Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) had some funny moments.

Two boys once observed that TV shows use a beep tone to censor foul language. They knew that vulgarities were not permitted in my classroom, so they came to me with the sincere question, “If we say ‘beep,’ rather than curse, will we still get into trouble?”

I was momentarily perplexed. Using a substitute swear word didn’t seem like a good idea. But these lads had offered a creative solution to a problem that plagues the modern teen. So, I told them they could try it but I would reserve the right to change my mind.

After they just about wore out the word “beep,” I allowed it to continue as it really was not offensive. Months after they had both left ESL, one of them hailed me with a jolly, “Mr. Jacobik! How the beep are you?” To which I responded, “Great, Rebhi! Just beeping great!”

Other instances of mirth need only be told by their punchlines. Mistaking one word for another, a girl wrote, “It is okay to feed nutritious snakes to children.”

Another girl transposed two letters in a word and made the semi-philosophical observation that, “After a storm comes a clam.”

An ESL Canadian History student once had some word confusion when he wrote, “In Saskatchewan, in 1885, Louis Riel was found ugly and executed.”

These days, when shopping at the grocery store, I always make sure to buy only nutritious, beeping “snakes,” and I give Saskatchewan a wide berth.