On Spoken Missteps

Travis Rogers, Jr.

On Spoken Missteps

2 mins
August 17, 2021

The Slip of the Tongue

Sigmund Freud usually posited that a spoken misstep was actually revealing of something buried deep in the human psyche and that symbols were to be found everywhere. He usually identified it as sexual in nature but a later attribution had him admitting that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Still, spoken fumbles can make for a load of laughs. Especially when it is someone as clear-spoken, even erudite, as Everett Lindgren.

Everett is, of course, the President of the Village of Withee. In last Monday night’s regular meeting of the village board of trustees, Village Clerk Ellen Niemi placed an item on the agenda regarding a Local Government 101 training for board members. Everett was going to explain that the training was being offered through the League of Municipalities. Instead, Everett said that the training was being put on by the “League of Nations.” He quickly corrected himself, laughing at his own mistake. I said, “What is this? 1920?” 

Of course, I always think about why people say the things they do, what prompted them, and where the thought came from.

It’s not everyone who even knows what the League of Nations was. It was proposed by President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference and was included in the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. The first meeting of the League was in January 1920 and was the reason for Wilson winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia and the League’s inability to help there, or to stop the Soviet Union’s invasion of Finland, showed the ineffectiveness of the League. It was disbanded in 1945 and was replaced by the United Nations in 1946.

Now, Everett is not that old. But it does reveal his depth and breadth of historical knowledge and that is only one of many reasons that I like him. In other words, sometimes a misspeaking can actually reveal how much more a person really knows, having more information/knowledge/experience to draw on.

At that same meeting, however, a very nice woman from Withee was on-hand to offer public comment on the Village noise ordinances. She has only just moved to Withee this year.

Now, we know that former Owen-Withee police Chief Jesus Ibarra pronounced his first name as HAY-soos, Latino style. But the nice woman spoke at length about her problem with noise in her neighborhood and was asking about the Village ordinance regarding decibel levels. She went on to say that she tried to contact the police but Jesus (pronounced the English way as JEE-Zus) had retired. She immediately corrected her pronunciation but it was too late.

Larry Klabon was sitting next to me and I turned to him and said, “Larry! Did you hear that? Jesus (JEE-zus) has retired! No wonder my prayers aren’t getting answered!

Poor Larry turned bright red and had to clamp his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing out loud. 

The next day, I was delivering papers to the Cozy Corner and Larry and others were just coming out. Larry pointed at me and accused me of being a troublemaker, so I had to explain it to the rest of the guys. Denny Henke, being Denny, doubled down with, “No wonder we had to cancel church services Sunday morning!

This article was orginally reported by
Travis Rogers, Jr.

Travis is a contributor in religion and entertainment.