I was half awake, but here's what I caught on the morning news from a local radio station:
"Thanks for the memories -- there's lots of ones of 'em!"
On the plus side, this comment was made to a friend, and it was only a poor grammatic construct. On the minus side, it was recorded and broadcast because the speaker is the outgoing president of a major university. He's leaving his post here to become head of a national collegiate athletic association. (I won't name him here because I may have mis-heard his statement. Just covering my bases, so to speak.)
Golly gee whiz, we all say things that come out wrong. My mom used to say that she had foot-in-mouth disease. As a kid, I thought she should be able to guard her tongue better than that. It wasn't that she said anything foul -- in fact, she made a point of never swearing -- but either her timing or her content were sometimes very unfortunate. One time, visiting with folks after church, I heard her ask an older man, "Where's your big old fat wife?" His reply? "Right behind you."
Oh, mymymymymy. Unfortunate timing and content, indeed. Mom was always able to laugh at herself, but this was a biggie. She hadn't intended to say anything derogatory; she was just being silly, and out it came.
I did much the same thing recently. In a lighthearted moment, I said something that ended up sounding very racist. Me?! Racist? I'm too embarrassed to recount the details here, but it was one of those foot-in-mouth moments. I didn't realize the potential for harm in my comment until someone else reacted uncomfortably. Oh. (Unlike my mom, this is where I might have said, "Damn.") Well, the words were out, and I couldn't erase them.
The letter of James brings both a little reminder and a bit of comfort.
Let not many of you become teachers, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect person, able to bridle the whole body as well.
Teachers, public speakers, politicians, and people like me who know better. We all make slips of the tongue, and sometimes these errors are aired for many to hear. No one is perfect, but I'd better pay attention to the silly things I might say... before they escape my lips.