Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's a Wonder I Can Think at All

Another recycled picture of me. Sorry, I don't have all that many kid pics of myself, so I have to use the same ones over again.

So, hey. I finally got my XBox back from the shop and it seems to be working just fine again. Stinky worked on her carpal tunnel by playing Guitar Hero for way too long, and I figured out how to reset it so it would work with my wireless router. I'm awesome. Anyway, it seemed like a good night to steal a post from my old blog. So, here goes:

When I was in 4th grade, I was desperately trying to get diagnosed with a learning disability. Both my brother and my sister supposedly had one and they got to see Mrs. Sanchez. She was a big proponent of positive reinforcement, so my siblings were constantly coming home with super balls, candy and best of all, stories about their lunches at McDonald's. Back in 1974, you were still allowed to use food as a reward. My plan was to get diagnosed, have my class in Mrs. Sanchez's room and then be so good that I used up her entire budget on McDonald's lunches every week. The school indulged me a couple of times, but the third time I asked to take the test that should have led me down my Mccheeseburger path, I was denied.

I don't remember specifics, but I think the principal sounded like this; "Listen kid. You don't have a learning disability and you're not gonna get one by taking the tests over and over. So, scram." Actually, it was the seventies and we lived in Mesa so I'm sure he spoke less like Nick the bartender from It's A Wonderful Life and more like a progressive Mormon worried about my self-esteem.

What I lacked in a learning disability, I made up for in a speech impediment. I had a lisp up until that year. Lisps are adorable until you reach that awkward age and unless you're moving to Barcelona, you want to try to lose it and fast. Which meant I had to meet with a speech therapist. Unfortunately, she was no Mrs. Sanchez. She was so boring, I don't even remember her name. I sat in her room and recited, "Sammy snake, Sammy snake, Sammy snake..." into a tape recorder.

I know I can't make it through a post without mentioning my short attention span, so I figured I'd bring it up again. Sitting down for very long is difficult for me as an adult, but as a nine year old, it was torture. Finally, one day my teacher went out and left me to my recitation so she could smoke a ciggie in the hallway and chat with some of the other teachers. I continued on and she told me she would listen to it later. Halfway through, I belched very loudly into the microphone. I felt so rebellious. But instead of listening to the tape later, my speech therapist came back early and decided to go over it with me. I couldn't look at her as the tape rolled on. "Sammy snake. Sammy snake. Sammy snake. Bwaaap! Sammy snake..." My teacher was sufficently horrified.

"Chur-LEE-ta!" I was so busted. I didn't even laugh uncomfortably like I normally do in awkward situations.

"I'm sorry, but it was soooo boring." She wasn't sympathetic. She was, in fact, very annoyed for the duration of our classes together. I once heard her relating the incident to another teacher when they were standing outside the door. The other teacher said,

"I guess there's one in every bunch..."

The good news is, that I lost my lisp that year. Maybe the therapist had a plan all along. Her strategy was to bore the lisp right out of me. And now I don't even have to consciously think to put my tongue behind my teeth when I say Sammy snake. Which is good, because you know how often I'm always talking about Sammy snake.


Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

We weren't given food as a reward.. we would get a simple pat on the back.. I was pretty self-conscious as a kid about lots of things and had very low self-esteem.. You made it out that phase and have moved on to bigger and better things.. But I'm surprised the speech therapist didn't teach you a couple of tongue twisters..

Susan said...

I still have a slight lisp that comes out more when I drink so that's basically 3/4 of my life. I'm from the south, though, so I tend to be able to cover it up with some cute southern accent thing and pretend I'm making up my own words.

By the by, those are some kick ass earrings.

stepping over the junk said...

I lisp when I'm tired. (or drunk). I love it when my kids lisp a little. It is getting less and less but cute when it happens. I used to love the nurses office because I could see how the waves were doing down at the beach

Cricket said...

Sure, she says. Sammy Snake slithered south.

NoRegrets said...

I stole your idea and posted some things from my old blog...

I love the dress in the photo!

laura b. said...

haha! I like little Churlita :-)

My sister had that cute speech thing were "r" sounds more like "w". I tried to cultivate a lisp or something cute, but then I'd forget and just talk boring and normal again.

DJSassafrass said...

So you are the one in the bunch? I have always secretly wanted to go back to school to be a speech therapist. But maybe not--they sound uncool. i would have laughed (and who are we kidding? i would have dealt out the high fives!)

Not Fainthearted said...

I've always secretly wished I could belch on command. I spent way too many years trying to be lady-like. What a waste. Now when I belch I laugh at myself and it embarrasses the boys something fierce. So it's a win-win for me.

MrManuel said...

Boring, but she must have been doing something right I guess...

Remiman said...

Sometimes a lisp can be attrctive.
Often times teachers don't get it.

sissy said...

what makes those earrings even more cool is that Snoopy is sleeping on top of the "T". I was so jelous because I loved Snoopy but I couldn't wear them because it had a T and not an M. You had all the cool gear. NOT FAIR!!

Tera said...

"When I was in 4th grade, I was desperately trying to get diagnosed with a learning disability."

Bwahahahaahha! That's the first time I've heard of someone doing that! Okay...but seriously...

Cute pic...somehow you remind me of Jan, Marsha, or Cindy!

Churlita said...


I'm sure she did, but I'm sure I thought they were boring too.


If I had a cute Southern accent to go with it, I may have kept the lisp.


I miss my daughters' baby voices.


I think we said the "she sells seashells" bit too.


I loved your old blog post.

That dress cracks me up. Check out that collar.


That W's for r's thing is pretty damn cute.


Mine was uncool. I'm sure there are others who are awesome. High fives all around for sure.


I think my brother taught me how to swallow air so I could make myself belch on command. What are brothers for?


I guess it worked, huh?


I was old enough. It was time for mine to go.


I know. Those were my favorites. But as I recall, you got all the cool colored dresses and I got the boring dark blue and shit brown ones.

Churlita said...


Yeah. I'm sure you meant, Thindy.

dmarks said...

I love the Alfred E Neumann "What Me Worry" expression on the photo.

Tara said...

I had a teacher like Ms. Sanchez - she'd reward us with Starburst candy, Jolly Ranchers and peanuts.

That's great that you belched on the tape. You never know, she might have waited till she was out of ear shot and burst out laughing.

Churlita said...


I think I had an Alfred E Newman quality about me. it could have just been the reddish hair and freckles though.


I don't think so. I don't remember ever seeing her laugh.