When I was young, kids picked on me. It figures; I lisped and enjoyed reading French philosophers. To cope, I made up Snickers: a deathray-shooting flying tiger who devoured bullies and spat out candy.
Eventually I outgrew Snickers, but not the bullies.
Years later, I joined the Navy and got my first submarine assignment. On my first day underwater, the red alert sounded. I rushed to my station just in time to witness my jackass commanding officer disappearing down the maw of Snickers!
“Thnickerth!” I shouted. “What giveth?”
Spraying a hail of gumdrops, Snickers roared, “I SINK, THEREFORE I AM!”
I know, I know. That was a terrible pun, wasn’t it? But did it make you… snicker?
A lalopathy is a general term for any speech disorder. I’m thrilled to feature this word today as it’s the first word that falls in my area of specialty. The narrator’s speech disorder results in a mix-up that brings his ridiculously absurd imaginary friend to life in adulthood. It’s a good thing he imagined something small enough to fit on a submarine, or there’d be a whole different set of problems!
One of the reasons I love my little corner of science is that our speech has such a profound ability to make or break communication. Normal speech promotes understanding; abnormal speech interrupts understanding. But maybe on the rare occasion, a little misunderstanding could be a good thing. Like when the bullies come after you.
And then, beware of Snickers!
Did you have an imaginary friend when you were a kid? Does said friend ever visit in your old age?