Date: January 11, 2011
Memo to: Head of Whitworth College
. Central America Study and Service Program
Re: Bryce Covey
Today is the birthday of one of your students enrolled in the Whitworth College Central America Study and Service Program. His name is Bryce Covey and he is 22 years old today. I am one of his grandmothers.
I understand that Bryce will be undertaking with you a month of intensive training to improve his fluency in Spanish, before he is sent out in the field for several months in order to save Central America from not having world peace.
While you are working with him, there are some things I feel you should know.
1. If you haven’t baked the birthday cake yet, you need know that he likes chocolate the best, usually dark fudge. For frosting, I suggest a vanilla cream cheese mix which should be spread generously on top and then decorated with little cars and toy trucks in bright colors. Maybe you could put a little balloon or smiley face in each corner. No nuts, though. His father advised me once that his relationship with certain of his relatives has exhausted the whole family’s taste for nuts. I must not know the individual who caused this because, personally, I love nuts. You can certainly put them on my cake if I happen to be there on my 80th birthday in September.
2. When you are working with him to improve his fluency in Spanish, please don’t teach him any more swear words than he already knows, like “Caramba!”. As I’m sure you’ll agree, swearing is uncouth. Swearing is the mark of an inferior intellect or a limited vocabulary. I am sure that you would never engage in such a vulgar form of communication yourself, nor, certainly, would I. You can be damn sure of that.
3. In further regard to linguistics, I hope you will encourage Bryce to be proper. I was reading that certain pronouns in Spanish are more proper than others. If “Usted” is more proper than”tu”, then your path is clear. We wouldn’t want Bryce to be improper, now would we?
4. I don’t know how your classes are being conducted, but I will give you the same promise I have always offered to the teachers of my grandchildren. When he and the other children are sitting in a circle sharing “Show and Tell”, if you won’t believe anything he tells you about me, I will sweep aside all the beans he’s going to be spilling about you.
5. If the students will be singing songs during their fluency classes, please edit them beforehand. As an example, when singing “La Cucaracha”, when they get to the phrase about marijuana, please edit “marihuana pa’ fumar.” to “marihuana medicinal pa’ fumar”. Otherwise, it might confuse or lead the children astray, because regular joints are not legal in the good old U.S. of A.
6. Lastly, and most important, when the time comes to send the students out into Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, I am worried about something. As soon as they meet him, I am afraid the citizenry will try to elect Bryce to be President of one of their countries. Please do everything you can to prevent this. He already has an overabundance of responsibilities. Among these is a blog which he insisted I maintain on a daily basis and as soon as he got me set up on it, he ditched me.
I know it’s a lot to ask, but ask yourself to weigh which is more important: world peace or placating one’s grandmother.