Monday, March 21, 2011

P as in Ptooey

I always thought it devilishly ironic that God called me to be a writer. For most of my life I've struggled with what my speech therapist friend calls dysnomia - the inability to come up with the word for which I'm frantically searching.

I suppose I come by my affliction naturally; I grew up with my mother reminding me to throw my dirty clothes in the refrigerator and to make sure I took my toothbrush to church.

Although my retrieval system appears to be a bit more sluggish since I passed fifty, some days I can pull those elusive rabbits out of my mental hat before the tree out front grows a new branch and feel like I've actually done pretty well.

Today was not one of those days.

On my early morning prayer walk around the neighborhood, I noticed a beat-up pickup truck parked on my street with a large fellow smoking inside, taking in a panoramic view of all the surrounding houses. He was in no apparent hurry to be elsewhere.

Okay - no harm, no foul.

Forty minutes later, when I took my dog out for his dooty duty, I caught a glimpse of said truck still loitering in the same spot with said slacker now in the passenger seat still gawking at said houses.

Now, normally I wouldn't consider sticking my nose in someone else's abnormality, but we've had a rash of neighborhood robberies lately, including my next-door neighbor, whose house was sacked in the middle of the day after a suspicious van had been seen parked down the street while two fellows with clipboards went door-to-door doing a "survey."

So I wasn't taking any chances. I jotted down the truck's description and tag number and made an immediate call to the sheriff's dept. Wouldn't hurt to just check him out.

The problem came when the dispatcher asked me to clarify the tag letters I'd just told her and I drew a complete blank. The first one was a W and for the life of me, I could not think of any W words (well, there's one right there, isn't it?) Then came a B and P and wouldn't you know, I was a deer in headlights.

Finally, after staring at the blank screen in my head for what seemed an eternity, words finally appeared. Strangely enough, they were words I rarely ever actually say aloud. I spit out, "W as in wombat; B as in boob; P as in pinhead."

Oh, for pity's sake. And I call myself an inspirational writer.

As soon as the dispatcher unsuccessfully stifled a snicker, and my husband stumbled out of his home office laughing like a dadgum hyena, I felt M as in embarrassed. With a little luck, she'll never know who I am. Please tell me police stations don't have caller ID.

I wanted to explain to her that writers are sometimes X as in eccentric but more often K as in Crazy.

But I have a sinking feeling that she'd just roll her I's.