The BVSD transportation department invited me back after three years, lauding me as their favorite speaker ever! I gave a new, streamlined version of my autism presentation which allowed enough time for one of my beloved spoonerism stories. (Spoonerisms are named after Prof. W. A. Spooner who lived in England during the time of Queen Victoria; he had a speech impediment that made him switch consonants and words around. For example: when he meant to say, “Our dear old queen,” it might come out as “Our queer old dean!”) Currently, my favorite story to tell is Rindercella and the Stoo Tugly Epsisters (Cinderella and the Two Ugly Stepsisters).
Here’s some background: the summer of my eleventh year, Mom and I were invited to the Larkspur Renaissance Festival as strolling musicians for one intense, entertaining weekend. Our favorite fellow-performer was “Zilch, the Torysteller,” an actor/comedian who told familiar fairy-tales in spoonerisms – he kept my mom laughing so hard she nearly choked! Since I’d always had a knack for spoonerizing, even in my preschool years, I easily memorized Zilch’s Pee Little Thrigs (Three Little Pigs) by ear as I repeatedly listened to our “Torysteller” CD.
My first performance opportunity came around a campfire at “outdoor ed” with my fifth-grade class, and after the adults wiped tears of laughter from their eyes, my teacher asked, “Do you understand what you’re saying?” Well…no, I really didn’t, and that’s good ‘cause Zilch’s spoonerisms get pretty risqué… But now, as an adult myself, I can get a room howling with laughter as I act out the characters and keep the tongue-twisting “spooner-speak” going. It makes me laugh too, just as it has since childhood—funny how my autism has given me this splinter-skill, this “slippery brain” that makes spoonerizing easy…
Well, the transportation audience loved the humor—that was over 300 people giggling and snorting—and they gave me a standing ovation! Thank you all for listening, and my deepest appreciations to “Zilch” — my hero of silliness!