The Tourette Syndrome

Before I tell this story, I want to be sure that everyone knows that coprolalia (uncontrollable obscenities) affects only about 20% of the Tourette population. Most people only have the tics and/or obsessive compulsive behaviors.

A friend of mine who has Tourette with coprolalia was telling me how embarassing it can be to live in a big city with this disorder. She has a tic which she calls her nigger tic. One of her close friends is a black woman, and some of us think that her tics come from that relationship. All of us wonder sometimes how she manages to stay alive.

She had gone to the bank one day before ATMs to get money for her vacation. Unluckily, she managed to get in line behind a tall black man who was obviously a body builder. He was wearing a neon purple sweater with no sleeves, and my friend knew right then she may be in trouble.

Her tics began with repeating the word purple under her breath, but with the stress of waiting in a long line, they began to get louder and louder.

Then, as she feared, the nigger tic began. By the time the man in front of her reached the front of the line, she was regularly sputtering out purple … nigger … purple … nigger

The man turnedaround to look at her, and she thought for sure he would kill her. Instead, he said Maam, youve definitely got a problem if you think niggers are purple.

I apologize if some of you found this language offensive. One of the facts about coprolalia is that you say the worst things you can manage without wanting to. Most people dont even really feel the things they say. None of the language here reflects the views of my friend or the author.

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