When I was three, during family worship we were singing the Hymn, I Love Thy Kingdom Lord and arrived at the following verse:
I love Thy church, O God.
Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye,
And graven on Thy Hand.
I loudly and lustily sang out, “Dear as the apple of Thine eye, and gravy on Thy hand”! The family, of course, thought it was hilarious.
Much more recently, I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned, and the lady asked me if I lived in the country. Any level-headed person would have immediately thought of open fields and . . . maybe chickens or something. But for some reason my immediate thought was that she meant the country: USA. I have no idea why I came to this conclusion, but I did none-the-less and answered accordingly. A minute or two later I reviewed the conversation (there’s nothing much else to do when you’re laying there with your mouth wide open) and became convinced of my mistake. Considering that I had dental instruments in my mouth, and that it had been at least a minute since she had asked the question, I decided to “let bygones, be bygones.”
I’m sure everyone has experienced the embarrassment of reading something incorrectly out loud. I can never read the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts without remembering the time I nervously read, “Now it was about three years [the text only said hours] later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.” If you know the story, you know how ridiculous that would be.
And then there’s also the time we were studying Romans in youth Bible study. I read Romans 9:2 which says, “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart,” and it somehow rolled out of my mouth as, “unceasing grease” instead of “unceasing grief.”
I worked a job over December last year at an expedited logistics company. At one point I had to call a truck repair service to set up an appointment for one of my truck driver teams to get their tire fixed. This was something I hadn’t had to do before this point, so I was a little nervous when I made the call. Right before I called I had asked the driver to give me the tire size information and she had given me some numbers that she “thought” was what I needed to know.
So I’m calling this repairman, 1.) not really sure if the information I had in front of me was really tire-size information or not, 2.) having no clue of the intelligent way to read the information out loud if what I had in front of me was indeed the information that I was hoping it was, and 3.) conscious that my boss would be listening to my side the conversation, because he was somewhat guiding me through this process. (As I said before, this was the first time I’d ever had to do this.)
As soon as the repairman said hello, I started explaining the situation. He was pretty silent on the other end as I did this. After I’d said the basic info, I gave him a more obvious pause, expecting him to ask questions or to say something. When he didn’t, I boldly proceeded with the tire-size information I had gotten from the driver. I prefaced it with some statement like, “I’m not exactly sure if this is the information you need” and ended with something like, “Does that sound right?” When he didn’t reply to this question, I knew something was up. So I tried the natural thing: “Hello? Hello?” No answer. I hung up and told my boss that we must have gotten disconnected or something. He told me to wait and that he would try calling this time. I listened to him pick up the phone, dial the number, listen for a minute and then hang up. Then he informed me that I had just talked to the answering machine.