Friday, December 18, 2009

How I became the butt of a joke

In my last post, I promised an embarrassing school story; it takes place when I was in fourth grade. A couple of things to keep in mind as you read: I had really bad taste in TV shows when I was nine; and, all evidence to the contrary, I am actually a good speller.

At some point during the year, my teacher, Ms. Marshall, gave us a creative writing assignment. I was not short on imagination as a kid, but I usually found creative writing kind of frustrating, often because we were supposed to write poetry. (I don't like to write poetry, and I'm terrible at it.) This assignment, though, was different: we could write about a favorite book or TV character. Since I was a little TV junkie, that was right up my alley. I chose to write about one of my favorite shows, The Dukes of Hazzard. (See? Terrible taste, I told you.)

Since I had imagination to spare, I didn't just write a standard Bo-and-Luke-car-jumpin'-yee-haw-adventure story. Instead, I decided to expand the role of one of the lesser-known characters--Enos, the hapless straight-man deputy to Sherriff Rosco P. Coltrane. (I was clearly ahead of my time! I'm talking about early Duke-boy fanfic, here.) I crafted my story with all of the enthusiasm of Ralphie writing his Red Ryder BB-gun essay. There was just one problem: since I was only nine, and I had never met anyone named "Enos," I didn't know how to spell it. Following years of advice from teachers, I "sounded it out" and decided it should be spelled A-n-u-s. Oh, yeah. You read that right. I turned in a story about a horrible country-bumpkin-stereotype TV show...featuring a main character named "Anus."

So, what does a good fourth-grade teacher do, when faced with a situation like this? When Ms. Marshall handed back my graded story (I think I got a "B"), she included a note for my mom. I was completely freaked out, of course; notes from teachers are never a good thing, and I wasn't the type of kid to get in trouble, anyway. I didn't open the note, but gave it to my mom, with great trepidation. I was expecting my mom to explode, and she did--but it was laughter, not yelling. Ms. Marshall had laughed so hard at my story that she simply had to write a note to tell Mom about it--and to advise that Mom explain to me why "Anus" was not an appropriate name for a literary character.

So, that's my little tale. My mom, grandmother, and teacher all had a good laugh, and I was left feeling indignant that my spelling error overshadowed what I thought was a literary masterpiece. Fortunately, that bad experience did not cause me to lose interest in writing, and I love blogging. Now, though, I make sure that I check my spelling very carefully. Spelling mistakes like that one could lead to some REALLY embarrassing Google searches.


Kathy said...

Oh, you poor dear. So much for phonetics, eh? But don't you get points for consistency? I bet you didn't misspell Anus once in your paper.

And I just got the title you gave this post. (I'm a little slow).

JD at I Do Things said...


Oh, my gosh. That's hilarious. That reminds me of a similar incident when I was maybe a little older. I LOVED using "big" words in my creative writing assignments, looking up words in a thesaurus and choosing whatever word had the most letters.

So I used the word "ejaculated" in a sentence, and I did use it correctly, you know, in it's meaning as an exclamation. I didn't get a note for my mom, but I'm sure the teacher got a kick out of it.

absepa said...

Kathy: You're right--Anus was spelled correctly..every one of the 495 times I wrote it. I don't usually do puns, but that one was just a gimme.

JD: I'm sure your teacher was pretty amused! I'm guilty of "big word overusage," too. I love to read dictionaries.