Apr 012015
 

I am not a fan of the valediction “Respectfully.” In fact, I don’t much like it at all. Never have.

It seems to me that “respectfully,” more so than any other common complimentary close, calls attention to all of the other ways the writer could be. Every time I read correspondence that ends “Respectfully,” the subtext I get is “yeah, right now I am, but I’ll jettison such regard without hesitation should I find it sufficiently inconvenient.” It feels like an ordinarily rotten urchin making way too big a deal of the fact that he managed to get through a meal or a play date acceptably, when his behavior has only been what should be status quo.

I don’t get that with “Thanks,” “Regards,” or even “Best.” Is it me?

Of course, we’re generally signing and reading email these days, not actual letters. Mrs. Thagard went over “Sincerely,” “Yours truly,” and such when I was in the fourth grade, and those would seem stilted on electronic communication.

I tend toward “Thanks” or no valediction at all, with “Regards” and “Best” reserved for people I don’t know (or don’t know well). What do you use? Do you have any prejudices or notions, like mine about “Respectfully”?

Respectfully,
Bo

 Posted by at 10:25 am
Mar 222015
 

I have a speech impediment. I’ve been a stutterer for at least 35 years. (I say it that way because I don’t remember exactly when it started. However, the earliest memory I have of it is in the fourth grade.)

You may have known me for quite a long time and not known about it. Most of the time—really, nearly always—I have no problem with it. A speech pathologist in Anniston named Elizabeth Yarbrough helped me tremendously. (A casual Binging indicates she’s still around and practicing. Perhaps I’ll look her up. Send a thank-you note, anyway.)

Sometimes my stutter recurs when I’m tired. More reliably, it recurs when I have to say something exactly.

For example, sometimes I stutter saying “Hello?” when I answer the telephone, because you pretty much have to say that. Another time I’ve had a bit of trouble in the past is reading in church, which I’m occasionally asked to do. I read from a paper in my hand, but the congregation reads along on the screen behind me. So my opportunities for improvisation are rather limited.

wickedservant

Parable of the Wicked Servant, ca. 1620, by Domenico Fetti (1588-1623)

I read this morning from Matthew 18—specifically, the parable of the unforgiving servant. I stuttered only once. It was quite brief—well under one second—and I’m certain no one noticed but me.

A few minutes later I went out to refill my coffee and one of the guitar players in the praise band asked if he could talk to me. He said I had blessed him and his son and I never realized it.

When I asked him how, he told me he and his son had been present several years ago when I’d had a lot more trouble reading in church. (When it happens, there’s nothing to do but work through it as best I can. Stressing about it makes it much worse.) I’m sure I smiled through it, offered a brief apology, and continued.

He told me his son has trouble with his speech sometimes, and that I had been really encouraging to him just getting up and speaking like that, knowing what might happen.

Now I’d still rather not have the problem at all. Once in a great while it really bothers me. Last year I was promoting this event in a radio interview and stuttered fairly severely, to the point that the DJ had to cover for me. It was all really quick and a much bigger deal in my head than it was in actuality. Still, you know?

But I felt wonderful this morning learning that I’d helped a young man get a little further in making his peace with such a torment. My friend, you certainly blessed me right back telling me about it. Thank you.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Mar 132015
 

I’ve had some long days this week trying to compensate for winter weather absences, so I’m particularly happy to have The Martian as the only item on my to-do list for the next 14 or so hours. Finish a riveting book, and then sleep in? I’ll take it. Awesome. Listen to our broadcast Sunday night. […]

 Posted by at 8:17 pm
Mar 032015
 

Kids are epically dumb sometimes. Of course, that’s practically a tautology. And, as parents, meliorating said dumbness as best we can is a significant part of the gig. Which brings me to this afternoon. My beloved firstborn texted me a not-nice something that is making the rounds on the Internet. It’s an abbreviation for a […]

 Posted by at 7:37 pm
Feb 242015
 

Saintseester and I have long laughed at The Weather Channel’s ridiculous practice of naming winter storms, because a) the names aren’t necessary; and b) absolutely no one uses them. ‘Seester had the awesome idea of naming them after breakfast cereals. So, we’re expecting Winter Storm Cheerios tomorrow. You see kids, hurricanes need names because they […]

 Posted by at 7:37 pm

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