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  • Writer's pictureJeff Quinn

Dreaming the Impossible Dream

I read a quote once and I wish I could remember who said it. "Would the boy you were yesterday be proud of the man you are today?"

I would hope so.

I would also think that the boy I was yesterday would be amazed at the man he had become. The boy I was yesterday is vastly different from the man I am now. I was shy. Painfully shy. But, I believe I had good reason to be shy. I had a very pronounced stutter. I could barely put four words together without a block or a stammer.

Throughout my elementary school years I remember dreading being called on to read or speak in front of the class. I knew my teachers didn't want to pick me because they knew the stress it was causing me, yet still they had to because that was fair. I would be so nervous about being called on that my stomach would churn. If I was called upon, it was torture for me and for everyone else in the class. And when I was finally finished, I would sit down, embarrassed and relieved that it was over.

I felt equally embarrassed on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the school Speech Therapist would come knocking on my classroom door to summon me for our session. The walk from my desk to the classroom door always seemed like a long trip. I felt like the eyes of the classroom were upon me every step of the way.

So how did a stuttering kid grow to be a magician who performs over 350 shows per year (and had a successful 16-year career in radio)?

That was my biggest and most successful trick. I managed to wrestle my stuttering and find a way to encourage fluency in my speech. Truth be told, I'm still a stutterer. There are still times when I'm less fluent than others. Overall, though, my speech is nothing like it was when I was younger.

Maybe this story is a book that needs to be written.

If it is, I hope it finds a place in your library.

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