Essays

Speak

Thanks for sharing this!

First there was no speak. Then there was double speak. Now there’s quick speak. Quick speak is used mostly by people younger than thirty.

Grandkids are great quick speakers probably due to years of playing Pac-Man. Grandparents, more attuned to computer Solitaire, have been known to get very jumpy and uptight when trying to follow warp speed chatter.

Newscasters like to use quick speak–and a second sub-category called question switching–at the same time, which often throws the TV’s closed caption into fluttery hieroglyphics. Overworked and harried adults are also well versed in this technique.

Sorting out question switching can be more of a challenge than quick speak and often leaves a person feeling really tense.

In Carpenter Country the short one encountered question switching during a routine phone call to set up an eye exam. The voice doing the asking said in one fast breath: Health insurance? What day did you want to come in? What time? Morning? Afternoon? Date of birth? Name?

Name? At this point a stressed-out brain went blank, then reconnected with an Alice in Wonderland thought: I knew who I was when I got up this morning…

The silly line produced a grin and after a deep breath the answers came in rapid fire. “What day-Tuesday. What time-10:30. My name is…”

Funny how a memory armed with laughter can unclamp fingers, relax jaw muscles and nudge a mind into high gear.

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