#Fulla5 National Stuttering Awareness Week #NSAW

May 9-13 is National Stuttering Awareness Week.

Courtesy of the National Stuttering Association

Courtesy of the National Stuttering Association  National Stuttering Association

So first of all, Stuttering is Cool and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As proud stutterer, yes I say “stutterer,” there are five things I want you to know about us silver tongues, because chances are that you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, no matter how fluent you say it 🙂

1) DO NOT finish my sentence. I have something to say, so let ME say it. Whether one stutters or not, it’s rude to cut people off. There are exceptions to this rule, though. For example, if I’m sinking it quick sand, and I start to ask for help and I get stuck, no pun intended, then, please, by all means, cut me off and free me from this often forgotten deathtrap that has swallowed so many stutterers who were unwilling to swallow their pride.

2) DO NOT post things related to stuttering that have gone viral on my Facebook page. Chances are that video has been posted to my page 68 thousand times. I think it’s great that a guy can get hit in the neck with a softball at 20 years and develop a stutter and go on to appear on national television as a comedian or a stuttering guy or gal is on another program. People who stutter do indeed have talent.

*Note: This rule does not apply to anything I post, so post away. Post like there is no tomorrow.

3) Do NOT try to cure me. There is no cure, so please don’t even tell me about your brother-in-law’s, third cousin on his mama’s side who quit stuttering after sipping on the tonic, naked, during a full moon. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work. Per Wikipedia, for centuries “cures” such as consistently drinking water from a snail shell for the rest of one’s life, strengthening the tongue as a muscle, and hitting a stutterer in the face when the weather is cloudy. Number 1, I drink water from a bottle. Number 2, my tongue is strong enough. I can eat ice cream with the best of them. Number 3, this is why I keep my stuttering butt at home on cloudy days.
4) DO NOT question my stuttering because I don’t stutter like someone you know. Seriously, stuttering is unique to each of us. It’s like finger prints and snowflakes. Furthermore, it often changes. We go through cycles, particularly during our formative years. There are those of us who get stuck on one word or sound. There are those of us who repeat the same thing over and over. There are those of us who lock up and nothing comes out. There are those of us whose mouth gets stuck like the end of a 70’s sitcom. There are those of us with closed eyes, facial contortions, and the desire to beat the word out of us ourselves. When I was a kid, I would beat the underside of my desk in the classroom, or I would beat my thigh like I was playing a tambourine without the tambourine. When my leg got too sore, I beat the arm of the person I was trying to talk to. I found out who my true friends were 🙂
*Note: And of you have the urge to say, “You’re not stuttering now,” then please do not. It happens. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. For some of us, it comes and goes, so please, resist the urge. I’d hate to have the urge to hit you in the face on a cloudy day.
5) DO NOT tell me “it’s ok” if I tell you (advertise) that I stutter. I know it’s ok. I’m just letting you know. Advertising, in my opinion, is a good thing, because it brings clarity to the situation. One time somebody thought I was about to have a seizure and threw their wallet in my mouth so I wouldn’t swallow my tongue. Not really, but I could see that happening. Advertising just lets you know that I’m ok. It might just take me a minute…or two.
For more info on stuttering, please visit, the National Stuttering Association, the Stuttering Foundation, and the American Institute for Stuttering.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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#Fulla5 Adam Hood

Tuscaloosa 2015

Tuscaloosa 2015

I’ve known Adam for close to 30 years, and I’m proud to call him a close, personal friend. I was a senior at Opelika High School when he was a freshman. We  have had a lot of good times together. He even came to stay with me in Washington State while I was stationed there and he was on a west coast tour back in 2005. After that, he often crashed with us when I lived in Shreveport and he was making frequent trips to Texas. I think I last saw him in Tuscaloosa last year. He came to my show with the GIs of Comedy and then we went to eat BBQ the next day.

With a John Denver grin and mind full of Alabama attitude, Adam Hood knows the beautiful mess of blue-collar love and everyone on Music Row wants in. Tracks from his critically acclaimed 2011 album The Shape of Things have been cut by Little Big Town, David Nail, Josh Abbott Band, Brian Keane and John Corbett. The legendary Willie Nelson and Leon Russell have each picked Hood for respective national tours. 

the shape of things

For more on Adam, please visit his website at adamhood.com.

“Bar Band is one of my favorite Adam Hood songs.

 

1) You’ve come a long way since I used to see you play at the Breezeway in Downtown Opelika? How has your music changed over the years, other than no longer playing Margarittaville, Brown Eyed Girl, and Sweet Home Alabama?

Well, I appreciate it. I’m pretty fortunate to be able to say I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’m glad you can see some progress. The main thing that’s changed, as you mentioned, is that I write my music now.  The cover songs got me the gigs and gave me an outline for what a good song “feels” like (Margaritaville is a pretty well written song), but once I started writing and got the nerve to PLAY those songs in front of folks, everything changed. It got real. After turning that corner, I just started doing it, refusing to regress. I’ve found my own style through all the years of working at it and listening to folks that know more than I do. BUT, at the end of the day, it still sounds like me. Always has. I won’t ever be able to shake that.

2) I’ve seen you play in Shreveport, which is more like Texas than Louisiana, but please tell us about Texas music and how it differs from elsewhere?

Man, Texas is its own thing. All the way around. The music, culture, food, etc are self-sufficient and that’s the way they want it.  Coming into that music scene from the outside was extremely intimidating for a while, but I fell into it after a while and I think it suites me. Most of my heroes and influences were Texas writers, so my style fits in Texas, but the Alabama influence is what makes me sound a little different. And there are TONS of bands out there, so different is good!!

This is Adam's latest. In my opinion, it's his best work yet.

This is Adam’s latest. In my opinion, it’s his best work yet.

3) Congratulations on being a new dad. Talk a little bit about Drue and how have things changed from your first go around as a dad? Are changing diapers like riding a bike?

Adam and the newest member of the Hood family, Drue.

Adam and the newest member of the Hood family, Drue.

Saying I wasn’t a little “scared” about having a baby would be a lie. Honestly, anyone that says they’re fully prepared for children is telling a lie. The feeling wasn’t out of lack of love, but more my own mortality. Haha. I want to be able to keep up, you know.  But children just change everything for the better and we’re enjoying every minute of it.  All the folks in my camp and I work hard to keep a “balanced” schedule so that when I’m home, I’m home with no distractions. Ashlyn is at an age where she’s mature enough to handle being a helpful big sister without it cramping her style.  I feel totally confident in saying all of us are good!  As for diapers, what can I say…The mechanics are the same, but the package keeps you on your toes!

4) How’s the garden going this year? Any advice for first time gardeners like, oh, I don’t know…me?

I downsized the garden this year. We went nuts last year and planted too much with too little time to manage and most of the garden flopped.  This year we’re keeping it simple… A few tomatoes and peppers and that’s it. Growing things is a great pastime if you’re thinking about it. Planting one tomato plant in a clay pot can be really fun and sort of calming (sorry to sound Zen).  Hell, I don’t even like tomatoes. I just like to get up in the morning, walk outside and see what happened while we were sleeping… And something always does.

*I guarantee you I planted way too much this year.

5) This is like “Free Day Friday” in elementary school. Whatever you want to say, say it here.

I want to thank you, Jody, for asking me to do this and for your friendship.  I’ve enjoyed watching you work to develop your career as well.  And you’ve earned every rung you’ve climbed.  We have a common denominator when it comes to our line of work. We have different ways of entertaining people, but we do the same thing and we both know that the distance between “man, you’re funny enough to be a comedian” at OHS and being a touring entertainer is pretty vast; it’s a hard row to hoe, but being able to look back and see all the ground you’ve covered makes the effort worthwhile. I’m proud to know you, my friend. Go dawgs!

*I did not pay him to say any of that nice stuff, but I do appreciate it.

Like Adam’s page on Facebook by clicking here.

Follow Adam on Twitter by clicking here.

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.

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