.

    I said to the pretty young woman selling tickets, "I-I-I am a st-st-st-st-st-st-st-st-stutterer."

    She looked me right in my eyes and said, "It's still going to cost you $3.50!!"

    Ira Zimmerman
    warmerbros@earthlink.net

    return to index



    Shared by Ira Zimmerman, August 12, 1996

    When I was hired to be a technical consultant on the NBC-TV series "Quantum Leap", I was paid $100/hour to work with the actors and screenwriter on portraying stuttering in a positive and clinically accurate way.

    After completing my job and with 85 billable hours at $100/hour, I dropped by the Producer's office to present him with the bill and thank him for the job. He looked at the bill and told me that he learned an awful lot from me. I responded by asking him exactly what did he learn from me. The Producer leaned back in his chair, thought for a moment, took a deep puff on his cigar and said, "Ira, I've learned that hereafter when I hire a Stutterer, I won't pay him by the hour."

    Ira Zimmerman
    warmerbros@earthlink.net

    return to index



    The following incident about Billy Lorraine, a vaudevillian who stuttered, is from George Burn's 100 years/100 Memories and was submitted by Marty Leisner.

    Burns explains, "I've always been patient with stutterers. Maybe that's because one of my early vaudeville partners, Billy Lorraine, stutters so badly that it would take him five minutes to say "Come in".The poor guy could never get out any of the spoken lines in our act, but for some reason he had no problem when he had to sing.

    Once, when we were playing the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles and living in the Continental Hotel, I went to get my hair cut. In those days, I had some. When I got back to the hotel, Billy rushed up to me, all excited. I could see he had news for me.

    He said, "W-W-W-W"
    "Yeah, yeah, go on Billy"
    "W-W-W-W"
    He couldn't go on. I said "OK, start over".
    Again..."W-W-W-W"
    "We got a job?" I took a shot -- "We" starts with a "w".
    He shook his head negatively.
    "So what is it Billy?" I pleaded.
    Again: "W-W-W-W"
    I said "Sing it, Billy, sing it"
    And clear as a bell, he sang "We were just robbed".

    return to index



    The following incident was submitted by Dane Williams, an Applications Analyst

    . I have used humor many times to get through a speaking situation and to introduce my stuttering to others. Done in the right way it can change a confusing, unnerving interaction into one which fosters questions and honesty, possibly leading to an educational experience for the listeners. An example of the use of humor which I felt was successful was when I was doing one of the "round the table introductions".

    I was in a program to convert to Catholism and was asked to give my name, background, previous religious affilitation, etc. I blocked on "Methodist" for probably a full minute, finally stopped, and stated that "I am converting because I find 'Catholic' much easier to say!", then proceeded with the original word. The effect was wonderful. I had acknowledged to everyone at the table that there was in fact something out of the norm going on, that I was aware of it, and most importantly that it was OK to talk about, which we subsequently did.

    Dane Williams

    return to index



    The following was shared by Bonnie Weiss, secretary and assistant to the department University at Buffalo, Division of Arts and Letters.

    Three years ago, I felt so badly about my stuttering that NOTHING about it was funny. And there are still days when nothing about my stuttering is funny. Good speech therapy and getting involved in the NSP have turned my life around. Now there are things about my stuttering that I can even see the funny side of - and have fun with.

    We were, at the University at Buffalo, Div. of Arts and Letters, FINALLY getting new touchtone phones. Since I'm the secretary and asst. to in my department, I got the phone with the 24 lines! While it was still "dead" waiting to be hooked up. I kept looking at that phone and thinking "How on earth am I doing to DO this?" Voice mail will help, I thought.

    Anyway, we had a training session ....faculty, staff, student assistants. The phone company representative was explaining the "features" and one is when you have a message from someone and they are talking...very....slowly, you can hit "6" to speed the message up. Without thinking, I said..."Oh good, then you guys won't have to wait so long for me to say what I'm saying anymore!" I brought the house down. It felt good. (The phone company representative only got the joke when someone told her I am a person who stutters).

    return to Lighter Side index



    The following was shared by Anita S. Blom

    Dutch is my first language and I speak Swedish as a second language. I'm very thankful I don't block, I "just" repeat myself 5-10 times, which brings me into painful situations, such as "I would like to have six-six-six (the word for six is sex in Swedish) stamps.I try to avoid the number six. :-)

    Anita S. Blom

    return to Lighter Side index



    The following was shared by a friend

    I had been abroad for a while, among other things buying goods for my importing business. My husband sent me an email to find out what kind of luggage I would have when I returned, so he'd know which car to bring. A very formal word for luggage, or any heavy burden, is "impedimenta" - it is Latin for "something clumsy to carry." He made a typo in his email, though, and left off the "a" at the end of the word. He wrote, "What kind of impediment will you be bringing with you?" I thought it was a funny mistake, particularly because international jet trips usually leave me pretty disfluent. I answered, "Aside from my usual stutter, I will have a box of goods for the wool shop, and the duffel bag fluffed out to its full roundness. I think the word you want is 'impedimentA.'" My husband, properly chastened, and very amused, met me at the airport with the big car, to accommodate all those impedimenta.

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Anders Lundberg

    A few years ago, I sat over a whisky (or a few) together with a former therapist and mentor of mine. This man, Bjorn Fritzell (MD, Phoniatrician and former president of the IALP - International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics), has been an angel to me, however a tough one at times, since I was very young and we have continued our friendship. So we sat and discussed and after a long time he sighed and said, "I have spent most of my life teaching people to speak distinctly and fluently, with a sonorous voice, but by and by arrived at the conclusion that most of us need help to shut up."

    return to Lighter Side index



    Posted by Anders Lundberg, from Sweden, to Stutt-X on April 14, 1997 and reprinted with permssion:

    At the hospital where I work, we had a very well known and very loved doctor. He was a specialist in anesthetics and he was also known for his severe stutter. He was so very competent that he, albeit his speech problems, became the chief in the catastrophe organization; that organization being known for his efficiency, actually. Of course there were many anecdotes about him, a clinical professor as he also was. It can perhaps be said about him that "he stopped his stuttering, shortly after he died". Duntan was his "pet name", a wonderful and warm person.

    As a fairly recent MD, he was in a grand round. The round went from patient to patient and there was a young intern doctor who had memorized every possible data about every possible patient. And he talked, how he talked! Other doctors and nurses on this grand round hardly got any word in. When the show was at his end, Duntan turned to the young intern and said. "Doctor, I-I-II-I-I hhhhave ooooof...ten wwowowowondered whaaaaaat i.i.ii..t wowowould bbe llllike to hhaave the wwhole bbrain fffffilled with a sssspeech center"?

    Perhaps that is why SLP:s have so much to say too?

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Bill Fletcher

    Once when I was playing football at Oberlin College, [a great athletic university in 1942], I was sent in with a play. I was playing fullback and was told to tell the quarterback to run play C-13, which was a run through the three spot, between the rt. tackle and end. As you might expect what might have occurred, I couldn't get a word out in the huddle so the quarterback called for an end sweep. The halfback got smeared at the side line, and the coach comes running out screaming at the quarterback for calling the wrong play. I never told either of them what happpened and the quarterback is still my friend.

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Sven Klinge, in Australia

    I was calling the local polyclinic to make an appointment with my speech therapist in the speech pathology department. The receptionist answered and I said "Could you please transfer me to speech p-p-p-p-"

    And I was.

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Lou Heite, in Iceland

    I enjoy Scrabble a lot, but don't get to play it much because I live alone most of the time. So, when I found myself with two houseguests, I was delighted to have a chance to play. One of my guests was also a stutterer, but not a very experienced Scrabbler.

    Towards the end of the game, when the letters were few and most of the available words were two- or three-letter wonders, I used an "e" to make the word "er." I was challenged, so we got out the Webster's. The dictionary defines "er" as: "interj. a conventionalized expression of the sound often made by a speaker when hesitating briefly; a vocalized pause."

    My stuttering guest gaped, and said, with wonder in his voice, "That's a stutter! Gee, if I'd known we could do that I'd have been able to use up all those vowels!"

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Russ Hicks

    Several years ago I became convinced that one of the best "advertising" techniques to help me to begin to talk openly about my stuttering would be for me to post the famous NSP "If You Stutter, You're In Good Company" poster prominently on the wall in my office at Texas Instruments where I work. The poster has pictures of some famous stutterers, Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Marilyn Monroe, and six others of notable history. It certainly is an admirable work of art.

    Lots of people come in my office and it would help to break that thick ice of denial I had so carefully built up over the years. So with a great deal of anxiety, I put the poster up.

    The next day I was talking on the phone when one of my crazier coworkers walked into my office. As I talked on the phone I saw him look at the poster. My phone call customer droned on and on while Wayne kept reading the poster with great interest. I thought the phone call would never end and good ole Wayne read every single word on that great poster. (And there are a LOT of words on it! I'm not sure if I'VE even read them all!) In any event, as the call dragged on and on, Wayne devoured every last detail of that poster, probably more carefully than any person on the face of this earth ever has. I've never seen such concentration.

    Finally after an eternity, my caller finished and hung up. My heart was pounding in anticipation of the coming conversation. What was I going to say? How would he react? My heart was literally in my throat. Finally I spoke...

    "W-W-Wayne," I stuttered. "What do all those p-p-p-people have in c-c-common?"

    He looked at me, then back at the poster, then back at me. "They're all dead."

    I nearly doubled up in laughter and Wayne, always loving a good punch line - especially his own - did too. When sanity finally returned to the office, we wiped the tears from our eyes and agreed that stuttering was EVENTUALLY fatal. But we did really talk about stuttering. He said, hell, he and everyone else in the office knew I stuttered, and it wasn't a big deal. But that, yes indeed, he really had read that poster very carefully and had learned a lot. And he thought it was cool. To this day, it hangs in the place of honor staring people in the face whenever they first walk into my office.

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Silvano Colombano

    This is a real story. I was the last of a long series of speakers at a briefing. I started my talk as follows:

    I have some good news and some bad news.

    The good news is that I am the last speaker, the bad news is that I am a stutterer ... so who knows how long it's gonna take..!

    return to Lighter Side index



    From Ken Lund

    I attended a six week summer session for stuttering at the University of Mn, back in 1954 One of the speech therapists was Gordon Lowe. Gordon was not a stutterer but would stutter a lot of the time just to keep in practice. Some visitors came to our class one time and we were asked to describe what problems stuttering had caused in our lives.

    When it came to Gordon's turn, he stood up and said, "I went to a cafeteria one time and I said I want a egga-egga-egga-egga-egga-egga." After a short pause he said, "I had twelve eggs on my plate and all I wanted was an egg-tra piece of toast." Over the years I have told that story many times to make people feel at ease when I am speaking with them

    return to Lighter Side index



    Funny "starter" stories, added with permission.

    return to Lighter Side index



    The Foursome, from Gene Dinovo

    At the social part of a recent NSP group meeting two other PWS and I were discussing our love of the game of golf, retelling stories and golf jokes and generally having a good time. We then decided that it would be great if we arranged a round of golf at a local public golf course. While making these arrangements, we were discussing finding another golfer to complete the foursome. At that time, the non-stuttering husband of the NSP host, having listened to all the golf chatter, calmly approached us and nonchalantly offered to accompany us and fill out the foursome so that, if the need arose, there could be one amongst us who could quickly yell FORE!

    return to Lighter Side index



    Tire Repair, from Dave Sloot

    On one occasion I was at a tire repair shop and was trying to relay that someone had broken a bottle and the glass punctured my tire. I entered the shop and began, "s-s-s-s-s-s". The service assistant calmly looked at me and said " Well, if its leaking bring it in.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Electrifying Experience, from Joe West

    I am the Electronics Lab. Supervisor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering for a major university. Having the most experience I was given the task of showing a new recruit the layout of a high voltage power supply. The supply was tucked away in a cabinet and energized at the time. While he looked over my shoulder I pointed out the main transformer and started to explain its operation.

    I think the guy behind me thought that I had touched a high voltage line. He grabbed me by the collar (so as not to touch my body afraid he'd pick up the current himself), and threw me to the floor. I looked up at his panic stricken face and said "No, I stutter!"

    return to Lighter Side index



    Freudian Slip?, from Vicki Benson Schutter

    I got a phone call at work from someone who was doing some kind of survey and wanted to talk to a "scientist or researcher." Of course, there was no way I was going to transfer a survey taker to one of the professors, or they would have slapped me nekkid, so I just gave her the extension of a postdoc. Right before she hung up, she said, "Thank you, Ms. Stutter."

    I thought that was a hoot. I wonder if it was a Freudian slip, or if she just misunderstood "Schutter" and was thinking, "God, that poor woman! To be stuck with that name with speech like that!"?

    return to Lighter Side index



    Telephone Trouble, from Bonnie Weiss

    Last Spring I refinanced my house. My attorney's legal assistant called to get all the information she needed about me. As you all know, if you have to give DEFINITE information, like your name, rank, serial number, and have always blocked on that specific information, it gets kinda hard to not stutter. (I am well aware this is because I still have some feared words). In any case, this Susie Smith (also not her real name) was asking questions and I was answering. About five minutes into the conversation,"Susie" said, "Bonnie, you must need new batteries in your cell phone. You keep fading in and out on me!" That was by far the funniest thing I had ever heard about my stuttering. When I stopped giggling, I said, "I don't own a cell phone...that fading in and out is me...I stutter! She was so embarrassed and apologized over and over again. I told her not to worry. She had just "given" me a really neat story to share with my friends who stutter.

    return to Lighter Side index



    She Vanished! - from Robert Morschel

    I used to close my eyes when I stuttered, until one day whilst mingling at a social event I talked to a woman who mistook my closed eyes for the end of the conversation, so that when I opened my eyes again she had vanished! I have since stopped closing my eyes.

    return to Lighter Side index



    An oral report for creative writing - from Vicki Schutter

    That reminds me ... My Creative Writing and Modern Novel professor (who, with his wife, are good friends of mine to this day) still laughs about the time in his Modern Novel class when I had to do an oral report on "The French Lieutenant's Woman," and I had a block on the word "fornication." The entire class was waiting with baited breath to see what word was going to come out!

    return to Lighter Side index



    Do you have the time - by Ed Feuer

    I was doing speaking exercises at Western Michigan, asking people for the time. I asked a co-ed: "Do you have the time?" with a few blocks. Her reply: "Well, I have a class now."

    return to Lighter Side index



    The following appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Jul/Aug95, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p63. It comes from From My War by Andy Rooney, p. 288.

    On one memorable occasion half a dozen reporters were flown to Oran in North Africa for the occasion of King George VI's visit to the troops in North Africa. We were all assembled, about sixteen of us, at a British officers' club in Oran where we were to meet the king.

    One of the reporters who had flown down was the incomparable Homer Bigart. It is important to this story to remind you that both King George and Homer stammered badly. Both of them had great difficulty getting out their words.

    In the lineup of reporters, I stood to Homer's right and, as the king started down the receiving line, I heard his greeting to Bob Considine of International News Service.

    "How . . . how . . . how . . . da . . . da . . . do you . . . you do?" the king stammered. "Who . . . who . . . whom . . . da . . . da . . . do you . . . rep . . . rep . . . repre . . .represent?"

    "The International News Service, sir," Bob said.

    The king moved on to the next reporter and repeated his question. After having spoken to seven or eight people, he came to the ninth man and said simply "How . . . how do . . . do you do?" and moved on without asking a question.

    The next two people were asked their affiliations and then it was my turn.

    "The U.S. Army newspaper," I said in answer to his hesitating question, "The Stars and Stripes." Next man was Homer.

    "How . . . how . . . are . . . are ya . . . ya . . . you?" the king said to Homer and moved on.

    Later, Homer, who always put everyone listening to him at ease with his sense of humor, said, "It's a ga . . . it's a ga . . . god-damn . . . good thing, ta too. There cacould . . . ha . . . have . . . ba been . . . an inter . . .international . . . in . . . incident."

    return to Lighter Side index



    The "s"-word - from Vicki Schutter

    Here is something that happened to me the other day while I was having a brewski at Ron's Pub. I got to talking to this person (no, I wasn't trying to pick anybody up!), and he speculated that I was in my middle twenties. (Hey, it was dark in there!) I told him I am 46, and he expressed surprise, and I said, "I guess I just have good genes. It's certainly not the way I live. I probably drink too much, I eat red meat, and I don't get enough s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sleep." The guy was sitting there looking at me with wide eyes until I finally got out "sleep," and then he burst out laughing. He apologized for laughing but said he thought I was going to say something else.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Making an appointment

    Many years ago I accompanied my friend, who stuttered, to a medical clinic. The medical secretary asked him his name when he declared he had an appointment. His response was - MMMMMMMMark Mil Mil Mil Mil Miller. The secretary then said with a smile - Do you mind if I shorten it to Mark Miller?

    return to Lighter Side index



    An extra on the movie set - from Jim Mollin

    This story is true.I have been a stutterer all my life. I am a music teacher during the year in a public school. During the summer I work as a movie extra.On the Samuel L. Jackson movie The Negotiator I played an executive in the office building where Jackson takes his hostages. All of us had to run out the building when we hear a gunshot. We ran out and outside were tv stations and a swat team. One of the tv stations wanted eyewitnesses to speak over the monitor to be possibly seen in the movie. I volunteered. They asked me to sound frazzled and nervous and they would ask me about what happened in the building when we heard the shot. I was so nervous my stuttering was terrible . This might be in a movie and I was really scared. I could hardly talk when they asked me questions.They thought I was being a wonderful actor acting frazzled .As I was stuttering the production crew was saying how convincing I was and they did a second taping asking me to fake the stutter again. It was really effective.The second time I was a little more fluent but stuttered plenty. They congragulated me again. None of the tapes were used by the director but I did tell the ones that taped me that that was the way I really talked. They got a huge laugh out of that.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Priceline - from Ira Zimmerman

    I checked into a Marriott Renaissance Hotel. Priceline.com had accepted my bid of $25/night for a room that was going for $160 that night. While I was there, I checked the room TV for my account status. I was somewhat disturbed to see my name spelled as follows:

    ZZZimmerman/Ira

    It appeared to me that they were mocking my stuttering. I called the hotel manager to protest. The hotel manager said that this was an accounting procedure to let them know that I was a Priceline.com customer and that they have to bill Priceline for my stay at the hotel. All Priceline customers get a "ZZ" added to the front of their name.

    We both had a big laugh over the misunderstanding.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Anna Kournikove - from Brian Howell

    I've recently installed an action photo of the lovely and well-endowed tennis player, Anna Kournikove as wallpaper on my desktop computer in the office. One of my best looking young female colleagues, a really charming young lady, caught a glimpse of Anna and said something along the lines of, 'I don't know, sexy Anna Kournikova on your computer...' Being a humorous guy I was quick to retort with a joke, 'It's only because I like tttttttt.......tennis'. My charming friend was even quicker to come back with, 'I thought you were going to say" um, something else. . . .

    return to Lighter Side index



    Timed tests - from William McGee

    Today I gave my class a timed test, and with 30 seconds left, I said, "You have 30 seconds left." However, I stuttered on 30, so by the time I finished saying what I had wanted to say, the second hand on my stop watch had passed the "30" and was nearing the "40." So, I then added (perfectly fluently, too), "Well, actually now it's more like 21 seconds." My 8th graders got a kick out of that.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Talking 'Bout My G-G-G-Generation - by Jim Abbott

    Last night we had 13 people at our chapter monthly dinner meeting. The dinner was held at a local pizzeria/restaurant/bar. Usually the place is empty so we don't bother making reservations. There's always plenty of room so we meet in the restaurant portion,where it's a little bit quieter for us to talk. Well last night it wasn't so empty, so we were stuck in the bar, not too far from the band stage. While we have heard bands playing in the past, we never paid them much mind as we were always far removed. About a half an hour into their set, the band broke into that old Bill Withers song "Ain't No Sunshine". There's that part in the song where it goes "I know, I know, I know , I know etc..."( repeating those words some 17 times); and we joked at the table about how the singer had a real stuttering problem. One of our members had NSA business cards with him. I mentioned that we should give one to lead singer as perhaps the NSA could help him with his problem. I was only kidding about doing it, however, one of our members was dead dog serious about it. So I gave him the card, and after the band did one last "I know, I know, etc.." and finished the song, he walked up and handed them the card. Our table was roaring, the band cracked up and they then broke into a quick version of The Who's " Talking Bout My G-G-G-Generation". What a hoot that was. I think that being a part of a support group empowers us in some ways. I seriously doubt if any of us would have done what our member did before finding our chapter and the NSA. For that matter, before finding each other, how many of us could have sat there and poked fun at ourselves? We felt perfectly at ease, sitting there, laughing, exposing our stuttered speech for all the world ( well, at least the corner of that particular bar ) to hear. It was glorious.

    return to Lighter Side index



    L-o-n-g convention speeches - from Jim McClure

    At the Buffalo convention, the NSA folks kind of took over a bar across from the hotel. The place was jumping during happy hour, and a couple of us wound up next to a couple of local guys at the bar. One of the locals noticed our nametags and asked us what kind of convention we were attending. "It's a convention for people who stutter," I said. The guy gave me a funny look. "Yes, we all stutter," I said, gesturing toward the crowd of NSA'ers whooping it up. The guy still looked confused. So I leaned in confidentially and said, "It's actually a short program, but we schedule our convention for three days because it takes us l-l-longer to make our speeches."

    return to Lighter Side index



    Not When I Sing - from Russ Hicks

    I have a speech on stuttering that I give where I do some demonstrations and wind up singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. As I sing (and yes, it's as horrible as you think! - but fluent!), I do a slow "strip tease" where I take off my suit coat, tie, unbutton my shirt, and finally rip it off revealing a tee shirt which reads...

    NO DAMMIT!

    I DON'T STUTTER WHEN I SING!

    The effect (and relief!) on the audience is electric! Not many old fat men ever get to do a strip tease in front of generally professional audience and the looks on the faces of the women is - as Master Card says - is "priceless!" But you talk about driving the point home! People have come up to me years later and laughed, "You don't stutter when you sing, do you?" I can't tell you how valuable that tee shirt has been for me and the message I want to convey.

    return to Lighter Side index



    p p p p p p pie - from Julie Davis in Australia

    My husband and I have been married for over twenty years and he has always allowed me the space I needed when I have stuttered and generally just been very accepting and supportive of the whole stuttering deal. There is however one time that I remember with much mirth concerning my stuttering. It was soon after our wedding and we were on our honeymoon. One day while out shopping we stopped in a Cafe to get some lunch. My husband asked me to please get him a pie. So I approached the counter and said "May I please have a p p p p p pie?". I had not paid any attention to the fact that I had stuttered until I looked at my husband who had an exhausted look on his face. I asked him what the matter was and he said "Gee I thought I was going to end up with six pies!"

    return to Lighter Side index



    "O-O-O--Only when I speak!" - Elankulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad

    Included in a cover story about stuttering that appeared May 20, 2001 is the following incident: An Indian politician, who died in 1998, Elankulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad was interviewed by a reporter, Marvin Sim of Time magazine, during a trip to Delhi in 1965. The Kerala leader was asked "Mr Namboodiripad, do you always stammer?" The communist firebrand replied without batting an eyelid: "O-O-O--Only when I speak!"

    return to Lighter Side index



    "Two stories" - Kim Howland

    This is actually two stories about my ambulance partner Fred and his wife Peggy. He was an incredibly gifted tease and practical joker. She always endured it all with grace and patience. Fred and I worked the graveyard shift. Nighttime was the apparent troubling time for Boones Farm and Sterno abusing, malingering, repeat customer Johnny Johnson, a brittle stutterer. About twice a week, and we were on duty, when Johnny called with some new, creative and life-threatening complaint, since I stuttered, Fred would prevail on our dispatcher to send us out, so I could amuse Fred, trying to patiently get the most recent verbal history and exam of our most regular customer. Fred was never really unkind, just persistent. And our practical jokes on each other were pretty much equal in intensity and frequency. We took it all in the spirit of male-bounding, I guess. Peggy, however, was always kind of embarassed how relentless he was. She always went out of her way to make me comfortable and would never, ever think of commenting on my stuttering. Except once. The second Christmas I knew them, they hosted the holiday party for all the EMTs and Paramedics. Most of us got deliciously stuffed and tipsy. Typically, more and more of us lingered around the punch bowl in the kitchen as the evening progressed. Peggy and I were standing against the sink among our friends when, giddy and with bloodshot eyes and near the end of her evening before she crashed in bed, she asked me, no doubt to the utter surprise of our friends and Fred, "I've always wondered, Kim... when you order a tuna fish sandwich, do you get one or two?" Kim Howland

    return to Lighter Side index



    "Phoning for a Date" - Tim

    While I was dating my wife, I would call her on the phone and usually I would have trouble getting the first word out and she would say, hi Tim, then I would say "how did you know it was me?"

    return to Lighter Side index



    Your Name is What?! - John Wade - May 22, 2003. (rated PG)

    return to Lighter Side index



    A Stuttering Contest - Dan Kremer - May 30, 2003.

    My grandmother is known for spoonerisms and getting her words mixed up. Today, she meant to ask us "Are you going to the stuttering CONVENTION" but instead it came out "Are you going tothe stuttering CONTEST." return to Lighter Side index



    Turning a Deaf Ear - Bernie Weiner - November 4, 2003 (first posted to nsachap mailing list, 10/17/2003.

    Our department at work received an email stating that our new top level manager wanted to meet everybody in the departments that would be under her control. Naturally, my first thought was that I would have to do the dreaded "introduction thing." And naturally, I kind of fretted about it for two days. I'm getting better at that stuff, but it is still a nervous time. When I walked into the conference room, all of the seats around the table and the outside walls of the room were taken, except a seat right in front of our new manager. There were about 40 people in the room. So, there I was, first seat on the wall, left side. She talked a little about her goals and said we would get to know us better in the coming weeks. I thought that the meeting would end right there and she would let it go at that. I began to breathe a sigh of relief. But, NO WAY!! Out came those dreaded words, "let's go around the room and introduce yourselves." My heartbeat immediately shot up and those old feelings of dread began to surface. She asked who wanted to start, and up shot my hand immediately. If she would have started the other way, I probably would have hyperventilated by the time my turn came to introduce myself. And, here comes the funny part ( to me anyway). . . . . . . she said that she was totally deaf in her right ear and she sometimes has to READ LIPS. Well, that is where I saw my opening, and said, "You are going to have a hard time reading my lips, I stutter." The whole room cracked up, the pressure was off, and I said my name with just a tiny block on the "Bernie" part. I also told who I worked for, with another slight block, but at that point, it didn't matter. The pressure was totally off me. I got a laugh out of her. Now, she will know that I stutter when she talks to me about work stuff.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Dock Chocks - Jim Abbott - February 23, 2004 (edited post from Stutt-L, 2/20/04

    . I work the loading docks. One of my bosses came up to me towards the end of my shift, and told me she's ordering a bunch of junk for the shipping department, including some new "chalks" for the dock. She meant to say was that she was going to order some new dock "chocks" which are metal or rubber wedges, used to jam under tractor trailer tires to prevent them from "walking" away from the dock as a truck is being loaded. Feeling spunky I decided to "give her the business." I reached around her, and grabbed a couple pieces of railroad marking chalk that I keep on a shelf in my work area. I held them up and told her, in a phony, slightly confused manner "Darlene, we've got plenty of chalk." She replied, "No, you know, the things to block truck tires with." I then said, "You mean", and made a motion with my hands of jamming something under something else. She said "Yeah, well, how would you say it?" I then replied "Well, I'd probably say it like this, d____d____d___dock ch-ch-chocks" (pause for effect) "but that's just me." It took her a few seconds for what I had just said to register, then we both had a good laugh over it.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Snap - Alan Badmington - added March 1, 2004

    . There was one card game in which I always came second best. My siblings and friendstook the spoils as I struggled to say "S-s-s-s-s-s-s...nap!"

    return to Lighter Side index



    Henry Carleton - One of many anecdotes about stuttering from Anecdotabe.com (search "stuttering") - added September 1, 2005

    . Henry Carleton had a sense of humor about his famous affliction. Greeting the comedian Nat Goodwin one day, Carleton asked him, "G-G-Goodwin, c-c-can you sp-p-pare m-m-me f-f-fifteen m-m-minutes?" "Certainly, what is it?" Goodwin asked. Carleton's reply? "I w-w-want f-f-five m-m-minutes' c-c-conversation w-w-with you Carleton, Henry Guy (1856-1910) American playwright

    return to Lighter Side index



    A positive effect of stuttering from Dale Williams - added February 17, 2006

    . Way back when I was a master's student, a teen in the university clinic responded to a question about any "positive effects" stuttering had had on his life with, "Well, when the rest of the class has to come up with a 6 minute speech, I only have to think up a 3 minute speech."

    return to Lighter Side index



    Double or Nothing Jack Welch - added February 24, 2006

    . "I grew up in a middle class family with a speech impediment, a stammer that wouldn't go away. Sometimes it led to comical or embarrassing, incidents. In college, I often ordered a tuna fish on white toast. Inevitably, the waitress would return with not one but a pair of sandwiches, having heard my order as 'tu-tuna sandwiches.' (from www.fullerton.edu/ccws/profiles/ site)

    return to Lighter Side index



    Mr. Itsum Alan Badmington - added December 20, 2006

    Several years ago, I was using the telephone when the person on the other end requested my name. I replied, "It's um, it's um".......followed by a silent block.

    "Good morning, Mr Itsum......" was the immediate response.

    return to Lighter Side index



    Lylynda Lynda Voigt - added June 25, 2007

    I donated money to an organization over the phone a few months ago. Now I'm getting mail for "Lylynda Voigt". Hmm-wonder how they came up with that spelling for my first name! :-)

    return to Lighter Side index



    The Balshezzar Gooblstone Story by Paul Goldstein - added June 25, 2007

    return to Lighter Side index



    An Urdu Couplet from satyendra kumar srivastava - added March 22, 2008

    Urdu poetry is famous for conveying finer nuances of love. But it has its funny side as well. Many years ago, a friend shared this Urdu couplet:

    Which is translated:

    Then, of course, I did not find it exceptionally funny but now as I and my partner are growing older, I think it is really amusing. I am stuttering more openly now. And she is going deaf in one ear. I have to repeat things thrice because of my stutter and then, she would make me repeat it another three times with her- "Did you say something, dear?"

    But sometimes, just to communicate we have to come physically close: she has to look at my mouth and I have to hunt for her good ear!

    return to Lighter Side index



    Deleting Data - from Doug Hendricks - added December 7, 2008

    My brother and I both stutter. Years ago when he got his first computer, his wife and he were trying to delete some data. This was when you had to use DOS and actually know how to type the right command. He was reading the instructions from the book and his wife was punching the keys per his instructions. All of a sudden he realized that with the command he told her to type they were about to format the hard drive. That's not what they wanted to do. But, by the time he yelled "s,s,s,s,s,stop," she'd already punched the last keystroke. She asked him why didn't you stop me and he said "I tried". They took the computer to a repair center.

    return to Lighter Side index


    Wrong Meeting - from Lucy Reed - added January 25, 2009

    A few years ago at one of our NSA meetings a man and a woman walked in and sat down just as we had begun going around the room introducing ourselves and 'checking in'. There were probably 10 or 12 of us PWS there and it took quite some time with all of stuttering. and believe me, we were stuttering! The couple had sat patiently watching and waiting for the 30 or so minutes it took us to finish. When we were finally finished we asked the couple how they had found out about our meeting. The man hesitantly replied that they had searched in the newspaper for an AA meeting and found this one. We all looked at them with puzzled expressions and the man said "Wrong meeting?" We shook our heads "Yes, wrong meeting." They got up and quickly left. The room exploded into side-splitting laughter as we wondered what they thought about what they had just experienced. A very, very funny stuttering experience for us as we laughed at ourselves!

    return to Lighter Side index


    Jack? - from Bernie Weiner - added January 25, 2009

    At the NSA conference in Anaheim I was at a theme park with several NSA members where there is (or was) a E.T. ride that took you into space and to the home of E.T. Before getting on the ride, each person had to say his or her name to the alien looking thing standing there. You can just imagined how that affected all the stutterers who were standing in that line. I know for sure that quite a few of us lied to E.T. about our names. We didn't want to hold up hundreds of people stuttering on our name. I still remember E.T. saying "goodbye Jack" to me as I got off the ride. My wife couldn't stop laughing.

    Also, at that same conference, a bunch of us decided to go to a restaurant called Buca DenBeppo. We had no reservations, but a group of about 25 people walked into that restaurant. The hostess said she could seat us, but she would need a name so we could be called when the tables were ready. Man, you never saw TWENTY FOUR people take two steps backwards so fast in your life , leaving me standing there to give my name. That just cracked me up. And yes, that time I did give my right name.

    return to Lighter Side index


    Living in the USA - from Howard D - added January 25, 2009

    During the Buffalo conference, a busload of us when up to Canada. When we got to the border upon our return to the US, an immigration officer came onboard the bus. In a less than friendly, and far too authoritarian tone, he told us that all he needed to know from each of us was our country of citizenship. He then proceeded down the aisle, stopping at each row of seats, and pointing to each person. "Citizenship?" he said, as he pointed at each person. Talk about performance anxiety! The first couple of "U...U...U...S's" seemed to go over his head, but after a few more, he started getting suspicious, curious, and concerned. Finally, someone explained to him who we were, and he relaxed. But it was one of the funniest stuttering experiences of my life.

    return to Lighter Side index


    The Stuttering WHAT? - from Anita Blom - added January 25, 2009

    My most embarrassing story is still valid: I have a problem with the A (of course, as my name starts with an A) and can still say ' Hi, I represent the stuttering Ass-ass-association'.

    return to Lighter Side index


    My Lincoln Town Car - from Pam Mertz - added July 15, 2009

    I took my partner's car instead of my own over to my mom's house one afternoon. Her next door neighbors were walking into the house as I was getting out of the car. This is a really nice car, nothing like my beat up one. It's a Lincoln Town Car, really big and snazzy. Anyway, the guy yells "whoa, where'd you get the car? Moving up a little, huh?" I replied,"No, it's my hus-hus-hus-husband's car." Guy says, "How many husbands do you have? We won't tell!" and laughed.

    I was actually kind of embarassed and just hurried on into my mothers house. But when I thought about it later, I kind of laughed. I told a friend the next day, and she burst out laughing. She thought it was hysterical. She laughed so hard I started laughing, until we both had tears. Several years ago, I would never have told this stroy. Now, I can lighten up a bit and see the humor in some stuttering situations.

    return to Lighter Side index


    Training school children about sexual harassment - from Pam Mertz - added September 27, 2009

    Part of my job is to train students in my school on sexual harassment prevention. Its a big job for one person. There're about 500 students in the building. The only way one person can get this done is class by class, so a whole bunch of presentations. So I am talking to kids about negative sexual attention all day. And kids get giggly when we talk about this! Sometimes I have trouble with "s" words, which sex and sexual both begin with. And it would be stupid to try and substitute those words - it just wouldn't make any sense. Yesterday, I was having a stuttery day and "sexual" was not easy to say. Some kids were giggling as I stuttered on the word. It was coming out "se-se-se-se-sex-u-u-ual." One kid shouted, "Don't worry miss, no need to get nervous about saying sex. We know even older people have it." Whoa, even I had to laugh at that one! The whole class did. We were laughing together, and it was OK.

    return to Lighter Side index


    Cold enough for you? - from John Paskievich - added November 24, 2010

    Many times I've gone into a coffee shop on a cold Canadian prairie winter day and ordered a "small ccoffee with ttttwo creams and nnno sugar" and the person behind the counter said "Cold enough for you?" or something similar. (It's -19 C or 0 F as I write this)

    return to Lighter Side index


    Night before exams! submitted by Dhruva Kathuria from India, July 2, 2011

    A night before exams I went to the college market to buy something. When I started to say the name,I blocked very very severely and started jerking my head and shaking my whole body in an effort to get the word out. After giving me the item the shopkeeper said "I can't believe you are drunk even during exams. Try to not to drink alcohol at least during examinations." I smiled and said, "O will keep that in mind!"

    return to Lighter Side index


    Giving Directions submitted by Dhruva Kathuria from India, July 2, 2011.

    Once me and my friend were going somewhere in his car and I was giving directions. Now at a junction I thought I had to turn left so I started stammering L-L-L but then I realized we actually had to go right. So what came out was "L-L-L- Right." My friend replied, "Dude !!!! At least stammer Grammatically!" It was the first time I just couldn't control my laughter and seeing me laugh my friend also started laughing uncontrollably. He had to stop the car as we just couldnt control ourselves."

    return to Lighter Side index


    Return to Homepage Index web weaver Judy Kuster