Stutterer triumphant

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

His father said he’d be a late bloomer and at 73 David Seidler has become the oldest person to receive the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He deserved it.

After having seen him on the BAFTA’s earlier this month, I hoped he would win. Of course his script was very entertaining and well executed (Apparently he had the idea ages ago, but at the request of the Queen Mother waited until after her death with writing the script.) Yet it was his anecdote in his BAFTA acceptance speech about having had a stutter himself as a boy and finding solace and strength in the speeches of King George VI that had me rooting for him.

To have a voice and to be heard.

It reminded me of an incident in primary school, involving a bright boy, funny, very clever and pretty popular. ( So yes I might have had a little crush on him. Alright. Huge. Crush.) We must have been ten or so reading a book in class, when he broke down middle of a sentence he’d been struggling to read out loud for two minutes. Again, we were ten. When you’re ten, actual sobbing isn’t cool. The whole class was silent, not sure how to react.

I remember our teacher trying to soothe him with a: ” It’s ok, I understand. You’re allowed to be sad about this.”  Thus she showed how a) patronising she was (God I hated her, even at the age of ten. Don’t speak to children as if they are dumb. They usually aren’t.) and b) how little she understood: these weren’t sad tears, these were tears out of anger and frustration. Sadness is a different feeling, it’s a feeling of almost resignation and that’s not what echoed through the classroom that afternoon.

The boy would be fine. A little google search has proven that he’s employed, a post-graduate who was socially very active and even set up a student society for his degree in cultural studies and…languages. Ironic? Perhaps a little, but it wouldn’t be any other way now would it?

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