The other day I had the opportunity to hear my own recorded voice and I realize I’m prone to exaggeration but you’re just going to have to believe me when I say that it was THE WORST THING EVARRRRR. I know I have some obnoxiously immature-sounding verbal tics and my voice is kind of nasal and I don’t always come across like the sharpest tool in the shed especially when I’m feeling awkward, but there’s knowing and there’s knowing, you know? I had recorded a phone interview and in playing it back I was pretty horrified by my, like, um, totallys. I’m forty, for god’s sake, and I sound like … well, have you heard Louis CK’s imitation of what sounds like a super-irritating high school girl? The only voice he knows how to do, as he said in his SNL monologue? I’m like literalahhh the first black president. That’s what I fucking sound like! LIKE ALLLL THE TIME, OHMIGAH. At least I definitely sounded that way during this interview, which is pretty embarrassing to know after the fact. I think my naturally dip-shitty way of talking may have been exacerbated because I was nervous (I was interviewing the communications manager for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife for an article about how ODFW had recently killed two cougars here in Eugene, and I got the feeling she was pretty tired of talking about it), which is even more frustrating. I mean, it doesn’t seem like a particularly useful life skill to have your intellect audibly devolve when you’re in a challenging situation. Like, um, hi, 911, can you, like, totally send a, you know, ambulance?

The other thing that’s made me focus on my voice lately is Riley, who continually absorbs our various sayings and incorporates them into his own lexicon. For instance: “I know, right?” He says this all the time now, and not only am I hyper-aware of the fact that he’s copied-and-pasted this from me, but I can’t help saying it back to him, until we get caught in a completely, like, idiotic loop.

“These Red Vines are really good.”
“I know, right?”
“Totally. Best candy. Right? I know.”
“So good, right?”
“I know!”
“Best! Oh my god.”
Gosh, Riley. You should totally say gosh.”


43 Responses to “Oh my god Becky look at her butt”

  1. Jessica V. on April 1st, 2014 1:12 pm

    Ha – my 5 year old has recently started saying “awk-ward” constantly. His inflection is spot on – but the context is rarely appropriate. (E.g., Me: Benny, please come to the table for dinner. Him:”Awk-ward!” Me: I do not think that word means what you think it means.)

  2. Tracy on April 1st, 2014 1:18 pm

    Way back in some long ago class, I learned that when you hear your voice played back on a recording that it is generally what you sound like to other people. Because we live in our own bodies, what our own voice sounds like is distorted to us because of the proximity of our ears to our brains and something about the inside of our heads..anyhow, I am no scientist, but the bottom line is that what you were hearing is what everyone around you hears, and I’ve never read a post by you about how everyone goes running screaming out of the room when you talk, so you know-your voice is probably rather nice.

  3. Katharine on April 1st, 2014 1:29 pm

    I laughed at this post, but I’m also sorry. If it makes you feel any better, pretty much everyone in the world thinks they sound weird on tape. I heard your recorded voice on a video you posted (the hotdog thing…?) and I don’t think you sound nasal or dumb.

    Maybe the verbal tics just make you sound youthful! The equivalent of vanishing cream.

  4. Hilary on April 1st, 2014 1:32 pm

    Ha, I had the EXACT same experience. I’m a writer, too, and I recorded an interview I did with someone fairly important. I found myself gritting my teeth whenever I had to listen to myself ask a question. “Just shut UP,” kept thinking while listening to the recording. I have to think that, maybe, we’re overly critical about this. I hope?

  5. Melissa on April 1st, 2014 1:48 pm

    So you’re saying I should *stop* saying “dude!?” all the time? Cause, that’s sorta a mainstay of my vocabulary. :)

    I couldn’t help but recall your stories about stuff blowing Riley’s mind (in his own words). If not for your casual late 90’s diction you wouldn’t have been able to delight us with such exchanges. :)

  6. Pete on April 1st, 2014 1:50 pm

    I found that I sound like my brother, and he sounds weird.

  7. Andrea on April 1st, 2014 2:13 pm

    Hey, man, the way I talk is the only thing that keeps me young nowadays. People think I’m younger than I am because of it. I hope. I also have a tumblr. I’m YOUNG, DAMMIT.

  8. Deb on April 1st, 2014 2:37 pm

    I played with the note taking feature on my phone and discovered I sound like a cross between a Kardashian and a transgendered chipmunk (maybe that’s redundant?)

  9. Jas on April 1st, 2014 2:40 pm

    I can’t help you with the “like, oh mah god, totally” aspect of your speech (and I’m 36, and I also talk just like that, with copious amounts of DUDE thrown in for good measure, so we could totally get together and go to the mall and annoy everyone sometime, if you wanted), BUT when I did tech support for a phone company, I was told that the reason our voices sound horrible on the phone is because telephones do not transmit all of the frequencies of our vocal speech, so our phone voice is missing some of the tones which round our voices out into the full-featured wonders they are in real life.

    I don’t know how true this is, because it came from a trainer and not from someone who has first hand knowledge of telephony, but it’s what I tell myself to feel better whenever I hear my guttural, growly, angry phone voice.

  10. Kristen on April 1st, 2014 3:08 pm

    My four year old says “I have NOOOO idea!” EXACTLY like Pinkie Pie on My Little Pony. And, recently, I have heard her say “I do NOT know!” when she is asked a question, which I also think might be from MLP. She draws the line at “dude” though, and always makes sure to chastise me when I say it…”Mommy, that is NOT a nice word!” Kids.

  11. Brenda on April 1st, 2014 4:08 pm

    I’m taking an online communications class and the professor uses “right?” and “you know?” at the end of almost every sentence during the lectures we have to listen to. It almost drives me crazy because I keep thinking–you are a communications teacher! Why are you saying that?? Just a few more weeks….

  12. Susan on April 1st, 2014 4:37 pm

    I just have to say that you rival Jerry Seinfeld with your observational humor. I can so relate – back in the day, I took a 3-day long (!) presentation skills workshop where we were observed and recorded and OMG that was the most humbled I have ever been in my life. Mind you, that was 20 years and 30 pounds ago for me. But, I think we all have such a different idea of how we come across to others. One of my goals for turning 50 is to embrace my pudgy self with the Valley girl accent – it’s hard! (But my teenage kids think I’m funny…sometimes)

  13. Ter on April 1st, 2014 5:00 pm

    Our baby’s still in the babbling nonsense stage, but I swear she’s saying “Stop!” in the completely exasperated way I do when she’s being irritating. Lucky me!

  14. JoAnna on April 1st, 2014 9:18 pm

    After I hear my own voice, I spend many days apologizing to people for ever having to listen to it. It makes me cringe.

    And my 2.5 year old son has started saying, “It’s all good.” I never realized how much I say that phrase.

  15. Michelle on April 2nd, 2014 2:50 am

    Oh man can I relate. I suspect that you didn’t sound nearly as bad as you thought. People always tell me I have a nice telephone voice yet when I hear myself I want to crawl in a hole and die!

  16. velocibadgergirl on April 2nd, 2014 5:22 am

    Twice already this year I’ve been sent to one of the local tv stations to appear as a guest on their midday show and promote events at work. I refuse to watch the clips because I know I’ll be so embarrassed by how awkward and nervous I sound.

  17. Maggie on April 2nd, 2014 6:09 am

    This is funny because I have been thinking about this lately. A young person that works with me says “like” and “you know” about every other word and it bugs me to the nth degree, I feel it doesn’t sound professional HOWEVER, I totally like talk the same way, you know, at times and I am now hyper-aware of it. IT doesn’t help that I have a 12 year old who says “like” every other word. I challenged her to have a conversation with me without saying like and it was near impossible and totally hilarious!

  18. Shawna on April 2nd, 2014 6:11 am

    I am not making this up: you had something with your voice online a few years ago, and I made my husband come listen to it.
    Me: Listen to this woman! Just listen to her!
    Him: What about her?
    Me: Doesn’t her voice sound like me?!? My voice is the same as hers!!!
    Him: Uuuhhh, no…

    I’ve heard myself recorded, and I’d swear you and I sound the same.

  19. Anu on April 2nd, 2014 7:48 am

    When I was younger I used to hate salesy voices and tones-it’s part motivational speaker, part douchebag, you know what I mean? I now work in consulting and was giving an academic presentation at a university as a guest lecturer and my co-worker taped me before I went out there. As I watched the video of myself I realised that somewhere over the years I had developed sales douche voice.

  20. Sande on April 2nd, 2014 7:55 am

    Too funny. I was listening to an executive talk in a meeting yesterday and I swear I was listening to a 15 year old girl. I was embarrassed for her and even more so that she is a face of our company promoting things and I was like OMGawd, she is soooo nawt giving us a gooood impression. And it didn’t help that she had this obnoxious red lipstick on with her red nails and red polka dotted skirt. And she constantly was shaking her head to get her hair out of her face and I wanted to grab a bobby pin and help her out. Mostly though I wanted to remind her she is a 40-something year old executive and she should speak as such.

  21. Carly on April 2nd, 2014 11:05 am

    I’m kind of loving the kid-incorporation thing right now because my two year old just started saying “HUH?” to us, in response to just about anything. It drives my husband CRAZY and I *loved* pointing out to him that that particular gem comes from him, it’s his natural response to just about anything, whether he heard me or not. Now I can just laugh as he goes into a never ending spiral with her of “Put your shoes on!” “HUH?” “Put your shoes on!” “HUH?”

  22. Molly on April 2nd, 2014 2:47 pm

    Ha! The title of this post rules. I’m sure you don’t sound like THAT.

  23. NancyJ on April 2nd, 2014 5:23 pm

    Oh my god – I HATE the sound of my voice. It’s low and flat sounding which is really weird because I’m an extremely animated person!! Ugh I sound dead and it doesn’t help that I’ve been told when I’m not smiling I look like I’m going to cry. So great combo there!

  24. Deanna on April 3rd, 2014 6:15 am

    Yeah, I have vocabulary that is ingrained in me (I still say the word “Dude” – a lot – but I stopped saying fuck. points for that?). I realized it last week when my 6 yr old wrote on her wall (AGAIN!) and I was trying to to scream and basically go ballistic (again) and I said something like “Dude! Are you kidding me!??!” and she frowned and totally serious said “I’m not a dude.” It made me blink and i had to walk away before i laughed.

  25. Mary Clare on April 3rd, 2014 6:35 am

    Oh my GAH! Whatevah! Hilarious post and I’m pretty sure you don’t talk like that.

    So, why’d they kill the cougars?

  26. Cindy on April 3rd, 2014 12:55 pm

    I’m afraid of recording my conversations. I know I’d have to remove “seriously” and “dude” from my vocabulary, leaving me essentially mute.

  27. nonsoccermom on April 3rd, 2014 3:01 pm

    I can’t stop laughing at the title of this post. I completely know what you mean, though. In high school a substitute teacher informed me that I’d sound a lot more intelligent if I quit interjecting the word “like” in every sentence. That’s always stuck with me, but I think today I’ve just substituted “totally”, “dude” and “I know, right?!” Not sure if it’s an improvement or not.

  28. Alison on April 3rd, 2014 4:47 pm

    As a very self conscious person, I think it is profoundly unfair that my voice sounds so different in my head than it does out in the real world. The voice in my head is throaty and intelligent. My recorded voice: a damn chipmunk. Anyway, point being, you are not alone.

  29. Kim S. on April 4th, 2014 10:56 am

    I totally get it. Maybe you’ll appreciate this piece I wrote a few years ago about hearing my daughter parrot back the word like.

  30. Liz on April 5th, 2014 6:53 pm

    When I was in high school a friend of mine did a science project where she recorded people saying single words and then tested to see if you could identify your own voice. I think her hypothesis was that having musical training would make it more likely. So I did it with her and then had the following conversation:

    “Jeez, Liz, you got them all right. How’d you do that?”

    “I just picked whichever voice I liked the least.”

    I’ve also noticed that my 3-year-old has acquired some verbal tics. Namely, the way I say “Sure!” and the way his father says “But…but…but…” It’s like the aural equivalent of seeing yourself in a funhouse mirror.

  31. Gwensarah on April 11th, 2014 7:31 am

    “I know, right?” is one both me and my son use all. the. time. I’m also guilty of “ugh, I just can’t with (insert whatever I am so done with)” yup, 38 and I’m fluent in tumblr :p

  32. Mia on April 11th, 2014 11:59 am

    It’s probably a good thing I don’t have kids because they’d constantly say-I know right, for fucks sake, and what the shit (Archer, watch it if you haven’t). Also had a roommate & in real life we didn’t have the same voice, but on the phone we are identical. Our mothers, friends, and boyfriends could not tell us apart. I’ve actually listened to a phone message from her & couldn’t figure out why I was leaving myself this message.

  33. mmoxx on June 7th, 2014 2:53 am

    As a very self conscious person, I think it is profoundly unfair that my voice sounds so different in my head than it does out in the real world. The voice in my head is throaty and intelligent. My recorded voice: a damn chipmunk. Anyway, point being, you are not alone.

  34. Em on July 18th, 2014 5:48 pm

    I’m from Boston. And I named my son Charlie. What was I thinking?

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