What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say →

John Hendrickson, writing at The Atlantic:

Maybe you’ve heard Biden talk about his boyhood stutter. A non-stutterer might not notice when he appears to get caught on words as an adult, because he usually maneuvers out of those moments quickly and expertly. But on other occasions, like that night in Detroit, Biden’s lingering stutter is hard to miss. He stutters— if slightly—on several sounds as we sit across from each other in his office. Before addressing the debate specifically, I mention what I’ve just heard. “I want to ask you, as, you know, a … stutterer to, uh, to a … stutterer. When you were … talking a couple minutes ago, it, it seemed to … my ear, my eye … did you have … trouble on s? Or on … m?”

Biden looks down. He pivots to the distant past, telling me that the letter s was hard when he was a kid. “But, you know, I haven’t stuttered in so long that it’s hhhhard for me to remember the specific—” He pauses. “What I do remember is the feeling.”

This is a powerful piece about something a lot of people deal with, including one of my children.

While I didn’t stutter, I spent over a decade in speech therapy as a child, and while my former struggles don’t often show their hand, I’m always thinking about what words or combinations of sounds may give me trouble. It’s exhausting, and I’m not speaking to the entire nation.