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Eau du Thief

July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

Don’t quote me on this because I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, but there was this study somewhere, at some time, done by some psychologists. Basically, these psychologists set up two rooms – Candy Shop A, and Candy Shop B. Both Candy Shop A and Candy Shop B were virtually identical; both were loaded with lots of tasty-looking sweets, and neither had a clerk at the till. There was one difference between the two candy shops, however; Candy Shop B had a large mirror behind the empty till, and on the mirror there were two large, angry eyes.

The subjects were let loose, allowed to roam freely between Candy Shop A and Candy Shop B. Kids in a candy store! And the psychologists were able to confirm their hypothesis: subjects happily pocketed candy in Candy Shop A, but kept their hands to themselves in Candy Shop B. While they were technically free to steal candy in both shops, the mere suggestion of a disapproving conscience was enough to reign in any impulses to commit the crime of theft.

This is a little bit what living in Italy is like.

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Eat Me

July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

After six years of teaching English to Italians – themselves, byproducts of their culture; themselves, an intriguing blend of impatience and laziness – I have come to the succinct understanding that only 2% of their grammar questions are serious.

  • What’s the different to the past simple and the present perfect?
  • It is the same I use will and going to?
  • Why I must to use get?
  • I no understand the different to could, would, and should.

Apart from the fact that it’s all there, clear as crystal, in their books (really, the rule is there in front of you. What’s so hard to understand?). So, diagrams upon diagrams and metaphors upon metaphors to break it all down, dancing on my head, pulling rabbits out of my ass: PRAISE JESUS I HAVE SHOWN YOU THE LIGHT. Thinking, at the end, covered in sweat: My god, I am brilliant. My god, I wish I’d had a teacher like me.

And yet, the next day, no matter what I do, no matter how many rabbits I pull out of my ass, it’s the same exact mistakes, the same exact questions, from the same exact students. I no understand

Thus, after many years and many feverish impulses to fling myself off a balcony, it finally dawns on me that they’re just jerking my chain; they couldn’t give two craps about understanding English grammar or using it properly. Could, would, should, get, and the G-D present perfect are only red herrings for the real question, which is:

Why is English different than Italian? Why can’t I just use English exactly the same way I use Italian? Why can’t I just throw any verbs in any order I feel like, without any effort, and have it be perfect so I can write on my CV: “English skills, Excellent”?

Yeah. Pull the other one. I’m on to you, you lazy motherfuckers.