i have a bad habit of mimicking other people’s patterns of speech. it started when i was young in order to entertain my listeners, but became an embedded, almost unconscious, habit when i was doing home health and found that 3-syllable words and/or medical terms were often lost on the folks i was trying to teach. i don’t mean it to mock them, but rather to bring myself to the patient’s level of understanding. besides, dialect is dialect and we use very colorful phrases here in southern indiana. i don’t have to fake the twang, but i’ve gotten into some bad habits of using ain’t and double negatives and it’s all contrived to make people think that i’m not really that much smarter than they are. (but i am) this dumbing down approach actually works, though, as proved by my recent immunization experience. out of 287 parents i have had to deal with, only one felt that i had mis-communicated with her. and monday i only sent home 7 kids, while the other schools each excluded over 100. yeah, it’s a pain having to call these people and cajole them into anything when it’s really their responsibility to do what the formal letters said, but there were a lot of big words on the letters that i felt needed to be explained. rather than have the parents bring me the record, i asked for permission to have the doctors offices fax them over, saving them the work of getting out of bed. you can’t expect middle-school kids to act like anything other than adolescents and i’m beginning to think that many of the parents are stuck in that same developmental level.
which is okay, because i can talk adolescent real good.