I took German in high school. It wasn’t the smartest choice, thinking back about it. My eighth grade year, we had the opportunity to take “mini-courses” during the last class of the day each quarter. I took an introduction to German, and it was all downhill from there.
The course was taught by the high school principal, and being the generally shunned person I was before I miraculously grew breasts and boys stopped teasing me, the principal and I were pretty cordial. He knew probably too much about my difficult home life, having helped my mother get her car dislodged from the practice football field when she passed out at the wheel picking me up from a high school dance.
I took well to the language, having picked a bit of pronunciation from my drunken mother’s wailing from her happier army days living in Germany. So, although I wanted to learn Spanish in high school like all the sane humans who realized the growing Latin population would warrant at least a minor familiarity with the language.
But, as expected, the class filled early, and I got into German I, which made my mother jubilant. It gave her an excuse to divert already-tight family funds into her personal vacation fund so she could go on the class trip to Germany. It didn’t matter that it made more sense to learn Spanish. The woman wanted to go, and that was the end of it.
Still, I excelled as long as I took the language. I did very well almost all the way through until my senior year. (And we did take that stupid trip, by the way, but that’s a tragic story for another day.) But shortly after graduation, the need for speaking it pretty much dropped off entirely. But, I became acutely aware of how much Spanish would have been helpful, not only because of all the people I would interact with in my life outside the Podunk town where I grew up who only spoke it, but because a lot of nice places to travel were primarily Spanish-speaking countries.
But it’s not only the responsible part of me that wants to know how to speak Spanish. The silly part of my brain wants to learn the silly phrases, mostly because even the most serious phrase in German sounds like you’re telling a joke. In Spanish, I imagine it would be much more hilarious. Mostly because they won’t be able to tell if I’m joking or my language skills are just that awful.
Here are a sampling of the phrases I want to learn silly phrases in Spanish, and then deliver with sincerity:
“This soup tastes like delicious farts.”
“Your wife would fit nicely in my Winnebago. May I take her measurements to be sure?”
“May I make a sandwich from your hair?”
“Will your donkey give me a foot rub?”
“Can I make sunscreen out of your children?”