Comment dit-on, l’anecdote?

I studied French for several years starting in grade 7. During my first full year of French (grade 8), I was in French club with several of my friends, Clint, Bill, Sam, Lisette, and others. I have a couple of special memories of those days.

  1. There was a passage from our textbook or something that said (paraphrasing), “Carol intended to say, ‘Quel dommage!’, which means, ‘That’s too bad!’ (‘What a pity!’) But instead she said, ‘Quel fromage!’, which means, ‘That’s cheese!'”
    For whatever reason, this has always amused me and I think of it every time cheese becomes the topic of conversation.
  2. My friend, Bill (Guillaume), and I wrote and were performing a little skit. For some parts, we were using words and phrases that we really hadn’t learned yet. We wanted to say, “My wife left me.” but we didn’t know the verb, to leave, so we looked up in our French-English dictionary how to say “left”. So the line I delivered was, “Ma femme a gauche moi.” Our teacher, Mrs. Egenberger just started laughing and laughing.
    Sometimes I still say, “Ma femme a gauche moi”, and of course, nobody knows what I’m talking about.

Puccini deux

I mentioned before that I was in an opera a few years ago, Gianni Schicci. I want to relate a couple more anecdotes from that experience.

The first one I find amusing, but I wonder if anyone else will. I do often crack myself up and I often suspect that I am far more impressed with my witicisms than are others.
Anyway, I was receiving some acting instruction from the assistant director. He was telling me that as he watched me perform, he could really see the inner dialogue that my character was having, but that my gestures weren’t large enough for the rear of the house to see. I asked if what I was doing was somehow wrong. He said no, but my gesticulations (Good word!!) needed to be bigger if the back row was going to see them. I replied that my more subtle movements were a gift to the front rows.

Well I found it amusing.

Second story. There was a line that I was to sing, “They’re the cream of the crop!” My first note was the same as the last note of the preceding line, which someone else was singing. To make sure that I came in on key, I would sort of hum along with the line before mine. Well, I was doing it quietly, but I didn’t think about the fact that I was essentially leaning over another actor’s shoulder such that my mouth was very close to his ear. So, unknown to me, my fellow cast mates took to poking fun at me by mimicking me, “mmmm mmmm mmmm, mmmmmm mmmm mmmmmm THEY’RE THE CREAM OF THE CROP!” When I found out, I thought it was hilarious! And in a way, I felt like I belonged to this group.
So, a few months later, when I went to get a tattoo, I had that phrase of music applied around my left bicep.

Now the number one condiment in America!

Last week here in the office, we took a bunch of cheese and melted it down in a crock pot. We dipped chips and bread into our cheesy goodness.We did this three days in a row. I might do it again tomorrow.

I bring this up because this cheese fest has inspired me to create a similar dipping extravaganza. This one will be a two week salsa spectacle. The four days prior to, and the four days after, Presidents’ Weekend, different coworkers will bring in home-made salsas and related creations. So a green salsa is allowed, but so is a block of cream cheese and jar of salsa. My intention is to take sign-ups for the event and then space out the varieties so that we don’t get two of the same type back to back.

So, you may begin your eager anticipation for the photos that will serve as my daily posts for those two weeks.

This is called planning ahead.

Someone answer me before I pull out the plug

I am a fan of witty and clever use of language. I love a good turn of phrase. And I think some words are just good words.

A few years ago I had a good buddy, Matt. Matt was the accompanist at the college where I work, and where I was taking classes. Matt loved words too, and when he heard one that he particularly appreciated he would respond with, “Good word!”

One semester, I was in an opera being staged by the music department. During one of the rehearsals, I was on stage with the music director, and Matt was seated at the keyboard beneath the stage, in the orchestra pit. The director was giving me some acting advice/instruction; something along the lines of, “move your arms thusly” or “point at that thing when this action is taking place”. I don’t really remember. Anyway, I responded to what she was saying by using the word “gesticulate”. At the same time, I pointed ‘through’ the stage to where Matt was sitting as if to cue his response. Sure enough, Matt clapped his hands a couple of times and exclaimed, “Good word!”

Good memory! God, I miss Matt!