Humor with ‘U’
P. Y. Menudos is involved in many aspects of ELT and hopes to have his own educational company which he plans to call NYPD Mouse. In his free time, other than spending time with his family, he tries his luck at standup comedy, which he generally performs sitting down. His greatest pleasure in life is the groans he gets when telling really ‘good’ dad jokes.
I had high hopes of an exciting life when I decided to be a teacher. New people, new faces, new challenges everyday of my life. And soon, I got stuck in the rut of planning – teaching – planning – teaching – planning – teaching; to the same students every single day of my life. Then, COVID happened, and did my life change…
I started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ when I washed my hands, but soon replaced that with other songs as my children were expecting cake every single time I came out of the bathroom. We had hand sanitizers and creams and all kinds of things and I don’t think my hands have ever been in better condition, or cleaner.
Classes moved online, and in one of my lessons, a student was talking to her cat the whole lesson. It dawned on me how crazy this isolation had made us, but when I told my dog, it laughed at me and refused to talk to me again for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, I was starting getting really restless at home and my dog said ‘Do you now understand why I want to go outside and why I chew stuff?’ I think he makes a good point.
I also realised how tricky the lives of my children’s teachers must be. Being at home all day with a young talkative and inquisitive child is like having an insanely crazy parrot strapped to your shoulder. I know repetition is important in language learning, but there comes a point when enough is enough.
And then came social distancing. I realised, despite being seen as an outgoing person as a teacher, that I was practicing social distancing years before COVID. In fact, I hadn’t spoken to my mom in weeks before the pandemic hit, and now we speak all the time. Her contribution to social distancing was this little gem. ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ ‘Because the chicken behind it wasn’t social distancing.’ I never thought you’d be able to turn distance into a verb, but there you go.
I used to take my wife and family on vacation twice a year, often abroad, and when I felt it was getting too much to not travel, I bought a world map, stuck it on the wall, gave each of my kids and my wife a dart, and said ‘where you hit, we are spending a week there for vacation when this is all over.’ I learned two things that day. One, we are spending a week on the floor, a week in the dog’s food, and a week in my wife’s leg. Second, my family members are terrible at darts.
When we were allowed back on trains with masks and all that, I realised how much the world had changed in the time we were under lockdown. I used to cough to hide a fart on the train, but now we fart as loud as we can just to hide a cough.
I went to the doctor to have my eyes tested, and I need glasses. Apparently I have 2020 vision.
But I think if we ask our children in 15 years if they remember the pandemic, many of them might remember it as the year when mommy and daddy stayed home and played with us and we didn’t have to go to school. Maybe it is them who have 2020 vision and we needed the change. Besides, the most important thing I learned is how often I touch my face and the best way to avoid touching your face is if you have a pint of beer in each hand and that is definitely something I am taking into 2021 and beyond.
Oh, and to show how grateful we are for the good things we still have, and to keep the desire to connect more with people, we are going to keep going to church. Granted, initially when we started going to church it was because it was one of the only places that actually had toilet paper.
Humor with ‘U’
P. Y. Menudos, Australia
Testing Times: Xmas No-Deal. 2020 Edition
Geoff Tranter, Germany