Friday, April 08, 2005

You say tomato, I say station wagon.

Although I live in the Midwest and haven't lived south of anything in millions of years, I am told that I have a southern accent. It used to annoy me a little, because I really didn't think I did.

I guess I'm going to have to admit it might be a possibility though, because lately either people are completely hard of hearing, or I am completely hard to understand.

A couple weeks ago a senior neighborhood lady asked if I would draw up wills for her and her husband. Before you run wake your kids to tell them I am a lawyer, you should know that in most states, it simply involves a computer program and a couple witnesses that aren't drunk. I am in possession of such a program.

So I show up at her door a few days later, laptop in hand, all set to do a good deed thereby securing some ocean front property in Heaven. Her husband answered the door.

"Hi there," I say. "Your wife asked me if I would come do your wills, so here I am."

His head tilted slightly to the side like a confused puppy dog. Thinking maybe he didn't hear me, I spoke louder.

"Your wife asked me if I would do your wills. I'M HEAR TO DO YOUR WILLS!"


"DO YOU SPEAK THE ENGLISH?" This time I yelled so loudly his toupee blew backward.

"I'm not hard of hearing, Dear. But, why would my wife ask you to do our wheels? What do you do to wheels anyway? This isn't some sort of gang thing is it?"

You see what I'm up against?

And it's not just older people that don't understand but about every third word I say, so I can't blame it on probable hearing loss.

Case in point. Several months ago now I hosted a business event. As some of the vendors were driving and flying in to attend, I planned a small dinner the night before as sort of a meet and greet. As you might imagine, I wanted to put my best foot forward. I very much needed to appear to be completely professional, which of course I am not.

During the course of conversation, I said something that I'm sure I thought was entirely clever. However, I noticed that the faces of my dinner guests looked more in shock than delighted at my cleverness.

Finally, one lady could take it no more. She burst into laughter and asked me if I had really just said that I tasted burnt panties.

Everyone in that room actually thought I said that I tasted burnt panties!

What did I really say? I have no earthly idea. I could have asked someone to pass the butter or I could have said I like pudding. Who the heck knows? All that matters is that a group of people that had previously believed I was capable of planning an important business event now thought I was the kind of person that has knowledge of what burnt panties taste like.

That can't be good. I think it's time to hire a diction coach.
You uns know whur I kin find wun uv em?

Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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Anonymous said...

Hello Sherri,

My name is Leticia and I saw your blog on Becca's blog. I was curious and popped right over. I married a man from the south and I had to get used to the accents.

Your story tickled me. Bless your heart, that must have so embarrassing. I think people just need to just deal with the accent it is who you are. I wouldn't change a thing.

You can visit me at my blog.

Sher said...

Thank you, Leticia. As you used the phrases, "bless your heart" and "tickled me", you should just accept the fact that you're on our side now. Your husband has sucked you in.


Dana said...

Hey Sherri!

Wonderful post. I've gotten to where I don't hear much of my accent anymore. My husband doesn't notice it, but most everywhere I go up here in IL, someone has to ask me where I'm from. Mostly they guess it's southern Indiana. LOL Then I have to really lay it on thick and say, "No, honey, I'm frum Ay-la-Bayma." I am deathly afraid of losing what accent I have, so as soon as someone reminds me, I act the part.

Cyndi said...

LOL I was born in Miss, live in Ay-la-Bayma now (lol Dana!) and I guess I'm just used to it. I guess I would be more aware of my Southerness if I was up North or somewhere not in the South. I get usually get "Sandy please" when I leave a message for someone. MY NAME IS NOT SANDY - IT'S CYNDI - CAN'T YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE???? SANDY AND CYNDI DOES NOT SOUND ALIKE!!! lol If I told them my name is Sandy, do you think they would FINALLY call me Cyndi??