Growing up, I was one of those kids that had to slice out an hour or so a week from class in order for a Speech and Hearing Therapist to mold my tongue back into something more formidable to handle the English language. At first, the “special” time was such a thrill for me because my teacher permitted me to leave class and no one else could come. After a few weeks, disenchantment set in and I realized watching my tongue in a mirror as I spoke as many s-words in an hour as I could was not as much fun as finger painting or singing songs about a waltzing Matilda.
Apparently, the speech therapist knocked some of the th noises out of most of my s-words, but every so often, a soft lisp slips through my teeth because my tongue did not stay put. My most problematic phrase is actually speaking the full name of the company I work for because the word supply and services are awfully close in the title. If one was able to access my voice-mail and listen to the introductory message, that one would probably not assume it took my one hundred times to continually fudge the pronunciation into thupply and thervithethz. But regardless of how hard and slowly I worked that brutal letter through my mouth, it never once came back in the recording sounding normal, but more along the lines of someone speaking with a swollen tongue. All I constantly hear is the static of a poorly spoken recording in which I desperately tried to enunciate.
Dave has confessed that he loves my little speech impediment and I have witnessed the smile that creeps into the corners of his mouth every time he catches a th instead of an s in a word spoken from my mouth. I have found, however; through my entire experience speaking the language, people are much less keyed into the lisp than the awful Cleveland accent that graces every single a sound that passes through my lips. I am more than sure that future generations will benefit from my decision never to teach spoken English.