I wonder if there is a term for when we’re talking and think we know what we’re saying, but something very wrong comes out.
I once worked for a family business that built fences. Their name started with B, so when we answered phones, it sounded kind of like “Burp Fence. May I help you?”
There were a bunch of siblings that worked there, and the brothers often fought. One day they were screaming and throwing office supplies and books at each other and it was all very stupid.
The phone was ringing, and I grabbed it.
But rather than saying that thing that sounds like Burp Fence, I said “Bulls!#t.” The office went silent. Mortified, I hung up on the caller.
Years before that incident, I was working a switchboard at a temp job in Seattle. I had to page an engineer named Tuk Din, and I didn’t know how to do it without my voice echoing through loudspeakers “TUCKED IN. Line 3. TUCKED IN, Line 3.”
I giggled. Some dude with no sense of humor came to my desk and banged his fist on it and said, “You’d better get it together.”
My sister used to work for the circulation department of a newspaper. On break one day, she read an article about circumcision. When break was over, she grabbed the phone and said “Times P.I. Circumcision, may I help you?” This time the caller hung up.
My sister claims to have no recall of that conversation (it's okay, we all block painful memories) but says, “I still remember a caller saying, 'Why did you just say the words Metro Wilson?' I told him I hadn't, and didn't even know what that meant. He argued with me that he knew I had!”
I’ll never know for sure if she said Metro Wilson or not, but that should be the term for the wrong words escaping the tongue.
So tell me. Have you ever had a Metro Wilson moment? I'll laugh with you, I promise.