There are no bad owners, only bad dogs

2004-09-16

Ireland!

The Irish have come up with a fabulous invention called “Irish Whisky.” It is quite smooth and tasty, and I like it.

I have just had the most wonderful dinner with the most wonderful set of strangers. This makes being a grown up almost worth it. Well, tonight I discovered I had an eyebrow hair that was about an inch long, like Elmo Zumwalt’s. That part of being a grown up sucks. But back to dinner…

So, I had dinner with one home team player plus three lovely Irish folk, two men and one woman. Dinner was Italian as interpreted through an Irish lens, not so good, but since I had a cat food sandwich for lunch, it was adequate. One of the guys, Bob, is quite a storyteller. Here’s his best one:

He was a young man in secondary school (I’m guessing around grade 10 or 11 our time). His teacher was teaching a unit on poetry and spent the week discussing and dissecting a poem called These I Love, which was, obviously, about a lot of stuff the poet liked. This very well may be a very well-known poem that I am too ignorant to have read. So the teacher spends all week talking about assonance, alliteration, rhyming couplets, structure, etc. Now Bob has grown up to be a computer guy – as a matter of fact, he was one of THE computer guys back in the day. He has a linear mind, not good at English or poetry or all that soft squishy crap. So the weekend comes, and the class gets an assignment: write a poem called These I Hate. Use all of the literary devices and figurative language the class has learned about and use some rhyming couplets. Make it about crap you hate.

So Bob sets pen to paper and comes up with a poem that meets all of the specifications. It is full of alliteration (I may be misquoting, but I believe one line was Whirring wings of wasps and bees, and another was Squalid stench of swamp and fen or something along those lines). There were rhyming couplets galore. It was a poem. So he reads his poem aloud to the class, then submits this work to his teacher, who gives it a grade of 37%, in spite of the fact that he had met his specifications. Another student reads his poem, as well. This poem has no rhyme, no alliteration, none of the requirements asked for. This other student receives quite a high mark, something in the 90s. It wasn’t until later in life that Bob realized why Seamus Heaney’s poem was graded so much higher than his. Not until Seamus Heaney won the Nobel prize for literature, anyway.

If you’re an English teacher, you just came in your pants.

And some other things: A lot of people here look just like Gena; the Irish have beautiful teeth; the Irish drive better than the Brits; I got to ride in a Jag. I'm not sure if was a stype or not.

Oh! And the most exciting part: On the plane back from Belfast to London, one of my fellow passengers was Jerry Adams, the head of Sinn Fein. He was going to talk to Parliament about why his offices had been bugged. Apparently I was gawking at him like he was Elvis, because he said hi to me.

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