During Justin’s final weeks of third grade, one of his homework assignments was to create a comic strip using the Spanish vocabulary words he had been assigned throughout the quarter. He was very excited about creating the comic strip. But, he was not thrilled at the prospect of trying to use his Spanish words to create a story. His plan was simple: create the comic strip first and then try to ‘massage’ the Spanish vocabulary words so that they fit the images.
His comic panels were great. But, as time went on, he struggled to find the right words to use. It was at this point that he made his biggest mistake: he asked for my help.
I do not speak Spanish. After five years of Spanish lessons, I can order a Chalupa at Taco Bell and ask for directions to a library. But, that’s about it. As I’ve confessed before, had I not been sitting behind Tammy Parks or Greta Jackson all throughout high school, I would have failed Spanish. Thanks to their unprotected classwork and my keen eyesight, I cheated my way to graduation. (Hey – “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying!”)
With my limited high school Spanish and a lot of help with Google Translate, I “helped” Justin with his assignment. Here are two examples of our collaboration:
In the first panel, a fight broke out. However, “punching” was not a vocabulary word. We decided to go with “Estoy tocando la cara con el puno,” which roughly translates to “I am touching your face with my fist.”
And finally, one character is laughing as the other one screams, “No me gusta bola de fuego!” This translates to “I do not like it when my balls are on fire!” (I was sure someone would notice how inappropriate this was, but no one said anything! No note from the teacher….no call from the school.)
Somehow, Justin passed Spanish. I still owe a debt of gratitude to Tammy and Greta and I probably owe an apology to whoever read Justin’s comic book.