A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Paul made the computer say "dung." Laughter exploded like a simile best left unsaid.

The great Earth/Arse mishap of 2006 has taken a hilarious new spin. It's since gone full circle, so now, instead of referring to the Earth as an arse, the kids now refer to an arse as "Earth." Needless to say this drew some interesting geographical parallels.
Today I was peacefully preparing a lesson plan in the teacher's room, when Paul wandered in and, as is his prerogative, began talking about dung and how much he loves it. He grilled me on the proper English term for what was, in his words, "Earth-ache" (read: arse-ache). I told him there wasn't really a word for such a specific ailment, but he persisted.

"Teacher! Really, there is no word for when your... this... hurts?"

The 'this' was accompanied by him bending over and pointing to his... well... butt-crack for lack of a more dignified term.

He then made a remark at which I had to use all of my willpower to force-in that terrible encouraging laughter— the bane of my teaching career.

"Teacher! If this is the 'Earth' then this is 'equator'?" again, gesturing to aforementioned crack.

Let's give credit where credit is due. For an 8-year-old to make that kind of word association in a foreign language is pretty clever... in a latrine-y kind of way.

Which brings me to last night when Paul laughed harder than I've ever seen in the last 4 months.

I was perusing the internets on my free class after dinner on Thursday, and left the computer to make some green tea. When I got back, Paul had snuck into the room and looked up at me with a borderline diabolical grin.

"Teacher, do you want to seeeeee?" He drew out the last syllable with ominous... ness?

I braced for the worse and craned my head around the desk to get a look at the computer screen. Paul had apparently stumbled on an English pronunciation website via Naver (the Korean search engine) which provides a one-click audio sound byte of particular English words.

He clicked.

"Dung," the computer said neutrally.

Paul erupted as if he hadn't laughed since he'd been born. Tears streamed down his cheeks and he fell, twitching, onto the keyboard.

I dragged him away from the chair and resumed my online idling. I made the mistake of turning my back to the monitor to get a textbook from the shelf, while leaving an open Wikipedia search page within reach.

I heard giggles and key-clicking and knew what was being done.

"Teacher?" I heard before turning around, "Guess what?"

"What Paul?" I sighed.

"COW DUNG!" he roared, pointing to the screen.

And again with the waterworks.

This child's self-described "love" of dung is just shy of worrying. I have 8 more months to make a conclusive evaluation. That's one golden reason to keep reading folks!


Anonymous said...

One day when that boy is all grown up, he's going to walk into a casino, find out they have a game called 'craps', and he will take a seizure.

This.Impetus said...

I was going to try and write something funny here but Shane has just made me hurt myself so I think I'm going to bow out.