Lisp? What lisp? I don’t hear any lisp.

Not too long ago, I posted a bit of a rant about my in-laws and how they have come to believe that my daughters have permanent lisps and how my homeschooling them will be detrimental because I am not addressing these lisps. And my dear blogging-buddy Katherine posted a recommendation to read Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris. And because Katherine is so awesome and brilliant, I took her advice and picked up a copy of the book on one of my many escapes excursions to my local bookstore.

And I’m very glad that I own this book. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a series of hilarious essays on various topics, the first of which addresses his childhood lisp and how the school system handled it by marking him as a Special Needs Case and forcing him to spend time with the school’s speech therapist. Here’s an excellent passage:

My therapy sessions were scheduled for every Thursday at 2:30, and with the exception of my mother, I discussed them with no one. The word therapy suggested a profound failure on my part. Mental patients had therapy. Normal people did not. I didn’t see my sessions as the sort of thing that one would want to advertise, but as my teacher liked to say, “I guess it takes all kinds.” Whereas my goal was to keep it a secret, hers was to inform the entire class. If I got up from my seat at 2:25, she’d say, “Sit back down, David. You’ve still got five minutes before your speech therapy session.” If I remained seated until 2:27, she’d say, “David, don’t forget you have a speech therapy session at two-thirty.” On the days I was absent, I imagined she addressed the room, saying, “David’s not here today but if he were, he’d have a speech therapy session at two-thirty.” [page 8]

Funny, yes, but also an achingly accurate assessment of how children are commonly treated without respect in classroom situations. How quickly they are typed, classified, segregated, and humiliated by their teachers, and consequently by their peers.

That’s pretty much the only essay related to American public education. The rest of them range from a seriously hysterical situation he finds himself in while using the bathroom at a friend’s house for a dinner party to the adventures of moving to France and learning the language, to his father’s very bizarre hoarding habits.

If you haven’t read this one yet, then by all means, run on out and find a copy soon. It’s a keeper.

Many thanks to Katherine for the recommendation.

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8 Responses to “Lisp? What lisp? I don’t hear any lisp.”


  1. 1 Karisma July 19, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Well I am one of those people who would have probably told you to boycott the speech therapy! Mainly because lots of toddlers and little ones have varying speech impediments! 99% of them grow out of it on their own! Its perfectly normal!

    I once babysat a little boy who was 3 and the clinic nurse popped by to check on my new baby at the time and noted that this three year old was delayed in speech. I relayed the concerns to his mum but then advised her to let him be. No wonder so many kids who do need help cannot get it! The child was speaking normally by the time he went to school.

    I would only be concerned if their hearing was causing it or some other physical disability that needed sorting out. All kids have quirky little speech problems. Sometimes its just best left alone.

  2. 2 Maria July 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Oh, I do so LOVE David Sedaris. I saw him live once and almost wet my pants I laughed so hard. Dry, wry, intelligent, true and tinged with nostalgic melancholy. That must be how we like our humor.

    Sadly I remember school being like that. I remember when my daughter was in kindergarten they tried hard NOT to stereotype or draw attention to those that were different or in different classes. I had to wonder how long that would last….until the mob mentality started picking on the “different” one. It’s the system that needs to be changed.

    Lithp on, little ones! Age and your new teeth will be taking care of those little things that make you who you are soon enough. And don’t forget to call Great RegularAunt at LEAST a couple times a week so she can hear your precious voices! It’ll drive her crazy and make your RegularMom very very happy…in a evil sort of way.

  3. 3 Katherine July 19, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I’m glad you liked it. I can laugh, sitting here right now, remembering some of the passages. He grew up in the house across the street from a friend of mine. His dad still lives there and his brother, Paul aka “Silly P,” still works in Raleigh doing floors. A couple of months ago my husband was at a traffic light when a man in a white pickup pulled in next to him with “Silly P’s flooring” on the door. Joe said he really is small as a quail. Mostly I’m glad you read it because its so of me and my life and my home. That “Raleigh accent soft and beautifully cadenced” and the “marble mouthed fishermen casting their nets into Albemarle Sound” all of that is my home. So now I feel like you’ve had a little visit. 🙂 Kinda silly I know, but still. Did you laugh when they shot the pig? I hate to admit it. But I laughed in perfect horror and at the juxtaposition of life in our schools here vs there.

    Plus, omg, the man is just so funny. Have you heard him sing like Billy Holiday? o-m-g! Or how about his mother leaving little bottles of liquor and cartons of cigs with new lighters in their Easter Baskets…

  4. 4 Katherine July 19, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5066175

    What am I, like, his publicist or something? wtf? And what’s up with the three little letter communication – tllc? Oops that’s four…

  5. 5 RegularMom July 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    LOL!

    You know… I did laugh when they shot the pig. I totally did. 🙂

    And now everyone who hasn’t read the book yet is all like: They shot a PIG??????? And it was FUNNY???????

    Yes. It was. Very funny.

    And Katherine, wow, you just about KNOW him! Ya know, for a few years as a kid, I lived down the road from Jacqueline Kenneday O’Nassis. I’d much rather have lived across the street from the Sedaris family. 🙂

  6. 6 Mom #1 July 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    You and Katherine are so funny! Can anyone comment or is this just the RegularMom & Katharine show? 😉

    Katharine has recommended a couple of great books to me too, she really is a great girl, and so well read.

    I love the way little kids mispronounce everything. It’s so charming and sweet and unique to the shapes of their individual little mouths. Don’t therapy them out, let them be. In fact be sure to get lots and lots of it on videotape so you can torment them with it when they are older, LOL.

  7. 7 RegularMom July 20, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Mom #1, you are too funny! And by the way, I love going to your blog, because you always sign out with SMOOTCHES. I love that. It totally brightens my day. 🙂

  8. 8 RegularSis July 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Would post more but have to go buy a David Sedaris book so I can find out how shooting a pig could be funny. Queue the theme music from Mission Impossible please.

    = )

    xo
    RegSis


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