Don’t know who decided this, but apparently November is Learn Chinese Month.  Now I understand why so many people would rather struggle with writing a novel this month. So much easier than trying to learn Chinese.

My son took two years of Chinese in high school, learning not a thing, as far as I could tell, as illustrated by the following.  Students were to bring in plain white t-shirts to class, on which they were to write slogans of their choice in Chinese characters.  My funny boy and his pal, Brett, decided their shirts should be a matched pair: Infamous Hooligan #1 and #2. Of course, they had no idea how to translate that infamous phrase into Chinese, so they asked their nearly insane teacher for help. She patiently instructed them as they wrote the strokes in indelible ink on their shirts. When they were done, pleased with their classic high schooler combo of incomprehensibility and cleverness, they donned the shirts, only to have their teacher laugh and point at them.

“Ha, ha, I tricked you! It really says ‘Sex Offender #1’ and ‘#2.’ Ha!”  How handy to have on walks through Chinatown.  They didn’t ask her to write their college recommendations, so I guess they learned something after all.