Friday, November 5, 2010

Mag 39 - Fowl Language

I made it into this class barely under the wire. My campus and personal life exploded last term and the
way I finessed it all was sheer genius. I'm here to learn as much and more than any other student and I
may have been wide-eyed when I arrived last year but now I see most everything in wide-screen. My
mind is wide open to all the wisdom they can pour into my brain. I feel wide awake. When I am awake
my arms are wide open to the world, when I am in bed my legs are wide open to experience, and when I
am asleep my experiences are woven into the wide-cut fabric of all that I know and knew and may know, and I am and was and will be, and who I know and who I knew and who I may yet know, and what I am doing and what I did and what I may do in the years to come.

So I am juggling a lot, as you can tell, but I was still surprised as hell when I looked at my online
courses layout and found that I need four additional credits in foreign language and three in laboratory
science to stay on track. My dad said he can get me into a practicum at Oregon Health Sciences
University where he works (there goes summer break) and that will take care of the LabSci units.
Addressing the deficiency in foreign language credits proved to be a real stressor. All the Advanced
French classes were full by the time I discovered this mess and I realized I would have to take another
language at Beginner Level and it didn't matter which language as long as I found one still open. I tried
for Italian and Chinese but they were full because everyone is taking Italian after reading Eat, Pray, Love
and everyone is taking Chinese because, well, you know why.....but there was one that appeared to be written in an Asian language in the course description, or maybe it was written in Persian, and when I clicked on it the registration form popped up onscreen instead of that dreaded CLOSED sign stamped across the screen and I signed up immediately. 

There are no texts for this class. I figure that a TA will come into class before the professor arrives to
advise us either where to purchase books for this language class or (hopefully) to tell us all the
coursework will be online, with class time being more like an interactive language lab. That would be good. The front wall in this room is peculiar. It looks like a smooth concrete wall that has been carelessly scored and scratched with what looks like artful graffiti. The markings look like the figures in the course description for this class. Now I don't think it's Persian. Maybe it is Sanskrit. Could be Japanese -- no, the Japanese course was full so it can't be that. The figures are too thin and random to be Russian.

The professor must be one of those who experiments with room lighting as a learning tool (I'll have to tell
you sometime about the strobe lights that my sophomore year Psychology teacher tortured us with for
one week and one week only...). The lighting in here has a quiet cool illumination that seems to attract
shadows. I want to make shadow puppets on that wall..... Oh, wait, everyone in front is stretching in their seats to look at something on the floor. I can't see what they are looking at yet. Some of them seem shocked
but most are looking at each other in a really satisfied way like they know they are in the best class on
campus. Lucky us. This is going to be great.

What a riot! The professor is playing chicken sounds in the sound system. What a great sense of humor because that is what a new language sounds like when you first hear it, so this is to make us feel at ease and get into the spirit of trying new sounds. Really authentic cackling! I am impressed...... Oh, wait, I just noticed that there is a wooden ramp -- it's not very big -- that is connected to the podium.....and all the dudes in front are looking in that direction now. And....uh, um....ahh, aw! Awesome! The professor is this striking-looking big burgundy-colored chicken with rosey-red wattles and something that looks like an old-fashioned Victorian ladies hat on top of its head.

Oh my God, this is amazing; the teacher is a chicken! In this class we are going to learn how to read chicken scratching and cackle and cluck our way into a wider understanding of this fowl world.

MLydiaM ~ November 2010

Read what other writers saw in this week's fantastic photo prompt at Magpie Tales.

Clipart via Webweaver



Fireblossom said...

Okay, forget everything else, ask it why it crossed the road!

Speaking of chicken scratch, I write my poetry longhand, and when I go to post a poem, once in a while I have trouble reading what I have written on the page. When I am really on a roll, my mind is going faster than my fingers, and it can get pretty hard to read! Maybe I need to take this course!

madamebutterfly said...

Having kept chooks for a number of years I am pretty sure they are saying exactly what you can hear at any bus-stop anywhere in the world - complaints about falling standards, and what missy so-n-so is doing to shock the neighbourhood!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

There's an old joke in an episode of Red Dwarf where (main character) Dave Lister is temporarily turned into a chicken

When he gets turned back he says that due to the size of an egg as compared to a chicken all he was trying to say was "for god sake give me an epidural"

Great story - i'd prefer to learn to speak cat myself

La Belette Rouge said...

OMG. I had no idea until the end. I kept thinking, "I didn't know. I had no idea you were in school." It turns out I am a bird brain. LOVE this piece of prose. Fantastic!

Suz said...

I've been had!
ha ha on this on

willow said...

Very clever. Love the end! Fowl world, indeed.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

that gave me quite the cackle :)

Tumblewords: said...

oh, 'tis a fowl world indeed. Still cackling...

Lydia said...

Fireblossom~ Hehe. I actually remember being stymied when the chicken-crossing-the-road thing was first told me as a child. It puzzled me no end...
I am still reeling with the news that you compose your poetry via cursive writing. As much writing as you do it seems your hand and wrist could not take it (mine could not)!

madamebutterfly~ "Chooks" there is a word I absolutely never saw or heard until reading your comment! What a kick, as is your take on what the conversation topics of chooks!

Belette Rouge~ Oh. how. funny! That just cracks me up that you were taking it seriously along the way. Made my day! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. :)

Suz~ The comments just above to Belette Rouge go out to you also! :)

willow~ Ooooh another new profile image. Nice! Thank you for stopping by with encouraging comments.

Rene~ Cluck-cluck, that was my intent and I am happy it worked!

Tumblewords~ Cluck and greetings from my corner of this fowl world to your corner of this fowl world!

Brian Miller said...

haha punny story...he probably translated my papers for my

Lydia said...

Pixies~ Sorry! I read your comment but had just replied to your one on my previous post so thought it was done. And Belette calls herself a bird brain!
I think you and I speak a little cat, but I agree that I would like to be proficient in it.

Brian Miller~ You needed a translator? Oh well, I am sure they were worth the effort to translate!

Freda said...

You have a tremendous gift to draw the reader into the story. I got confused at first and thought...... "What have I missed" - and the denouement made me laugh out loud.

Leovi said...

Als de leraar is een kip is niets erger nog, anderen zijn gieren en ze zijn op zoek naar het breken van depressieve studenten.

Lydia said...

Freda~ Thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad that you had a little romp with it. :)

"Dutch to English translation
If the teacher is a chicken is nothing worse, others are vultures and they are looking for the breaking of depressed students."

MY REPLY: Yes, you are right that there could be far worse teachers than the chicken in this fiction. I am sorry to think that there are vultures intent on breaking students' spirits, but of course you are right about that also.

susan said...

See? I knew there was a doctor's handwriting school. Will you be taking on your first brain surgery case soon?

Lydia said...

susan~ Oh! I hadn't even considered that this was in med school, but that is perfect. Yes, I think we will be practicing on the brain donated to science by Colonel Sanders (of course he did not know who would spearhead the instruction of the slicing of it!).

kathew said...

oh hahahah cluckity cluckity cluck
love this story! Seriously- our chickies talk to us and we talk to them....

Angie Muresan said...

He he. Love this Magpie! Very clever, Lydia.

Lydia said...

kathew~ Thanks! Wow, you have chickies! A few have appeared in our neighborhood in the yard of some people who bought their house last year. I think the City Council voted down the idea of chickens in the city so I am worried about their fate. I love seeing them.

Angie~ :) Thanks much.

naomi dagen bloom said...

Raising hand to show my believing you were returning to school which sounded pretty realistic in an unrealistic way considering the class I just dropped at PSU.

We were in Silverton Friday to see "Hamlet in Love" which is terrific though you do have to sit on very hard metal chairs (take pillows) at the H.S.

Was your post inspired in part by the town's move toward allowing chicken ownership, following the long-awaited move in Salem? Hens are my particular favorites and the one here, if female, is awesome.

Lydia said...

naomi~ You were right here in Silverton and you didn't let me know that you were coming! It is a sad thing that you have been to Silverton HS production of "Hamlet in Love" and we have not. I must look at their schedule...

Of course you would love hens best! When I first saw this photo I wasn't quite sure what it was so I googled photos of both chickens and hens and saw some chickens that looked like this one, although I thought it was a rooster. In reading other magpies from the prompt it seems most people deemed this guy a rooster. He is quite the dude. Makes me anxious for next year's Oregon State Fair!



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