Rubber boat: Laughing into the next four years

I never thought I’d see the day. This week I saw a headline about the United States that read: “An Empire Has Fallen.” Conversations over the past few days have involved the phrase, “I hope the election can unfold without violence.”

Dear America, what has become of you? As often as I have resented you for being bigger, better at the Summer Olympics, and more replete with winter sunbathing beaches than my Canada, more often I have admired you. Oh, how I want to do so again.

I can’t bear to think about the election. It’s so out of my control. I’m distracting myself with happy thoughts. Like rubber boat, for instance.

Recently, on The Spectacled Bean blog, Ally asked the question: “Of all the words in the English vocabulary which ONE is your favorite?” (Something to ponder.)

It reminded me of an experience I had way back in 1980 when I was an exchange student in Mexico. I went to an all-girls, Catholic high school. (Quite a change for me. This Protestant girl did not know a Hail Mary from a Hall Monitor.) I was learning to speak and write Spanish, but the girls there loved to practice English.

One day, in a book we were working on together, we came across a picture of a rubber dinghy. The girls asked me how to say it in English.

“Rubber boat,” I replied.

They fell apart laughing. To a Spanish ear, that sounds hilarious.

“What?!” they said. “Say it again!”

“Rubber boat,” I repeated.

They howled with laughter, even louder than before “Again!”

“Rubber boat,” I said.

The more I said it, the harder they laughed. Then they tried saying it, and I couldn’t help laughing at them. Soon all of us were gasping for breath with tears running down our faces.

Ah, such a happy memory. I’m going to ride it into this week. America, I’m pullin’ for ya.

Two hands put together to form the shape of a heart.

9 thoughts on “Rubber boat: Laughing into the next four years

  1. marianbeaman

    Americans, like Canadians, are survivors. Look at our history!

    Thanks for the clever story, providing a little levity on this day of waiting, waiting. This is a good time to recall the serenity prayer. And yes, I voted!

    Thank you for all this, Arlene, especially the story of your experience at school and your good wishes. ;-0

    Reply
      1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

        Wow, a tax code in a page? That would be a challenge. I spend my days trying to turn complex writing into plain language writing. I have found that it is a multi-step process. People are only willing to accept so much change at a time.
        Any piece of writing can be boiled down to its simplest possible version, but most times it’s not wise to go straight there. It won’t be accepted. Time and baby steps are required.

      2. earthwalking13

        True. Our code is a regressive code designed to favor the rich and keep the poor in poverty. A simple flat rate with no deductions would equalize things and eliminate the annual deficit. Right now, we have corporate welfare and the big corps use every available service, public property, and all natural resources in this country to expand their wealth while giving nothing back.

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