My cousin has a son and when he was maybe 2 or 3 years old, she took him to the neighborhood barber for his very first haircut. The barber, as everyone in the neighborhood knows, stutters. All of the sudden, after his haircut, my cousin's son, who was just mastering the little world of talking immediately picked up this stutter.
Last week, I had a client in court. I forget exactly what the client was accused of right now, but it was something kind of creepy. (And as much as I can defend clients accused of just about anything, I do have a harder time relating to some of the creepy ones.)
The client had this weird habit. It was like he sort of squeezed air between his teeth and his lips to make like a farting noise. He did it pretty much constantly. Even when we were in front of the judge. I assume it was some sort of tick or nervous habit.
I kept thinking, "There is no way we could go with a misidentification defense. The jury would hear my client make that farting noise all through the trial, and then they'd hear some kid he's accused of touching say, 'I know he's the guy. And he kept making this farting noise.'"
Eventually my client took a plea. And even as he was taking the plea, he was making this farting noise. I was afraid the judge was going to take it as a sign of disrespect and penalize my client.
When I returned to the office, I was telling the story and imitating my client's fart-noise-habit for some of my colleagues.
That was a few days ago. And now I've caught myself doing it a few times by accident. It's like my mother always warned me, my face has stuck like that.
My cousin spent weeks researching stuttering and speech therapists. Then, one day, maybe a month or two after the haircut, we all spent the day together and at the end of the day someone said, "I don't think little Davey has stuttered once all day." And, just like that, the stutter was gone.
Here's hoping I get over the accidental-mouth-farting noise much quicker.