A bit of a cock-up.

I don’t normally talk about my job, because usually anything interesting/funny is one of those ‘you-had-to-be-there’ kind of things, and it would be totally irresponsible of me to disclose details of kids I teach.  It’s also sort of suggested in my contract that I don’t broadcast details of my work to a bunch of creeps on the internet.  So you’re welcome, employer.

Last week, however, I experienced one of those horrible moments where the answer to that internal voice shrieking ‘DID YOU ACTUALLY JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD???’ was, unfortunately, a cold and serious: ‘Yes, Rachel.  Yes you actually did.  You are an idiot.’  And so, as this particulay incident deals mainly with my own stupidity – and since I’m fair game – I feel like I can share it.  So you’re welcome, readers.

Let me provide a little context.  One of the things we look at every year is the poetry of World War One.  We check out a little Wilfred Owen, a little Siegfried Sassoon, and a little Rupert Brooke.  We have a look at what the trench conditions were like.  And, to provide a little light relief, we occasionally show some ‘Blackadder’, because what is life if it doesn’t have a little dry humour in it?

Anyway, I was showing a clip of ‘Blackadder’ to the class (which they’d have to answer questions on), and one of the jokes in the clip was Baldrick offering Blackadder one of his vulgar dinner creations, ‘Rat-au-Van’.  The joke being that it sounded like the fancy dish ‘Coq-au-vin’, but was, in fact, just a rat that had been run over by a van.  Get it?  You can watch that part of the clip here.

Now, after the clip had been played, one of the questions was asking why this joke was funny.  I asked the class if they knew what dish it was meant to sound like.  Tumbleweed.  I quickly explained that there is a dish called ‘Coq-au-vin’ that is basically chicken in some kind of wine sauce.  I then jokingly asked how many of them would be enticed by a plate of ‘Rat-au-Van’, to which I discovered not a single child would be interested in such a delicacy, but some would quite like to watch the ‘preparation’ process.

Then I somehow went off on a tangeant (this sometimes happens).  I starting talking about how extreme hunger can warp judgment.  I talked about that film ‘Alive’, and then, in perhaps too much detail directly after lunch, I described the unfortunate fate of the Donner Party in the mid-1800’s.  The class was horrified.  I had made my point.  Dead rat trumps a sibling’s leg.  And then I said it.

You know when you’re speaking, and then you realize you’ve said the wrong thing, and so you stop abruptly, pause to reconsider, and then say what you intended to say?  Kind of like, “I really like it when I wake up before dusk – pause while your brain registers an error and you rewind – I mean dawn.”  Well.  That happened.  What came out of my mouth, in front of a classroom full of teenagers, is this:

So you see, in situations like that, I would imagine you’d be desperate for mouthful of Coq-…..

I paused to correct myself, and the class erupted into giggles as the realization of what I had just said dawned on me.  Failing to remain nonchalant, I desperately added, “AU-VIN!  I was saying COQ-AU-VIN, but meant to say RAT-AU-VAN!!!”, however the situation was unsalvagable.  At least one of the boys in the front row managed to say something along the lines of, “Yeah, we know what you were saying, but it went badly wrong.”

I conceded that it was a rather unfortunate place to pause in order to correct myself, the bell mercifully rang moments later, and I was thankful that I only had to get through one more class without saying something dumb (a roaring success, you’ll be pleased to know).

So, while I managed to get through the D33 with no injuries, I did get food poisoning from my celebratory burger the following day (resulting in a less than pleasant Monday-Wednesday), making my faux pas on Friday the cherry on top of a sub-par week.

Clearly, my brain is ready for the Italian getaway on the horizon.

7 thoughts on “A bit of a cock-up.

  1. That’s one thing about those faux pas, one continues to cringe over it for ever while everyone else has forgotten about it in five seconds. Good to see that your school is recognising the WW1 thing.

  2. Oh my gosh. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, but had to comment about Blackadder! I was at a rehearsal for a stage version of Blackadder as I read this. So funny!

    I have done similar things with my students. One of my kids drew a picture of an owl and the word “cock” next to it…I did not know how to address it…so I asked what he wrote and he said “it’s the owl saying Coo!”. He needs to work on his spelling…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s