Me and three

Daily Blog Tips is hosting a competition, and inviting writers to submit a post involving the number three. The following is my entry—can you tell I wrote it in three minutes (give or take an hour)?

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ThreeI have a minor speech impediment involving the number three. For reasons more complex than counting to three I say “fr-ee” rather than “thr-ee.” It has been a subject for teasing since life-time immemorial.

One cause of my unusual diction may be a face-plant, more plants on face, face planted on pot-plant holder at the age of two—a face-first collision, teeth-work on metal assisted from behind by a girl jealous of the attention her grandmother, my baby-sitter garnered me. Despite emergency surgery my dental work never completely recovered—in fact several teeth never reappeared, albeit years later via a surgeon’s scalpel. Incisors violently misaligned, it is simple arithmetic that I have never been able to align three simple letters: “T-H-R.”

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It may be just as well I am not involved in sales—no doubt I would run some-one out of business, constantly mis-quoting untenable discounts on items priced with the number three—“Yes sir, it really is only ‘Free Firty-Free!’”

Despite my impediment I did actually do sales once—telephone marketing for a dish on every roof satellite television service, where luckily there were more than free channels, and many of the offers were three. Sorry—I am supposed to be talking about my speech impediment, not my dyslexia…

I only lasted a month in the job—even that several weeks longer than the average—cold-calling less than receptive strangers for three hours a night the very definition of the term “churn” before such became common-place; but a job was a desperately needed job, walked to without enthusiasm after university lectures and before finding something better.

Before I quit—a moment most definitely the highpoint of my brief tenure—I worked out that the reason the call centre supervisor—a young man approximately my own age but with the airs of one considerably senior, and who like a school teacher sat at the front and middle of the room—was always on the telephone was because he was listening in on our conversations. He would put down his phone from time to time, eye us all like a group of particularly bad students, and walk over to make unusually informed, usually cutting comments. With the thin veneer of telephone-pleasantness, only dollar motivated concern now terminated, I can in my darkest imagination (almost) imagine a metal pot-plant holder removing his knowing smirk…

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Someone who actually is in sales inspired me to make up a joke the other day. Like most moments of creative brilliance—value judgement here admittedly my own—it came spontaneously and unrehearsed—an Indian friend of merchant caste and notoriously tight with money prompting the following off-colour joke:

Question: “Why can’t Indian’s count past three?”

Answer: “One, two, three… did somebody say free?”

You probably had to be there—the humour increases when the guy with the Scottish last name and speech impediment tells it…

In case you’re feeling sorry for my friend, he gives as good as he gets in the teasing; if you’re feeling sorry for me and my poor sense of humour, I completely understand.

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The only time I’ve ever appeared on television—a bottom of the barrel, called in at the last minute impersonation of a presenter for the Inspiration-News podcast—involved me having to the say the number three, and my inability to do so earned the considerable irritation a very particular German director—“There is no ‘free’ in the script, ja?” Not that he could talk, at least not in English—his “v’s,” “w’s,” and “f’s” were all mixed up to say the least. I think we abandoned that part of the script now that I think about it…

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At no extra cost
A music video involving London, ice skates, fairy-dust, beards (unfortunately) and the number three

  • alf
    Posted at 21:40h, 09 July

    Hi John

    I am keen for our next Triple Triathlon t-shirt to incorporate the following slogan:

    ‘Set yourself free with the power of three.’

    Somehow I doubt my plan will come to pass.


  • T.Pettinger
    Posted at 07:57h, 10 July

    Good stuff.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 18:17h, 10 July

    Well I’d buy that t-shirt Alf. I did once write a news story about the Triple Triathlon—Triathlon Triples Harmony, where against poorer judgment I was persuaded not to run with the title “Athletes put the Try into Triathlon”…

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