Psychoanalysis > Freudian Slips and Mistakes

A Reading Error with the Word "Charms"

By J. Jones

One of our visitors tells us about a faulty act, or more precisely a reading error. We give him the word.

In short, I was shopping at the Moll. I remember paying at one of the cashiers - there were only two - and that the other one was charming. The one I paid at went back to the other (there were no more customers in line) and started a dialogue about a young boy who was sitting just a few steps away. I understood from a few fragments of conversation and more precisely from the tone of the conversation that they knew each other and the charming girl - let's call her Alice - seemed to be attracted by the boy or she was acting as if she was interested in him in an erotic manner.

I headed towards one of the Moll's exits and I saw a pharmacy shop in front of me. I realized that reading the name on the shop I had made a mistake: instead of "pharmacy" I read "charms". [In the native language of the author of this account pharmacy and charms sounds very much alike. J Jones].

I have instantly realized that the word "charms" was related to Alice's discussion with the young man as I had been under the impression she was trying to "charm" him. The word "charm" is usually used in the common language to express someone's desire to attract at an erotic level somebody else. In my reading error I have replaced "pharmacy" with "charms" because I was still under the impression that Alice was charming that young man.

I wonder, however, a failed act such as this - a reading error- must highlight something which was repressed. I do not think I have repressed the idea that the girl was charming the boy. I see no reason why I should have repressed this idea in some moment of my life that was not affecting me personally!

J. Jones: There was no repression involved in the scene you have described but it might still be connected to something personal, much more intimate, something related to not so pleasant memories. You have to get back with other details for the analysis. For example, what does the name Alice you have chosen as a pseudonym for the pretty cashier means to you. It might be related to a girl from your life and to a similar scene in which you were heart morally (psychically).

NB. We have not received a supplementary explanation from the author of this slip. When (or if) we will receive it, we will publish it here.

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