Mostly True Memoirs


Can laughter make you smarter?

This was a very interesting question posed to me today.

My answer, as an ESL teacher, is a qualified yes.

Qualified because the non-stop class clown jokes are distracting and not at all helpful.

However, it is a public speaking axiom that when the audience is laughing, they are leaning in to listen.

With that in mind, I always try to get at least a chuckle out of every class session.

In teaching conversation, the human connection is far more important than grammar rules or vocabulary lists.

If I can garner so much as a hint of a smile, I know I will have a successful ESL session with that student.

Mostly True Memoirs


I’m the language teacher.

I’m the one who is fluent in English.

But sometimes my students leave me utterly speechless…

Today’s English topic was “At the Gym.”

The class started talking about yoga.

Fair enough.

But then one man said that he refuses to practice yoga.

“If I practice yoga, I will turn into a woman.”

The rest of the class agreed.

They discussed men they knew who began doing yoga.

And then turned into a woman.

Oh goodness.

That’s not how it works.

And this is NOT a discussion topic that I intend to moderate.

I redirected the conversation to swimming.

Note to self – NEVER discuss yoga again.

Mostly True Memoirs

Spanish Lesson

I was in line at the grocery store.

The old guy in front of me had on a shirt with a Spanish phrase.

Underneath, it said, “you are my friend.”

The woman behind me said, “That’s not what that means.”

“You’re right,” I said, “That doesn’t mean ‘friend’.”

“I think it means ‘jerk’.”

“Let’s Google it.”

The old guy protested his innocence.

He swore he didn’t know what it meant.

But he was cracking up.

And he spoke with a Spanish accent.

His sincerity was questionable.

By this time the clerk was interested.

So were the rest of the folks in line.

It turns out that the phrase does not mean “you are my friend.”

Not even close.

But we all had a good laugh.

And now I know a new expression in Spanish.

Mostly True Memoirs


We took the kayaks out to Lake Palo Pinto for their maiden voyage.

We rowed and rowed and rowed and rowed and rowed.

And then realized that we had to row back in.

It was windy and hot and uphill in every direction.

I lost my will to live somewhere around the Palo Pinto Dam.

It sank right to the bottom of the lake.

When we returned, we had a cold beer and a hot meal waiting for us.

So it was all good.

If anyone ever finds my will to live out there,

just reel it in,

and I’ll come and pick it up.

Mostly True Memoirs


Writing this blog is hard.

Well, the writing part isn’t hard.

It’s the blogging part that’s hard.

I am not a tech person.

There are a million things that I don’t understand.

So there I was, in the chat box with the IT guy,

asking yet another question.

We were chatting for a long, long, LONG time,

when I realized that he had already answered my question.

At the very beginning of the chat.

If only I had followed his instructions…

I’m probably the reason he’s going to drink heavily tonight.

And be late for work tomorrow.

Sorry, IT guy.

I’d like to promise that it won’t happen again.

But it probably will…

Mostly True Memoirs

Awkward English Class

Today I had an IT engineer in my English class.

He was the only male in attendance with several female students.

He convinced the ladies that their husbands were running around,

and he could help them spy on their guys with their iPhones.

For a small fee.

One woman was very interested.

I tried to steer the conversation away from this very awkward topic.

But my students were determined.

They spoke to each other in Vietnamese.

I’m sure they were exchanging stalking information.

I do not want to know how this story ends.

I’m just here to teach English.