Monday, May 15, 2006

Worlds Apart

Springwood Lakes High School played host this week to foreign scholars from impoverished developing countries, studying in the U.S. with the aid of some large fellowships. Talk about your fish out of water. And you thought Perfect Strangers was funny?

Well, of course you didn't, but this "cultural exchange" was hilarious.

You see, I had the poor sense to take one of my classes to see a presentation by Guillermo Pech-Puc, a Guatemalan scholar studying Regional Development here at a prestigious private university which shall remain nameless. I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking. I guess I hoped my students' eyes would be opened to a world outside of Springwood Lakes.

Silly me.

After an enthralling, heart-wrenching presentation depicting the socio-political-economic difficulties of his home region and how he hopes to use the knowledge gleaned from his study here to exact meaningful change back home (mostly met with vacuous stares and yawns from the student audience), he opened up the floor to some Q & A.

Big mistake, Guillermo.

Mr. Pech-Puc: Are there any questions?

Student #1: Guatemala? Is that the one shaped like a boot?

Student #2: No you idiot! That's France!

Student #3: Ooh la la!

Student #1: They have a lot of goat farmers in Guatejalapa don't they?

Mr. Pech-Puc: Well, uh... actually I live in an area...

Student #1: Yeah Mr. Pinch-Poke. They do. I saw it on the Discovery Channel!

Mr. Pech-Puc: Well we, uh...

Student #3: Goat farmers? Mr. Peach-Coke, how can you live with all those goats?

Mr. Pech-Puc: Actually I...

Student #2: Nah, man. Goats are sweet! After you finish your beer, the goats will totally eat your can for you. I saw it on Animal Planet.

Student #1: Sweet! You'd never have to get off the couch if you were a goat farmer.

Student #3: Nice. I want to do an exchange thingy to Guadalajara, Mr. Poach-Puck. I wanna' be a goat farmer. Are you signing people up now or what? How much is the deposit on the trip?

Mr. Pech-Puc: $100. Just make the check out to cash.

You have to hand it to ol' Pech-Puc. He didn't get that fellowship because he wasn't quick on his feet.

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