Saturday, July 18, 2009

Foot in Mouth Disease, vol. 1

I say dumb things all the time, every day of my life. Sometimes they are minor -- I wish people "Good night" in broad daylight and accidentally say my private thoughts out loud. Sometimes they are spine-shiveringly bad -- someone once caught me giving myself a positive affirmation in the bathroom.*

By and large, though, these moments of misspeak usually amount to only a modest amount of moron tax. A little blushing here or there. A day or two spent avoiding the person who overheard. Over a lifetime, though, they do add up, so I thought it would be worthwhile to create a recurring post to digest some of the many stupid things that come out of my mouth.

1. I have, of course, committed the classic sin of addressing my current boyfriend by the name of my last boyfriend. He was not happy.

2. During an appearance at court, I repeatedly addressed the judge as "Sir." As anyone who watches Law & Order knows, you may only refer to a judge as "Your Honor." Each time that I said it I could feel everyone in the courtroom wince. Although I knew my mistake, the more I made it, the less able I was to stop myself.

3. At a dinner party, I repeated a story a friend had told me about a woman who had drunkenly dropped her pants so that men she did not know could draw their signatures on her butt. I later learned that the woman in that story was a guest at that dinner party. (This story still makes me want to curl up and die a little).

4. For my French conversation class, I had to record myself discussing my favorite foods, my favorite books, etc..and then submit that cassette to the teacher for grading. The day after I turned the cassette in, I realized that I had repeatedly mispronounced the phrase "J'aime" (I like) as "Je t'aime" (I love you). Good golly. The teacher gave me an "A" but could never look me in the eye again.

5. My misspeaking is not limited to verbal communications. In college I took a course in American Sign Language (ASL). The sign for the word "special" happens to be quite similar to the sign for "oral sex." I did not realize my mistake until the teaching assistant publicly corrected me.

*I had never before or since that incident made a positive affirmation. As anyone who knows me can tell you, self-laceration is more my style.


  1. My thoughts as a host: The woman at the dinner party in #3 should have said "That was ME!" and everyone would know she was fun.

  2. I've totally done my own version of #3 -- told an embarrassing story to the sister of the girl whose story it was, without realizing.

    And #5 is awesome. Too bad you didn't do it in some sort of live on television translation on PBS.