Damn Lamictal woke me up again. That’s the epilepsy med that increases testosterone, and apparently gnarly dudes don’t sleep. The other seizure med I take, carbamazepine, just makes me stutter incoherently on occasion. The stutter used to be really bad. The side effect of the carbamazepine combined with speech problems caused by the epilepsy itself and I’d get stuck on sounds and couldn’t say them no matter what happened. The voiceless “th” sound–as is thistle–would invariably trip me up and I’d be th-th-th-th-th-th-th-th….sounding like a leaking air compressor. The ladies thought it was the most darling thing ever, the big giant macho dude with the cutest stutter. I’d turn red with frustration and embarrassment. That’s ok, they’d invariably say. Then they said awwww. God I hated those awwwws. But women could also invariably understand what I was trying to say. It would sound like gibberish even to me, yet they could understand it. I assumed it was the baby talk instinct, and I was just some big dude making baby talk. They’d smile. Awwww.
The reactions of the guys at work were funnier. I don’t know if it was the extra testosterone or what, but most of them would be really meek around me. Hesitant. A tad obsequious. Not all, and certainly not the alpha males. Just the nebbish types, who, in an office, is an awful lot of them. I was the big gnarly dude in the office. But when I started stammering they couldn’t figure it out at all. Men can’t speak baby talk. To us a goo goo is a goo goo. A stammer just gibberish. They’d come up to me in the hallway with just the hint of a kowtow and say something friendly. I’d look down at them and start stammering. They’d freeze. Their expressions were priceless. They had no idea what I was trying to say, but it probably meant I was going to hurt them. They’d scurry off to the safety of their cubicles. Awwww.