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The three hardest things to say

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I’m not sure who decided that if sending one cute animal picture, or joke, or cartoon, or sign or bumper sticker or T-shirt saying via email is a good idea, sending 20 at a time is an even better idea. It isn’t.

I love to get a quick message that makes me smile, and I can even manage a batch or four or five at a time, but these seemingly unending collections are simply annoying. Sometimes I scroll through them and sometimes I don’t, but I very seldom send them on, even when they include some clever stuff.

But recently, a real gem appeared on my screen. It wins a prize both for brevity and impact. It reads: The three hardest things to say are: 1. I was wrong. 2. I need help. 3. Worcestershire sauce.

Have you ever noticed how seldom Worcestershire sauce pops up in conversation? Most kitchens have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce. It lives there along with the mayonnaise and ketchup and mustard and all the other condiments, and usually lasts a long time because recipes only call for a spoonful, or maybe just a dash, whatever that is. It’s something most people have, but nobody talks about. It’s too hard to pronounce.

On those rare occasions when I have to say it out loud, I try to just blurt it out without thinking. What comes out is usually close enough to correct for the listener to know what I mean. But, if I think about it before I say it, I get all bogged down in syllables, and other problem words like Leicester and Chichester get muddled up with it there in my head, and what comes out of my mouth is not necessarily coherent.

So, I think I’ll leave Worcestershire sauce on the shelf and concentrate on getting better at saying those more important hard things — “I was wrong” and “I need help” — instead.

Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.