The uvula is the small clapper that is suspended from the center of the
soft palate. First, I thought it was the Adam's apple, then I thought it
was the tonsils. Later, I thought it was damaged, and that the damage was
what caused my stuttering. Cutting the tissue that connects the lower part
of the tongue enables a Mynah bird to speak easier. This surgery
was also done on humans to 'loosen' the gift of speech. When I began stuttering,
there was talk of cutting this; you must remember that this was 1955; speech
therapy was swathed in a veil of experimentalism, had the taint of the disreputable.
I was afraid that they would snip everything off: I somehow thought that
all my powers of speech lay not on my tongue but on that small, conical,
fleshy clapper,seemingly useless, but resonant in the bell of my mouth.
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