I have a friend who is a middle school English teacher. I’ve known him for several years now and there are things about him that never cease to amaze me about him. The one thing that amazes me the most, however, would have to be his keen and almost encyclopedic knowledge of Webster’s Dictionary of the English language, except that I would like to ask that you respectfully replace “Webster’s Dictionary of the English language” with a song entitled “Slaves Built the Pyramids.”
I don’t claim to be some sort of English savant that hangs out with English every Saturday to play poker or some shit, but I do consider myself at the very least above-average at the incredible craft that is English. When one encounters an English teacher, the natural reaction would be to most likely humble yourself in the English department of your life. The main thought that comes to mind is, “This guy’s an actual English teacher, if I try to flaunt my fancy-pants English around he may trump me with the use of intimidating words and these semicolons I hear so much about.”
Thanks to my friend the English teacher (who for the sake of anonymity we will call “Buddy” from now on), I have never encountered that situation. It wasn’t until after I had met and talked with Buddy that it was revealed that he was an English teacher, which admittedly confused me. Talking with someone you can usually get a good feeling about their understanding and grasp of the English language, and my immediate reaction when talking to Buddy is that he was kind of a “bro”. So when the information that he was a middle school English teacher was revealed to me, I was immediately suspect.
“There’s no way,” I thought to myself. Now, I wish that the end of this long story was me being proved wrong and he actually has a shrine to Mark Twain in his closet, but alas life is not like in the movies. Everyday I am only reaffirmed of my initial thought when dealing with Buddy. Don’t get me wrong, Buddy is a nice person and that’s all well and good, but Buddy chose a strange profession for one still attempting to excavate past the meaning of high school level vocabulary and writing.
As such, I felt it only right to present you (the reader) with some of my findings. I shall update this list weekly (or bi-weekly depending on if Buddy’s having a good vocabulary week) with words that I think a middle school English teacher should know but quite frankly does not. This isn’t meant to be a big list trying to make fun of Buddy, except that just kidding it totally is.
- Solace – As Buddy put it when he had to look it up when I used it in a text message to attempt to demean him in some way, solace means “something that gives comfort.” It’s a very basic word that I knew, when sending a text message using the word, Buddy would have no clue what it would mean. After spending many years being friends with Buddy, it’s almost guaranteed which parts of the dictionary will confuse him the most. The X session probably just looks like mayhem to him, or possibly an MS Escher painting. Actually, Buddy almost guaranteed has no clue who MC Escher is.
- Parthenon – Admittedly, the Parthenon isn’t really a vocabulary word as much as it is a place. The reason it’s listed here, however, is that Buddy is much older than I am. I’m currently 21 and Buddy is about 26. Not everyone knows exactly what role the Parthenon played in history, but goddamnit if you’re a 26 year old middle school English teacher I would hope that you would know how to recognize and pronounce the word. Buddy pronounced it “Parthemom”, which brings to mind the question what does Buddy think a parthemom is? It’s got the suffix -mom, which might imply maternal aspects to this building. This might be the club house for moms who like to…parthe…things? Maybe parthe has to do with partitions? It kinda sounds like part, as in to part like the Red Sea. Yes, this makes sense. This is what it is.
- Intercourse – Get your mind out of the gutter sonny, I’m talking about the literal definition here. Admittedly, this may have less to do with Buddy’s grasp of the English language and more a result of the society we live in today. I would be more inclined to believe this statement if it weren’t for the fact that Buddy is an English teacher. Intercourse literally means “dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.” When two people talk with each other, they are having intercourse. This is something I learned my freshman year of high school; this is something that Buddy never learned. This goes back to Buddy’s “brotastic” personality. Buddy’s world revolves around making inappropriate sex jokes and farting every 5 seconds, so it’s not odd that when he hears the word “intercourse” he immediately wants to start talking about his sexual escapades. Except that Buddy is a middle school English teacher. Welp.
Expect this list to grow exponentially (Buddy knows this word) as I find more words that Buddy should yet doesn’t know. It’ll be like a science experiment, except that my thesis has already been proven so I’m continuing it for the absolute shit of it.