We All Swear
Moose has a strong tail. Not quite prehensile, but close. The other morning he was, as always, underfoot and slapped his tail excitedly as San Geraldo bent down to serve the two bowls of dry food to Moose and brother Dudo. Moose’s tail slapped the plastic dish mid-air. The dish went flying. Dry food all over the floor. San Geraldo snapped at him, “Well, shit, Moose,” and then quickly apologized.
“I’m sorry I sweared at you, Moose, but you have to be more careful.”
|MOOSE: “I’M NOT GOING BACK IN THERE. THAT SHMUCK SWEARED AT ME!”|
“Sweared?” I queried.
“Yes,” he said.
“You mean ‘swore,’ ” I commented.
“What? No.” And then he went on to parse the verb. “I swear. You swear. He/she swears. They swear,” and after a pause he smiled and continued, “We all sweared.”
I laughed and said, “I’m pretty sure the past-tense is ‘swore.’ “
“Well, I’m sure ‘sweared’ is also correct,” he said with a bit less conviction.
“Why don’t you go look it up,” was my response.
“No need,” he muttered. “Swore? Really?“
When San Geraldo and I had our hotel in Palm Springs (and before we went broke), we were horsing around and I accidentally jabbed him (very lightly) with my fist.
“Ow!” he yowled. “You nearly punched me right in the larnyx!”
“The larnyx,” he repeated, pointing at his neck.
I said, “You mean larynx.”
“What?!!” he snapped.
“The larynx,” I repeated.
“You’re forgetting the ‘n,’ ” he commented.
“No, I’m just putting it in the right place. It comes after the ‘y,’ not before.”
“That’s ridiculous,” he said as he headed to the office for the dictionary.
He stood before me smugly as he scanned the pages.
“Here,” he announced after checking for himself. “Ha! LarNYX! L-A-R-N-Y-X. LarNYX.” He slapped the book closed.
“Give me that,” I insisted.
He laughed and sputtered, “OK. You were right! But I always thought it was a lar-NYX. Maybe that’s how we say it in South Dakota.”
A few months later, we were at Linda and Tom’s in South Dakota. Uncle Roger was there. San Geraldo grew up idolizing Roger. He was more like a big brother than an uncle. He had learned a lot from him, including many “South Dakota-isms.”
“Roger,” he said while pointing to his throat, “What’s this called?”
Roger looked a bit perplexed and responded, “A wattle?”
|SAN GERALDO’S TUTORS. IT EXPLAINS A LOT.
(I THINK ONE TAUGHT FRENCH; THE OTHER, GREEK. NO ENGLISH.)