My cousin and I were in the same AP German class. Our teacher was “Frau Wurl”…an American woman, living in Buffalo, New York, United States of America and she wanted to be called “Frau Wurl”. We never really liked her because she screamed a lot, but even more reason to be resented by us – she grew better sideburns than we did. Learning a foreign language requires dialog and a lot of questions and answers and she would select, randomly, from the class, a guinea pig to answer questions we all should have been able to answer, but we struggled, just the same. You know the drill.
Let me preface the rest of the story by saying “We hated jocks!” Well, not really hated, anymore than we would hate someone with a bigger putz than we had; it more like wistful resentment. Jocks and the college bound always had a love/ hate relationship. They loved us when they took exams, or needed help with a chem lab they’d slept through or struggled to get 2+2=4 consistently (we’d tell them they had to round up which always left them scratching their heads. Payback really IS a bitch!) But the rest of the time? They hated…well, not really hated…well, yeah…they really hated us. They always gave us eggheads (they called us) a hard time. Of course, we could out-think them in the time it took them to scratch their nuts, but we always got ribbed in spite of that. You know the type…write all the formulas on their arm before a exam and then take off the sweatshirt just before it started because they were hot? Not super-smart, but who needs smarts when you can have any girl worth having any time you want. Pocket liners are definitely NOT cool.
We sat behind a jock named Tim, who was on the football team. I’m not sure which position he played, but I think he was a REAR END. We sat behind Tim – well, actually, I sat behind Tim and my cousin sat behind me. The football team practiced early mornings before school, and quite aggressively, I imagined, seeing as he always fell asleep in the class. (A lot of us were tempted to fall asleep in German class, and most of were as chubby and unfit as they come). Espying Tim sleeping in her class, she called out his name, loudly and he awoke with a start, not knowing the question posed, yet alone the answer. My cousin started the ball rolling…whispered to me the answer…
I relayed the answer to Tim ”Psst…Ich leibe dich.”
“ICH LIEBE DICH” (in a stage whisper I’m sure could be heard by everyone in the classroom).
“ICH LIEBE DICH!” he proclaimed loudly and with confidence, as if he’s been awake the whole time.
This woman wasn’t close to being pretty (she had lamb chops like Elvis) but as the whole class tittered, she taken aback and blushed as profusely as Tim was at that moment. I’m nearly certain it was the first time she’d heard the words “I LOVE YOU” in any language in a long, long, time.