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Last Sunday I was talking with My Fiancé and he stopped me mid-sentence in surprise. “What did you just say?!”

I just gave a soliloquy and had to think back to what I was ruminating. “Uh . . . I said, ‘you’re giving me crumbs here.'”

His eyebrows shoot into his hairline and he starts laughing. “Say it again!” He demands.

“You’re giving me crumbs?” I repeat, amused and confused.

“Crumbs.” He laughs again.

“Crumbs.” I repeat, trying not to laugh as well, because it will only encourage him. . . I know why he is laughing now.

“Crumbs. Say it.”

So I do and he is laughing hard and near tears. I give up and laugh with him.–We both know it. I’m saying it incorrectly. Apparently, I am saying “cromes.”

It is a hard of hearing thing. People have commented on it before when little tell-tale signs crop up in my speech. Even after years and years of speech therapy; some words just bring out those ‘wobbly vowels.’ It is not specific to just long or just short vowel sounds. I consider myself an equal opportunity wobbly vowel employer. The thing is, I hear myself repeating the word exactly the same as the person who is trying to correct me. Obviously, there is a discrepancy because they would not be correcting me if I uttered it correctly. Sometimes after continuing to repeat and match their words, I will say the word right; but it is a shot in the dark and not consistent.

The single word that I get stopped on more than any other is “Witty.” “Witty” a seemingly simple word, that by looking at it, would be difficult to screw up. Ah! But I have found a way! I am a genius like that. Apparently when I say it my vowel comes out as an “I-O” wobble. Thus people have difficulty deciphering if I am saying “witty” or “woody.” Believe me, I am NOT intending to say ‘woody’ when I am trying to sound ‘witty!’

Other words are not “deaf-related,” as regular hearing folks sometimes trip over them as well. Although I would not know; so I am taking my speech teachers’ word for it (pun not intended). Words like “picture” and “pitcher.” Or “watermelon” stumbles into “wallowmellon.” For the record, ‘wallowmellon’ is a bit like the “elleomenopee” phenomenon, when singing the alphabet. So now along with these classics, I get to add ‘crumbs’ or ‘cromes’, as the case may be.

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