English As A Second Language

Like plastic ferns in a waiting room, attractive and questionable

Like plastic ferns in a waiting room, attractive and questionable.

Tony needed an easy ‘A’. I was transferring from OCC [Oakton Community College] to ISU [Illinois State University]. I needed to bump up Tony’s G.P.A. [Grade Point Average]. It was decided. I would enroll for ESL. How hard could this be? No prerequisite. I was already affluent [sic] in English. It was happening.

Tony has got to tell you, there’s nothing better than being the smartest guy in the room. For the first time in my life, I could be the mental bully, but Tony don’t play like that. So, I figured I’d make the best of it. Learn some foreign dialects; learn some foreign euphemisms. Except for one thing, the other students hated my fucking guts. Hardcore.

By the second week, Sanjay set me aside. “Tony, I understand not why you here. Place yourself in our situation. We cannot but help you are laughing at us.” He was shaking. He was terrified. That was the last time we spoke. Technically, the last time he talked while I listened slack-jawed.

Long story short. I transferred into another ESL. I kept my English speaking skills on the dl [down-low]. I grew a full beard, wore Russian hats, and never spoke. By the by, I got that easy ‘A’.

Instead of going to ISU, I would follow the Grateful Dead selling t-shirts and primo hash, but that’s another story for another time.


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