When I taught grammar to my high school students, I really struggled to try to make it interesting, which, frankly, it usually wasn’t to anyone other than geeks like me who find that stuff engaging (and even I have my limits). So one of the things I did to combat complete and utter boredom was to make up funny sentences and stories, usually about the kids in my classes, that covered whatever aspects of grammar we were learning or reviewing at the moment.
I thought it might be fun to try this with etymology on this blog, as a way of reviewing the words I’ve covered thus far. I’m going to focus on some of the Latin words today, and reference words from all 10 lessons. So here’s a story like one I might concoct for my students to review the Latin words we’ve covered on An Island Mom. Have fun, and I’ll post the answers next week.
Once upon a time, there was a 16-year-old named Bobby O. His real name was Robert Yearlington Osterfastenboggnerville, but early on, his mom called him Bobby O, due in part to a fascination with Jackie O that could not be satiated with dressing her daughters in pillbox hats, as she had none. (Daughters, that is. She actually had a plethora of pillbox hats, but that’s another story for another day.) Anyhow, Bobby O had several commonplace teenage characteristics that nonetheless gave him great angst, including braces with head gear that made him look rather A. ___________, an inordinate amount of zits, a habit of tripping in large public settings, a tendency toward loud hiccups when nervous, and most unfortunately, a voice like Donkey on Shrek.
Yes, it was true, the teenage years had dealt Bobby O a low blow. However, his one redeeming characteristic, his B. ____________, always seemed to save him in the end.
There was the time last spring, for instance, when the Economics Can Be Fun II teacher, widely considered the meanest person to ever walk the halls of C. ____________ High (a charter school for those especially gifted with an abundance of “energy”) singled out Bobby O. She was known for her uncanny ability to figure out the kids who had not done the previous night’s reading and for her habit of then publicly humiliating them for it, and on this particular day, she called on Bobby O. Bobby O had not, I’m sorry to report, done the reading. He had tried, but his obsession with the D. ____________ form had caused him to stay up all night, working on the rhyme scheme for a poem he had been composing off and on since eighth grade for Tildy Jones, his long-term crush. Thus, when the economics teacher smelled the readinglessness on him, she began drilling him, the sarcasm and tiny remnants of breakfast dripping from her Clinique-adorned lips. Thinking quickly, Bobby O became E. ____________, and went on for a full 20 minutes about everything from his iPhone’s latest Barney app to the intrinsic marketability of Paula Abdul. This made him exceeding popular with his peers, as it gave the economics teacher no time to hunt down any other non-readers that day.
At P.E. later that morning, as all the students took out their F. ____________ to measure their required 10K around the track (a school-wide classroom management strategy that basically involves wearing the students out by mid-morning), a couple of kids from the infamous economics class gave Bobby O an appreciate pat on the back, which predictably sent him pitching forward onto the track. No matter for Bobby O, who quickly quoted a G. ___________ on how falling flat on your face builds character, ignoring the fact that it wasn’t meant to be interpreted literally. The kids all laughed, despite the puzzled expressions on their faces, and Bobby O popped back up again, smiling.
Unfortunately, mid-run, Bobby O’s headgear snapped off his face and went airborne, thus proving that his H. ____________ for the school paper, Flying Metal Face, was really not that far off. Ever I. ____________ in his approach to emergencies, Bobby ran madly around the track, yelling “Duck and Cover!” and tackling anyone to the ground who didn’t drop immediately of their own volition. The track was a wild mess of teenage chaos, as everyone fell or was thrown to the ground while the headgear spun madly above them. Then, just as all seemed lost, the economics teacher, who had noticed the chaos on the track while passing by a nearby window, ran to the track and, not knowing what else to do, remembered a phrase from her favorite reality TV series Officers of the Court Are in Your Face, and yelled “Cease and desist, young people!” while she entered the track.
Alas, the head gear had reached its literal zenith in the sky, and now headed downward, spinning rapidly, until it landed smack-dab on the economics teacher’s brand new hair extensions, pulling several of them out as it made landing. The teacher screamed, this time a mumble-jumble of indistinguishable words, as she pulled the head-gear from her hair, with several hair extensions now attached to it instead of to her head. At this, most of the students and the PE teacher fled the scene, not wanting to be present when the economics teacher unleashed her already-apparent fury. Not Bobby O, however. He stood resolute, and ever the J. ____________ one, quickly admitted the entangled head-gear was his and apologized for not “keeping better track of it.”
He could see the apology wasn’t working, so he thought quickly, and remembered the teacher was a germaphobe, a topic that she skillfully wove into the discussions in class with regularity. “You know you’re sitting right where Tildy Jones threw up last month,” he began, accentuating his Donkey voice for added effect, and pointed to a spot right beside her on the track. She froze for a half-second, and then bolted, leaving his head gear and her extensions lying on the track.
Bobby O smiled, pleased with how he was able to K. ____________ the termination of an unpleasant scene with a bit of L. ____________ acumen.