Woodworking again: Amusing malapropisms

By Dave Wood
Posted 9/6/22

WOODWORKING Again BY DAVE WOOD A year or so back I wrote about my first day at Larkin Valley School, back in 1942. Boy-oh -boy, am I ever glad that’s over! No, I never had the knack for school. Not …

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Woodworking again: Amusing malapropisms


A year or so back I wrote about my first day at Larkin Valley School, back in 1942.

Boy-oh -boy, am I ever glad that’s over! No, I never had the knack for school. Not like my classmate, Gavin Strand. I’ve written about him before. He was the guy that my favorite teacher, Mrs. Lily Reich, liked better than me. You know the kind. Gavin was the kind of guy who didn’t eat chocolate-flavored goiter pills when Mrs. Beich went to the biff the way the rest of us did.

As you might expect, Gavin became a prominent school administrator and I remain an ink-stained wretch. But our friendship survives and I’ve found myself occasionally visiting his home in Fountain City where we talk about the good old days at Whitehall grade school and bore our wives Ruth and Connie with astounding tales about how Mrs.

Reich asked us to write short stories about Thanksgiving and I handed one in about these two kids in Holland, Hans Brinker and his sis, who worked hard to earn money in their silver skates to purchase a turkey for their mother’s Thanksgiving feast in Amsterdam. But apparently, I wasn’t the only kid in the world who didn’t have a knack for lower education. One of my readers, Clare Hauber, wrote to tell me some howlers picked up in her 50 years as a teacher in Pennsylvania. Try this student’s malapropism on for size: “We take our firemen for granite.” Then there was that dratted formal dance, where “All the men wore tusks.” And the wet floor: “We almost fell on ac – count of the humility in the floor.” Or the flight that ended up in Cuba: “And then her plane got hitch hiked.” And two cute ones about nuns: “Sisters are not rich because they do not need money be- cause they have God.” Or, “A sister never has to plan her day because God has it planned for her.” Schoolmarm Clare also sent me some zany student definitions.

Countenance: “Someone who counts money.” Epistle: “Wife of an apostle.” Adultery: “The sin of saying you’re older than you really are.” Trigonometry: “Is when a lady marries three men at the same time.” Faith: “Knowing something even when you don’t know it.” M.D.: “These letters signify Mentally Deficient.” Monogamy: “Staying married to one woman is what is known as monotony.” Ah, I’m looking forward to this weekend with B.W. I’m going to don my tusks, sit on the deck and drink lemonade all day Saturday. We’ve practiced monotony as Epistle and Apostle now for 50-plus years. We’ve never taken each other for granite and we’ve never cared much for trigonometry. I’ve been countenancing my money very carefully so that next winter we can vacation in Mexico, if I don’t slip on the humility of the airport concourse or our plane doesn’t get hitch-hiked; we should be in Mexico City by mid-December.

To paraphrase The Reader’s Digest “It Pays To Increase Your Weird Power!”

Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554

Larkin Valley School, malapropisms, Dave Wood, column, opinion