Impediment to Learning

Harry Harrison stuttered and there can’t have been many more difficult names for him to pronounce than his own. He hated school as a consequence, hated his classmates and so-called friends and, especially, he hated his teachers.

“For God’s sake, Harrison, spit it out, can’t you!” shouted Mr Lancaster, his exasperated Form Master.

“H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H…. H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H…” stuttered Harry Harrison in response to the question: “In which range of mountains can you find Mount Everest?”

Already a delicate shade of puce from the physical effort involved in turning messages from the brain into sounds, Harry Harrison blushed to an excruciating degree as his classmates sniggered.

“H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H…” he persisted.

“Damn it, Harrison, come up here and write the answer on the blackboard rather than keep us all here until the bells goes.”

Harry wriggled out of his desk seat and walked to the front of the class.

“Chalk!” said the teacher, handing him a stick of the stuff. “Blackboard,” he said, pointing to it. “Write,” he said, mimicking the action in the air in front of him.

Harry positioned the chalk between his thumb and the first two fingers of his right hand. He approached the blackboard, raised his hand and wrote: “H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H…” before giving up. Then, sighing, he continued on the board: “I st-st-st-st-st-stutter, S-S-S-S-S-S-S-Sir, espe-espe-espe-especially w-w-w-w-w-w-w-with w-w-w-w-w-words beginning w-w-w-w-w-w-with an H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H…”

 

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