Saturday, May 10, 2008

English Teacher Humor

This is from my friend Dawn. She and I met on the Swanson Hall elevator at UND (also where I first met my husband...hmmm...) where we discovered that we were both transfer students, both English majors (she helps with this site), and both living on the fourth floor! A firm and fast friendship ensued. Now she is married with baby L and living in Pennsylvania, but since she's from Minnesota, I still get to see her once in a while. And this is a very good thing.

Us...um, we English teachers like to share the contents of our students' writings. Not all of it, mind you, because not everybody's stomach is that strong. But the truly genuine sparkling witty parts...or the truly idiotic parts. This list has some of both. And I can picture the type of student to wrote each one. Enjoy.

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual
similes and metaphors found in high school essays.These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

8 comments:

Ruth said...

ruth smiled and her spirits lifted like a fart in the wind.

Noel said...

And me also...as if such flatulance were well downwind.

And certainly unlike spirits felled as wind-driven snow collected in my facial hair in the Target parking lot after finding my wife's Mother's Day gift out of stock and while realizing the need to visit another store and gather more snow in said facial hair as I walked between my manly minivan and the store entrance on a seemingly endless quest like a sentence fragment taking on a Kafka-esque quality with no subject and no ending yet filled with misery like the Minnesota fishing opener with no sun and snow collecting in a multitude of fishermen's facial hair.

Anonymous said...

Too bad only english teachers have direct access to this stuff. I'm sure some college students would like to build on them like a tower of mismatched blocks with no parallel sides.
TOM

mama.nichols4 said...

Goodness.. what kind of lives do these kids lead? Do they not read what their writing? It seems as if they're a bit off, something along the lines of little pea brains being thrown in a blender on liquify, splish.. splash...

Dawn said...

(clears throat gently...) Shouldn't it be, "We English majors"?

(wink)

But honestly, "Us English majors" is perfectly good English, and since we ARE English majors and know the rules, we can therefore break them however we please...

Aaron said...

A lot of those similes reminded me of Tony Robbins stuff... Maybe a little Terry Pratchett too. I'm pretty sure I've read that "hefty bag full of soup" and the "6-foot 3-inch tree" one before.

Metaphors like these are the trademark the quality humorous fiction author.

Lyz said...

Dawn - I actually noticed that us/we thing as soon as I posted but didn't get a chance to edit it! Good eye. And thankfully it was you who noticed, and not my siblings who would rub it in like lemon juice on a paper cut.

Noel said...

But the siblings would not be ruthless in rubbing the lemon juice in the wound since one of the siblings is Ruth....

On a higher brow note, it seemed Cranfield was rather low tech last night and the episode had a tragic ending for Miss Matty. The railroad is coming next week which will provide some technology and society food for thought. Was also bumbed that GlobeTrekker was not on our local PBS station this weekend.