Friday, April 15, 2011

Misunderstandings – I KNOW You Didn't Say What I THINK You Said

Last month, one of my granddaughters (Audrey) told her mommy that every month at school she had to go to the ambulance.


Brittney and I looked at each other. What word sounds like ambulance that would require kids in school to visit every month? After a while, we figured it out. Audrey meant, "assembly."

Audrey is very much like her mother. Once, while we were having dinner at a restaurant, Brittney's doctor called her to tell her that she needed a procedure. Brittney, who was newly pregnant at the time, told everybody seated at our table that she needed a c'apostrophe. I thought she said apostrophe. And I remembered thinking, "Hmm, she needs a punctuation mark. Curious." Knowing how I cannot always hear things correctly, I asked her to repeat it.

She said c'apostrophe again, and I thought, "What procedure sounds like c'apostrophe?" After a while, as I scanned my brain, sifting through all of the medical terminology I learned decades ago, Culposcopy came to mind. Yes, I was right, c'apostrophe = culposcopy.

Misunderstandings are commonplace with my family and friends, and they are often funny. For instance, one day, when my dear friend Denise said something I knew she couldn't possibly have said, I said, "I KNOW you didn't say what I THINK you just said.

We roared with laughter when I was finally able to tell her that what I thought she said was that I was her, "number one bitch." What she actually said, though she couldn't remember what she said by the time I was able to tell her what I THOUGHT she said, was not at all what I heard. For the rest of the day we called each other our number one bitch.

Conversations, lyrics – anything with words – somehow get twisted as they run from my ear through all the synapses in my brain. I never hear correctly what others are saying. If you say, "I hear a rustling in the leaves," for example, I'm likely to hear, "Aristotle wears briefs."

Reminds me of the time when everybody swore they heard the "F" word in the song, "Louie Louie" – I never heard it. I heard gibberish. Even when everybody said, "There. Right there! Hear it?" Um, no.

Now, of course, everyone knows that the word that was supposedly in there, never was anyway. So ha ha to all of you who said you heard it! Liars!

My kids are always telling me I need a hearing aid, and perhaps I do. But THEIR kids have been involved in numerous misunderstandings, and – fortunately – (for me anyway) Grandma is around to catch their blunders and to record those blunders in my blogs.

I pay particular attention to unusual conversations children have with adults or other children.

Here are three blogs about misunderstandings:

Conversational Misunderstandings Between the Sexes is the story of two four-year-olds who demonstrate the age at which misunderstanding between the sexes begins.

Why It Helps To Clear Up Misunderstandings explains why it really helps to clarify what you THINK you hear when what you THINK you hear makes no sense or arouses in the speaker a reaction so wild you'll know you misunderstood.

And finally: Another Simple Misunderstanding

And that completes Day #13 from the A-Z Challenge. Brought to you by the letter, M.

Previous A-Z Challenge blogs:

Amazon Hates Me – Day #1 from the A-Z Challenge

Bored – Why? – Day #2 from the A-Z Challenge

Craziness – Day #3 from the A-Z Challenge

When Your Daughter Develops, DON'T DO THIS! – Day #4 from the A-Z Challenge

Ellen – Day #5 from the A-Z Challenge

Family and Friends – Day #6 from the A-Z Challenge

The Grownup Table – Day #7 from the A-Z Challenge

Happiness & Joy – Day #8 from the A-Z Challenge

Idiots in the Attic – Day #9 from the A-Z Challenge

Jokes Accidentally – Day #10 from the A-Z Challenge

The Kid That Wasn't Named Ker – Day #11 from the A-Z Challenge

Living Out of Suitcases – Day #12 from the A-Z Challenge


  1. Ha, I love your posts! I had a friend at school who often misheard things which always led to a lot of laughter. Sadly, I can't remember any examples but I do remember the giggling!

  2. LOL! Great post! This happens a lot with my kids too. When my oldest was little she would always say what sounded like "I'll kill you" "I'll kill you". My husband and I were like "Ahhh! Where did she get that from? Why is she saying that?"

    I started paying closer attention and realized whenever she said it she was carrying something. What she was saying was "I'll carry you" "I'll carry you" She was just learning to talk so she was having difficulty with the "r" sound.

  3. I am notorious for not hearing things correctly. I make up my own lyrics to songs and my problem is a constant source of amusement to my friends and family. Fortunately, my hearing loss has given me a great sense of humor.

  4. haha love it! :) I always sing the wrong words to songs. hehe

  5. I'm always hearing things wrong, especially if I don't catch the first bit of a sentence correctly.

  6. Fun post about something that happens a lot - all over the place. I have a friend who lived in Australia for a while and had the most difficult time to understand any lyrics in songs - even though her English could without exaggeration be called a pure (or annoying) perfection... :)

  7. Misunderstood song lyrics are sometimes really funny. Ages ago, when the Eagles' song Life in the Fast Lane was popular, my best friend used to really belt it out. Unfortunately, instead of the words "life in the fast lane," she always sang "nights in the Vaseline."

    Whole different deal!

    My “M” post is right here:

  8. Cute. Misunderstandings can be so funny. Misheard song lyrics keep me laughing. In fact, I posted a hilarious YouTube clip in a recent blog post.

    I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life