Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Remember my list?  The one that has a bunch of incredible, fantastic things I simply must do by the end of the summer? Well, something new is on the list. Something big, something brilliant, something majestical and wonderful and spectacular! Something I’ve been waiting to do my entire life. This summer, I will finally do it. This summer, I am determined to make it happen. This summer, I will (drum roll, please) learn to roll my R’s.
Stop laughing. It’s not funny. I’m serious. Think of the one thing you’ve always wished you could do. For some people, it might be something big, something important like piloting an airplane or singing opera or free-running. And for other people, it might be something smaller, but still important, like pogo sticking or talking to boys or riding a bike.
Do you know what your thing is now? Good. Now every time you feel like laughing at my not-so-secret ambition, I want you to think of how much you want your secret ambition. Because as much as you want to be able to break-dance or play the harmonica, I want to be able to roll my R’s. And at least I’m getting out there and trying, while you’re sitting here reading my dumb blog. Really? Chase your dreams, people! But finish this post first, if you don’t mind.
Sometime in the not-so-distant past, my roommate tried to teach me. (She is, conveniently, proficient in the practice of rolling R’s.) For half an hour, I made bizarre blubbering sounds with my mouth, she laughed at me, and I complained. Soon, a strange sensation took over the muscles in my face. Like when you go to the dentist and your cavity is too minor for them to put you all the way under, so they just use a topical anesthesia and you can’t close your mouth right. My. Face. Was. Numb.
But I didn’t mind, because my roommate and I were laughing too hard to worry about anything at all. This may have had something to do with the fact that it was almost 2 in the morning, but I choose to believe otherwise.
Anyway, after that failed attempt, I gave up all efforts at succeeding. But now it’s summer, and I am determined to give it another shot. Both my parents are skilled R-rollers, so I have their expert advice at my disposal. Neither of my brothers can accomplish this feat, so they have no grounds on which to ridicule me. The opportunity has arisen, and I will conquer!
So, of course, I check the Internet. This is my go-to method of seeking knowledge, and it hasn’t failed me (much) yet. I type in “How to roll your R’s,” and up come over 35 million results. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one with this disability. We should form a support group. For those strrrrruggling with the alveolarrrr trrrrrill.
The alveolar trill:  that’s what the first link, wikiHow, calls it. I’m not entirely sure this source is trustworthy, but it seems legitimate. I mean, it lists ten pre-trilling steps, then five specialized methods with detailed directions that cater to all different types of potential trillers, then it lists some tips in case none of that insanity works! I’m feeling very hopeful about this whole R-rolling business. I’ll use just this one website, I think. I don’t see how I could try all this stuff and still be unable to execute a proper alveolar trill.
A piece of advice I got from wikiHow:  “Don't be afraid of sounding ridiculous.” Oh, so it knows that I sound ridiculous. Great. Now I’m self-conscious.  A piece of advice I have for anyone else trying their hand at this endeavor:  do NOT, for any reason, wear your retainer while the Internet teaches you to roll your R’s. Not only will you inevitably fail, your computer screen will end up coated in tiny, wet, rainbow-colored specks. Sick.
I try all the insane methods on this website, but I only succeed in making extremely loud hissing sounds and becoming light-headed. You might think I sound like a stubborn old car that doesn’t want to start. Or a tiger with a hairball. Quite honestly, it’s hilarious. But I still can’t roll my R’s.
I look to the end of the article for helpful hints, or maybe just consolation. The best they can give me is this:  Don’t worry, Lenin couldn’t roll his R’s either! Awesome. They’re comparing me to a dead communist leader. I feel SO much better now.
I’ve practically given up when I come across one last tip on the art of the alveolar trill:  try lying on an exercise ball while rolling your R’s. My mom tries this and tells me it does make it easier, so I give it a shot. AND IT WORKS! I try again. It wasn’t just a fluke. I can roll my R’s! I try it sitting up. No dice. Lying down again:  score! I’m only half successful, but I’d expected complete failure.
Roomie, you’d be so prrrrroud! (See what I did there?)

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