Stutter

I love this:

One of his aides gingerly asked whether I’d noticed the former vice president stutter during the debate. Of course I had—I stutter, far worse than Biden. The aide said he was ready to talk about it. Recently, after Biden stumbled multiple times during the Atlanta debate, the topic became even more relevant.

The Atlantic

I love learning more about people’s disabilities and personal challenges — you know, the things that give them flavor, character, and make them much more human and palatable and approachable.

I stutter quite a bit when I’m flustered or anxious; thankfully, most folks haven’t had the pleasure of hearing me talk that way. But, my family is well-aware of what it’s really like.

It doesn’t sound pretty. Even worse is the fact that I can’t control it and that there isn’t much I can do to stop (or continue…?) it.

This story, though:

After trying and failing at speech therapy in kinder­garten, Biden waged a personal war on his stutter in his bedroom as a young teen. He’d hold a flashlight to his face in front of his bedroom mirror and recite Yeats and Emerson with attention to rhythm, searching for that elusive control. He still knows the lines by heart: “Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views, which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books.”

Biden performs the passage for me with total fluency, knowing where and when to pause, knowing how many words he can say before needing a breath. This is what stutterers learn to do: reclaim control of their airflow; think in full phrases, not individual words. I ask Biden what his moment of dread used to be in that essay.

“Well, looking back on it, ‘Meek young men grow up in li-li-libraries,’ ” he begins again. “ ‘Li’—the l.”

I’ve done similar things.

I like when people become more real. I think that’s a good thing.

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