Saturday, March 31, 2007

Say “cheese”

Dismal as it may seem, I think smiles have become cliché in today’s world. They have become fake-toothy footholds for achieving desired feats. They have aligned themselves with insincere compliments and other forced fronts (like inappropriate shoulder-nudges and winks), intended to gain selfish and flashy results.

These days, it’s not uncommon to see a full canine through molar spread while looking into the face of the lady who wants to shut off your electricity, screw your boyfriend, and repossess your prized, albeit obscure, book collection.

That’s why I hereby declare a Real Smile Revival!

If we all come together with the mission of embracing smiles for sincerity and honesty, we can eradicate those trivial, emotionally-prosthetic lip crescents based on bulldung and personal gain. We can bring the “true smile” back to the people!

So, tell me: How are YOU going to promote the advancement of honest, candid Smiles?

Here’s how I did it:

I took a batch of English language students in Seattle.
I carefully examined their old ID’s and Driverse Licenses to make sure that they had no history of previous public Smiling.
I arranged them in a semi-social stance, stood with them, and told them that the Tooth Fairy was real.

Ok... honestly, that's not true at all. These are some of my students I bumped into while cruising the International district with my boyfriend, father and step-mother.

They are genuine smilers and require no "real smile" mobilization.

In fact, they could probably care less if armies of "Insincere Smilers" continued to walk the streets indiscriminately.

Nonetheless, I call today for a recall of all imitation Smiles! Let over-worked lip muscles relax, let chapped teeth have safe haven from unnecessary social blizzards, and let sincere mouth manifestations of happiness and laughter prevail!

(... and let creamy, representational praise to obscure european cheese deities be socially acceptable!)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Undercover Trans-Slacktions

You are smart. You are beautiful. You have two dozen False Claim Convictions duct-taped to the bottoms of your belt notches. You have half a bullet and a full piece of Altoid Box shrapnel in your left nostril from the last time you dove in front of a crippled puppy to save its life.

You are an undercover, Craigslist Intelligence Agent, on the job.

Your mission today is to pick up a package from one of the most dangerous of Craigslist Posters: Melissa “Yeah, sounds Perfecto” Flake.

She is known for having never shown up to at least three parties she told her friends she would, and for having “forgotten” to call her best friend back, even though it was a “911/ like, super urgent” crisis.

She is armed and scandalous. Beware of her transparent attempts at cunning excuses, and of her cocked, pistolic voice-messaging ploy.

Meet her at the Issaquah Albertsons, 10 a.m.


What?! She never showed up? She didn’t bring you the crappy cell phone you were going to give her cash for? She didn’t even call? You must have blown your Flake-Busting cover! What Kind of a Craigslist Intelligence Agent do you call yourself?!

Despite your failure, we here at the CIA think your proven, social, Convict-Flake-exposing skills still warrant you one more chance.

His name is Josh “uses lots of LOLs in Craigslist transactions” Stoner.

He will meet you in front of Walmart at 11:30 a.m. with a scratched old cell phone and a charger.

Be cautious—any wrong move could trigger a bong circle and potentially dangerous Poetry Slam in Walmart’s car maintenance aisle.


What?! He showed up? What? He provided the goods promised in between LOLs?! What? The transaction went smoothly?! What? There was no bong session on corporate tricycles?!! He must have been on to you!

You’re fired!


Note from –c:
Yes, after many a harrowing email correspondence, and one wasted drive, I managed to replace my expired cell phone without having to deal with redtape-trained teenagers at Verizon. Yippee!!! Now, if I could only get the CIA off my ass…
Apparently, I'm not doing my job.

*Picture again, courtesy of Mr. E

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Of bite-less dogs, proverbs, and ESL teaching to doctors

We were exchanging proverbs while talking current events.

“A dog who pontificates loudly and speaks... er… without halt…. He cannot… yes, he cannot, before stop, make blood from your ankle.”

My Romanian student smiled sheepishly, as if asking her perfectionist, Gastrology-studied Self for permission to be silly. After apparently having received said permission, she embarked on a theatrical, gesturing voyage that involved opening and closing her thumb and index finger as if they had been pasted together by slow-drying rubber cement.

“Yes. Some dogs, you know, speaks dissertations loudly,” she explained as her thumb and pointer finger kissed each other in rapid, uninterrupted succession.

Ok, I thought: some dogs talk a lot.

“And these dogs,” she continued, eyebrow-pointing at her spastic fore-finger, crabclaw-like performance, “do not can bite for blood.”

Her fingers deflated, bored.

Ok, I thought… Edward ScissorHands can’t cut hair artistically….verbose dogs don’t draw bloodloud dogs have no bite

“His bark is worse than his bite!” I cried, proud and relieved. I’d finally gotten what she was trying so dramatically to tell me.

“No! No!” she almost yelled, breaking enthusiastically from her characteristic, Med Grad stoicism, “like this, but different. He is like a empty cup who makes many bubbles, but has no boiling water…”

Alright, I thought… A Mormon beer carries no kickone passionate individual does not sway the social tidea peacock's plume out-weighs its meat…?

“No,” she clarified, “ He is like a loud dog with too much talk, but decreased thought. It’s means this dog is not of cleverness, but he boils his water anyway.”

And, finally, I understood the English proverb she was trying to find:

“Empty vessels make the most noise.”

And, yes, yes, my Romanian med student agreed and went on to explain how stupid (as she put it: “non-clever”) people often tend to talk too much.

And, though I wanted to point out how interesting the cross-cultural parallels between our respective proverbs were…

I shut up.

I couldn’t say another word.

After all, who wants to be a barking, empty vessel? Or a boiling dog bitch with no vampiric bite?

**Edit/Update: And, now you can see, perhaps, why teaching English as a second language can drive one slowly insane...