Henry Smouth of Providence, Rhode Island, and his mother-in-law Gladys Harp, were in one of their usual spats when Henry thought he saw his mother-in-law tearing up. Not wanting to make her cry, Henry was about to recant the statement and apologize for his uncaring remarks, but, as fate would have it, Henry suddenly bit his tongue unusually hard and became unable to eat his words. The words he had spoken, calling Gladys a meddling, ungrateful, unwelcome guest in his house, hung in the air unretractably. Sadly, the only thing Henry could do is scream like a banshee.
Awghshggt, sgmurbith was all that would come out of his mouth as he tried desperately to continue his conversation. Gladys, up until that moment, had been unable to get a word in edgewise, as Henry spewed his venom. Upon seeing what Henry had done to his tongue, she seized the opportunity given to finally put words into Henry’s mouth.
“It sounds like you want to apologize to me,” said Gladys, as Henry writhed in pain, pointing toward a water glass on the sink in the kitchen where they were battling it out. He continued to point at the water glass, but Gladys, happy to get the last word in for once, denied Henry the water. Instead, she proceeded to intentionally aggravate Henry by continually putting more words into his mouth.
“So I’m a meddler, am I, an unwelcome guest, and ungrateful at that,” said Gladys as Henry shook his head from side-to-side, trying to silently make amends but needing that water in the worst way.
Finally, Henry made it to the sink and took a few gulps of water, easing the pain in his tongue. This enabled him to mince his words, which in turn allowed him to swallow the harsh criticisms and finally get the apologies out to Gladys.
When all was said and done, the pain in Henry’s mouth abated, and Henry was able to take his words back. He told Gladys he was sorry for all the unkind things he said to her and to his amazement, his mother-in-law gave him a great big hug and told him, “you took the words right out of my mouth.”