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

Friday, March 23, 2007

Middle finger climb

"Teacher! You can speak the dog sound?"

"Um... I could if I wanted to... why do you ask?"

"Outside, there, in the street I see a..." he took a moment to confer with his classmates in Korean, looking for the proper word:

"A dung dog!"

"A dung dog? Like, a very dirty dog?"

"Oh yes teacher, so dirty! Korean say 'dung dog!'"

"NOOOOO!" another piped up, "Teacher! It is not dung dog, it is 'lost family dog!'"

"Oh... stray dog."

"Yes! Yes! Stray dog! I see a... that... in the street and I make middle finger climb!" the first student says, and fake flips a double-bird.

"You showed your middle finger to a stray dog?" I asked confused.

"Yes! Two time, and he liked it very much."

"How do you know he liked it?"

"I don't know... it was just his mind. His tail moving."

I had to suppress the image in my mind as the story was being told to me. When I finally got out of the class, I fell into a fit of laughter imagining this floppy haired 10-year-old in his red and white Hapkedo uniform, wandering through town flipping off stray dogs. It was just too much.

Learning swears and rude gestures in another language is a focal point for any student. When I was a kid, I remember the brouhaha caused by the first person in French class who learned the word merde. It really hit the fan.

Likewise with flipping people, creatures, and inanimate objects off. There is something ridiculously funny about someone emphatically, and repeatedly giving the double finger to something/one. As with most things, it's even funnier when Korean kids do it.

So the next time you see a "dung dog" wandering the street, flip it off, and make its day.


Anonymous said...

That kid totally flipped off a box of kittens. lol

This reminds me of the time I watched a student frantically giving middle fingers to the back of a classmate's head. The ultimate insult.

Sam said...

It's just so funny!