It's obligatory to mention Loud Howard

Scott Adams, one of the “Friends of Dilberty”, has somehow healed himself of a previously incurable medical condition. Spasms in his throat muscles were preventing him from talking at a normal volume: he could sing, and declaim at a podium, but not maintain a normal conversation without croaking. Suddenly one day he began speaking a nursery rhyme, and the freedom it gave him has helped him iron out the spasms almost entirely: as he says, he felt like his “brain was rewired” afterwards.

Standard voice-coaching techniques, for those who suffer from stammers and stutters, generally have this effect, when they work. Stutters can be ironed out by your own voice being played back with fractional-second delay (so similar to speaking at a conference); stammers can be unblocked by rhymes and even tongue-twisters, forcing the mind into different patterns of behaviour that, with luck, can end up stronger than the clamming-up of the original impediment.

I dare say that the fact that Adams was never tutored in these simple practices—and so had to discover them himself—before his “miraculous” cure could be ascribed to all manner of reasons, from the sheer rarity of the disease, to the simple fact that plenty of people fall through the medical consultancy net through no major fault of everyone concerned: no specialist can know everything, or necessarily join the dots. Also, his doctors could have been rubbish, but without more information I can’t really comment.

Much as I don’t want to knock Adams’ new-found voice—it’s lovely that he can speak again, although if it means he’ll be spending even less time thinking of story-lines then we’ll all suffer by proxy—you just know that in the long run, this success is going to be ascribed to affirmations, rather than simply chalked up to tried and trusted voice therapy techniques.

He’s the new-age buffoon that Aspergers love to love.

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3 Responses to It's obligatory to mention Loud Howard

  1. K says:

    He’s the new-age buffoon that Aspergers love to love.

    I think what I actually said was, “He’s the California vegetarian that it’s OK for Aspergers to like.”

    (Bet you’re sorry you enabled comments now.)

  2. sbalb says:

    Nonono, it means that there’s all the more grist for the mill that my memoir-writers and adoring fans will one day actually built, in rather misplaced but enthusiastic honour of my tendency to over-literalize metaphors.

  3. K says:

    Is the mill-building scheduled to take place after you’ve literally hanged yourself with your own rope?

    Anyway, I’ve got a new word for Scott Adams and his ilk: aspodidact. Meaning, of course, a self-taught person who believes that anything he hasn’t formally studied (the liberal arts, philosophy, religion, whatever) can be treated with the reductive logic of a knock-knock joke.

    …Hey, have you read the great new book by Richard Dawkins?

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