O Say, Can U-C: The Retort

Dear Peoples Republic of Blotter Types:

It makes us chortle that so many folks have their Fruit of the Looms in a bunch over the National Anthem being sung in Spanish. Heck, the only thing we remember from 1 1/2 years of California public high school Spanish nearly 30 years ago was the Pledge of Allegiance en espanol. The may-yammo-es: gone. The lame salutations: gone. The curse words: gone. But being able to say the Pledge — the bajo dios version even — are permanently burned into the memory banks.

And yet, we've never been prompted to send 3/4's of our paycheck to a Mexican village. Go figure.

It was only 1 1/2 years of Spanish because we were kicked out the final semester after a confrontation with our Spanish teacher, who'd complained a bunch of non-English speakers in Chicago had just perished in a fire because when firemen broke into their burning building and yelled, “Fire!” no one knew what that meant so they stayed and died. The teacher blamed the firemen for not knowing Spanish. We blamed the residents for not having learned at least one English word, obviously the most critical English word as this case showed. The clash over who should know Spanish vs. who should know English led to a nasty argument in front of everyone. “Who told you to say that?” the teacher kept yelling, like a 17-year-old could not possibly think up such a position on his own. We were removed from class for not apologizing to the teacher, but it was the teacher who got the last laugh: without that final semester of the same foreign language, we could not enroll in state universities after graduation and wound up going the far more expensive private college route.

Our place at university was taken by a Peruvian fireman, we understand.

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