Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tales From The Front: Two Girls, A Tongue, And A Pun

Trying to get the final edition of the literary magazine out before we all lose our sanity has proven to be a major challenge for my staff and me. Both my poetry and fiction editors are seniors; they are inundated with pretty heady stuff this time of year: college scholarships, bigass papers, prom, the musical, and naturally, each is also an officer in at least one other school organization. Beth and Michelle also work at least 15 hours a week at an outside job, take all honors and Advanced Placement courses, and as a result of all this, are chronically sleep-deprived.

For the past couple of weeks, we've been stealing periods here and there and time after school to read submissions, edit, type, and do the graphics for what will be our last issue. I ply them with chocolate and sneak them coffee from the lounge when their energy shows signs of flagging.
Recently, Michelle was reading a piece of short fiction and crabbing about the typos and spelling. "Why is this so hard?" she moaned. She picked up my red pen and circled the word "tong" in the story. "Tongue!" she yelled. "Tongue! Not tong!" Angrily above the misspelled word, she wrote t-o-u-n-g-e.
"Er, Michelle?" I said. "It's t-o-n-g-u-e."
Michelle looked at me, stunned. Then she folded her arms on my desk and buried her face in them. From the depths I heard a muffled voice, "Oh God. Maybe I should take a writing course before I sign up for this gig."

On Friday, Beth sat down at my computer to do the page layouts. Suddenly, she was overcome with a fit of sneezing. Michelle and I blessed her a few times, but soon it became not only tedious, but pointless. She was going to sneeze, that's all there was to it, and we had work to do. Finally, I said, "Geeze, Beth! What the heck?"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. D.," she said. "I have some kind of allergies. I'm not sick."
"Well, you're really pissing us off," Michelle pointed out. "We have a crapload of work to do, and you're no fun."
"Honestly," I agreed. "It's very selfish. Here we are, stuck on a Friday with all this junk to read and edit, getting punchy, and you're sneezing for apparently no reason."
"It happens every time I go into a building," Beth said. "When I'm outside, I'm fine."
"What the heck kind of dumb allergy is that?" Michelle sneered.
"Apparently, Beth has an edifice complex," I said triumphantly, and high-fived my appreciative staff.

I'm gonna miss these girls.


  1. Hehehe... It must be very hard to see them go off into the world. We used to tell my father (who often falls into fits of sneezing) that he "just wasn't trying hard enough..." It is a long standing joke based on my mother actually saying that for real one time.

  2. You need to be careful in displaying such wit in a public forum - the government might try to take you away and find a way to bottle it. Oh, wait, Bush is still in office...

  3. I know you'll miss them ,Nance.

    SO, when they are leaving on their last day with you, take a tip from the Jedi English teacher and bid them good bye with this:


  4. The tongue thing...PRICELESS!

  5. An edifice complex? Nance, they're going to miss YOU.

  6. v-grrrl--LOL. Gosh,I hope so.

    tera--oh, you should have seen her face. it was like a cartoon character's...she just stopped, stared at me, and looked like someone had pulled a plug on her.

    nancy--lol--we have a mousepad in the lounge with that exact pun on it.

    i.h.--republicans don't get it. period. so i'm safe for now. only FOR NOW.

    laura--oh, i know! after a while, "bless you" is so boring. sometimes i say, "now you're just showing off" if it's a multiple sneezer.

  7. "t-o-u-n-g-e"--Ha! George Bernard Shaw would enjoy this. What surprises me is the original student's spelling, "t-o-n-g." You'd think the writer would at least goof it down to "t-u-n-g."

  8. I'm suspecting they will look back on this time with you the way I look back at my most favorite High School teachers...thankful that I had such wonderful people in my life at such a defining age.

  9. sputnik--I think it was a spell-check error thing.

    j.@jj--what a nice compliment. i thank you.

  10. Just popping by to say I LOVE the lil white bunny!

  11. All right,Nance I have to take a break from your challenges. I am giving up your blog for one week so I can rest up.

    I cannot stop thinking of the kid with the bread in your class.

    In bed at night,I think of more puns like:

    He didn't knead any more of your rye remarks.

    So, good bye till next Friday......

  12. ck--oh, i love that shot, too.

    nancy--don't do it! you're too funny! that last one is the best.

  13. I'm just tong-tied. (And yeah, you will miss 'em.)


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