Monday, July 19, 2010


My wife and I picked up lunch for my family today. My mom and dad wrote down their orders on a piece a paper, and Sarah and I went to Subway.

When we got there, I took the piece of paper up to the counter and began to read. My mom had requested a six inch turkey sub on whole wheat with everything except hot peppers. As I stuttered through the list of ingredients, the woman behind the counter strained to make out what I was saying. It was touch and go for a moment, but the sandwich was completed.

Next, Sarah ordered her sandwich: tuna on wheat with lettuce, tomato, pickles, vinegar, salt, and pepper. I caught myself feeling jealous about her effortless delivery.

I was up again. I began to recite my father's order, but the woman behind the counter could not understand me. She apologized and seemed genuinely upset that she was unable to decipher what I was saying. I tried again... and again, but as my tension level mounted, my stuttering became worse. I did something that I never do.

"Sarah?" I looked to my wife, and she immediately knew what I was asking. She gently took the piece of paper from me and read it to the patient sandwich artist. I looked down at the floor in shame. "It's OK, baby," Sarah said.

I couldn't go out like this. I began my own sandwich order, and I stuttered like a fool, but I got the idea of a chicken-salad-on-flat-bread across to my friend the sandwich artist. She smiled sweetly and made my sandwich. That was the worst part.

When someone makes fun of me, I can choose to let it go, or I can choose to get angry. If I let it go, I am not bothered. If I get angry, I can deal with it. On the other hand, when someone is sympathetic, I feel crippled. I feel like someone for whom people should feel sorry. That is hard to let go. I haven't had to ask someone to speak for me since I was a child. Today, I felt like a child.

After a hard ride (and one or two adult beverages), I feel OK, but today hurt.


  1. Mark I feel your pain. I used to avoid going to Subway when my parents would ask where to go to get subs. Having to try and say all the things you want on your sub was just plain torture to me, especially because the stuttering I did was blocking. I later found out that I really didn't like Subway subs anyway.

  2. I usually try to engage them first on my timing by saying Hello - then I say everything expect, pickles, etc. For me it's good that I like more things than I don't like. It is much easier to say no pickles, or peppers than trying to say everything I want. One day at a time...

  3. Hello Mark I know exactly how you feel :) I usually try to avoid any situation that could end up with me feeling embarrassed but I admire that you have the guts to actually educate people and put yourself out there. For me it's never been forced upon having someone else order for me or talk for me is kind of at my device all the time so I take advantage of it which is a terrible thing. It's so weird that we are more alike than we are different when it comes to stuttering experiences, when I read your story and Sarah’s post I said, "wow I know exactly how that feels" and I relate 100% to avoiding subway Sarah:)

    Bethany Laranjo