Why yo laugh? Why yo laugh? That was Mrs Tobaad (not her real name), my exasperated French teacher. A group of us gave her a hard time. She truly wanted to help make me proficient. I just couldn’t help laughing in that class. Her accent was funny to me and the French words sounded amusing. 

I never missed a French class. “Un voleur” to me, the way it was pronounced meant, “he is flying away” in Yoruba language. I was lost in that class. “Comment allez-vous”, sounded like  “get the girl pregnant” in my mother tongue. (Urhobo). Mrs Tobaad never understood why we were laughing. I can still hear her “why yo laugh”? “why yo laugh”, as I am writing.

Out of all the words, “Mademoiselle” made me laugh the most. The way it was pronounced was the reason. We used our very thick African baritone accent to pronounce it. “Moode mooo selleee”. It sounded like something that makes you feel important. Well, we weren’t wrong. Women are important. 

I suspect that wonderful lady didn’t like me. Imagine, she always gave me 2 out of 100. She despised my efforts at choosing to improving my French writing, instead of my French speaking. In exam class, I took pains in copying out the exam questions into the answer sheet. It was a great feat on my part, but she wasn’t impressed. That’s not fair. The highest score I got in French class was 5, out of 100. I deserve at least 50 out of 100 for painstakingly copying out the whole, I mean, the whole exam questions. My time and effort in that hot/humid class should also count for something too. Somebody send me the DPO’s number. I want to tell him something.

I will not talk about geography. I was lost in that class and don’t regret it. When I had the chance, I left and never came back. I am even getting angry just thinking about it over 40-something years later. Don’t ask me why. Don’t make me get angry. Before I break something you would have to pay for, let us leave this subject. 

I was half lost, half dazed in Maths class. Solve for X. I haven’t even solved my problems with Kemi my first real girlfriend and they want me to solve for X. Which is most important. X or Kemi. X should wait. I am coming. Do you hear, I will come and solve the problems of X. 

I liked pronouncing SOHCAHTOA. It sounded like a beautiful place to be. Unfortunately, they made it an acronym for sine and cosine and every other boring thing.

English, ah, my home zone.My land of peace. My paradise. Never got caned in that class. I was lost and loved it. 

Those teachers were magicians. They used the Yoruba language to teach English. Funny, but it worked. At least, I am not a bad writer. Please, don’t go this route. 

We learned A for Apple. Never saw an apple till I was almost a teenager. Just cram and get your marks.  After all, some people learn computers by word of mouth. They never saw the real computer. Just cram and vomit. You’ll be fine. I loved reciting the vowels. It sounded like reciting an incantation. “A, E, I, O, U”. 

I close with Agric. 

This was a good place to be. Especially agric practical. I don’t love weeding or clearing the bush. I loved the mere fact that we were out there. Free at last. You could scream, poke your friend, fart as loud as you wanted and anytime we went to the poultry, boys became men. I mean some eggs disappeared and appeared in some people’s stomachs later. Don’t ask me for details. Some people from way back may sue me if I talk too much on this matter. May God have mercy on all of us.

I loved the botanical names. I got lost pronouncing them. It made you feel important when you were talking to others who knew nothing about it.  I am a man who loves how things sound, as you can see from this post. 

Arachis Hypogaea sounds elitist compared to groundnut if you wanted to impress that junior girl from St Mary Girls secondary school. 

Musa Acuminata made you feel like an emperor instead of Banana. I would have loved to change my surname to Acuminata. The thought perished as soon as I had a quick vision of what my Dad would do to me.

Whoever gave Orange its botanical baptism was not being fair at all. Citrus sinensis sounds like an untreatable venereal disease. They would soon hear from my lawyers.


To read another post https://ovyay.com/i-lost-myself/

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