Daily Prompt: Verbal Ticks

Thank you, Ben Huberman.  I really needed a larf, and Huberman’s  Daily Prompt has got me rolling on the floor: “Verbal Ticks.”

Do you have a “verbal tick” you can’t get rid of?  Does it bury its head in your skin, suck your blood, and give you Lyme Disease, all the while chattering away like a demented dummy?

Ben, darling, I really am not dissing you.  It’s just that I’m a compulsive editor/proofreader with a cranked sense of humor.  I would have left you a comment in the “comments” section on your post, but there doesn’t seem to be one on the Daily Prompt, and if there is, I couldn’t find it.  My bad.

The word you wanted was tic.  A verbal tic is a vocalization, whether recognizable or not, that builds up inside the sufferer’s mind/body with increasing pressure until it exits, one way or another.  It’s a common feature of Tourette Syndrome.

I heard of a lawyer with Tourette’s whose main tic was verbal.  His brain compelled him to utter foul curses!  Most of the time he was able to blend them into a faked cough, but occasionally he had to exit the courtroom in order to drain himself of curses!  The judges all knew of his disability and made accommodations for his needs.

So now I’ve had my larf at the expense of our dear Ben, and it really is bedtime; but I will have to distract my mind, perhaps by watching Betty Boop cartoons, lest my dream be populated with chattering blood-sucking arthropods.

Leave a comment


  1. alright, someone has to say it, so it might as well be me …

    your post tickled my funny bone … get it? 🙂

  2. Ben Huberman

     /  June 30, 2014

    Hi Laura — I just stumbled on this (by complete chance! I was just reading another, more recent post of yours and scrolled down the page…).

    No offense taken, of course! I should clarify, though, that I chose “ticks” specifically for its word-play value (my love of puns is extremely childish, I admit). The focus of the prompt was on a broader, mostly non-clinical phenomenon whereby we use (and overuse) some words and expressions — from not being able to stop adding “like” as filler between words, to using some buzzword until you make everyone around you roll their eyes.

    I liked the idea of visualizing words like that as ticks that won’t get out of our systems, while maintaining some more distant, figurative relation to the specific definition of “tic” you rightly point out, which also has to do with an inability to completely control certain (motor or verbal) behaviors.

    Anyway, if my prompt has made you chuckle it’s already served its purpose. 🙂

    • Hi Ben, welcome to my brain! I see your point about making a tick-tock timely play on words. You need to understand, though, that I am in the early stages of putting my Aspergerian obsession with grammar and usage to (I hope) good use by launching Miss Picky’s Proofreading Service. Apart from that, the idea of having ticks inhabiting my already teeming brain is creepy! Did you know that I have Brain Worms? They’re in another post somewhere. Maybe the ticks would eat the Brain Worms, or vice versa. Oh dear, there I go again. All the best to you, and thanks for stopping by!

      • Ben Huberman

         /  June 30, 2014

        My pleasure! The world most surely needs Miss Picky’s Proofreading Service.

        • It most certainly does. If you happen to run across anyone who’d like their document picked apart and put back together again, and is willing to pay (big bucks) for it, I’d be happy to oblige. And while we’re both here, I hope I didn’t offend you too awfully by picking your post apart! Fondly,
          Miss Picky


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