Remember when I was in kindergarten and I could not pronounce the word “hospital”? Instead I would pronounce it “hossuhbul”. No matter what I did, I could not figure out how to work that “T” sound into the word. It was as if I was speaking Hawaian without the glottal stop. The best I could do was phonetically average the “P” and “T” phonemes to come up with a “B”.
Naturally, the other kids made fun of me, especially since I could not properly pronounce the word “ambulance” either, saying “amboolunts” instead. They would mock me, “Are you going to take the amboolunts to the hossuhbul, little kindergarten version of Moist Rub?” Shut up, Riley Teirney and Vanessa With The Red Ribbon In Your Hair and Joe Who Smelled Like Pee. All of you - STOP IT!
Not only could I not pronounce “ambulance”, the word itself confused me. How could “ambulance” and “ambulate” come from the same Latin root meaning to walk? Were the original ambulances boy scouts who would walk the ailing to the hospital? What if I had a broken leg? Would I still have to walk to the hospital? Whose insane idea was it to make sick people walk to the hospital? It was probably that sadist Hippocrates. Although, he probably didn’t know what ambulare meant in Latin since he was Greek. Maybe he was just bad at Latin. Everybody is bad at Latin. Even Cicero couldn’t remember when to use hic, haec or hoc. As you can see, I was a confused little kindergartener. I’ll give Hippocrates the benefit of the doubt.
But I won’t give Riley, Vanessa and Joe the benefit of the doubt. Do you know what kind of emotional damage your cruel ribbing did to me? Well, none, actually. I just happened to remember my puerile speech impediment while I was making a speech at work while sucking on a Tootsie Pop. I kept stumbling on the word “infrastructure”. The weird part was my speech was not even supposed to include the word “infrastructure”, but whenever I got lost I would say it so people would think I was smart. I forgot all about the “hossuhbul” ordeal until then, at which point I took the Tootsie Pop out of my mouth and enunciated, “Hos - Pi- Tal” and finished the speech. This didn’t seem to confuse the audience any more than they already were.
I sure hope Riley, Vanessa and Joe were not at my speech. Just in case they were, I want to make it clear that I can pronounce “infrastructure” when I don’t have a Tootsie Pop in my mouth. I can also now pronounce “hospital” and “ambulance”, and I can even pronounce “ennui”, but I’m too disinterested to remember what it means. I hope Riley, Vanessa and Joe remember how they treated me and feel shame. But, I cannot blame them for what they did. I must have sounded like an idiot. What kind of lunatic goes around saying “hossuhbul”? I must have been out of my mind. I wonder if Joe still smells like pee.