OK. I'm not sure if you've experienced this... but something that drives me crazy (even when I do it myself) is filler words in conversation, presentations, etc. You know, it is the thing people do when they can't think of what they want to say next. (aaaahhhh... ummmmmm... blah blah blah) You get the picture.

It's probably a Toastmasters hold out habit (when I belonged to this club they used to throw a quarter into a tin can filled with change everytime you used a filler word in your speech. It was very un-nerving!) Nonetheless... that is probably why it drives me insane.

So, the other day my friend JC and I were talking about the rain and I realized in mid-sentence that I would need to take my umbrella to work. As I said this aloud to him I elongated the first syllable of uuuummmmbrella.

At that moment we both started laughing. He would say "um" and I would follow with "brella" and vice versa. We did it for ten minutes I bet. Then we got JTC doing it, too.

Hilarious... or at least we thought it was funny.

Then, it occured to me this would be an hysterical way to help myself and others stop using the "um" filler word.

I tested it at lunch the other day with some friends from work. One person said "um" and I said "brella." Of course, I then had to explain the whole story and we ended up doing it to each other through out the rest of lunch.

It was a hoot.

Now, two days later, a co-worker came over to me and said, "I was just in a meeting with someone who said 'um' in front of every other sentence. It was torture... because all I could think of was 'brella' while I smirked. I'm sure she thought I was laughing at her."

So, next time you hear someone pause and say "UMMM..." your response is: "BRELLA!"

It's refreshing, helpful and FUNNY.

If we all do it... it just might catch on and sweep the city! Wouldn't it be cool if everyone in Nashville walked around laughing about "ummm...BRELLA"?!

It would be like our little inside joke.

Who knows where this FABULOUS idea could go?!

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