Originally posted in 2010, I decided to repost it and give it a look over for editing. Enjoy.
When I was in high school, before the dark times, and before the Empire, I was a bit awkward. Although most people would say that is true of everyone at that age, I was teenage awkward beyond teenage awkward. I was 6'0-plus and rail thin, with a surfer haircut and a White Sox hat. I could quote Ol' Dirty Bastard lyrics and Star Wars trivia, and then tell you what former Mets third baseman Howard Johnson's batting average was in 1989 (.287).
(Nowadays many of these traits are admirable and add to a person's charm, but back then they were just geeky. Except for the surfer cut and the Sox hat, those are still bad choices.)
Adding to my many high school era personality quirks and fashion fas pauxs were a few unfortunate flubs. In ninth grade, for example, I got in a fight and was hit in the mouth with a t-square drafting tool. I needed ten stitches after spitting blood all over my teacher's desk. That was not fun.
On the more humorous side, my proclivity for gaffs was raised to another level during a 12th grade English class. One day, for a reason I do not remember, the student sitting in front of me in English class was perusing a dictionary and looking up words that start with "V".
To this day, I am not sure why he was reading the dictionary, but this kid was one of the smartest in the school and now, according to his Facebook page, has his Ph.D, so who am I to question early academic inquiry.
After asking the young genius what he was doing, we started comparing our knowledge of multi-syllabic "v-words", to include the word "voluptuous" - meaning, among other things, "suggesting sensual pleasure by fullness and beauty of form". A few minutes later, as we continued talking "V"s, he dared me to call our sometimes long-winded teacher "verbose" - meaning "given to wordiness". Probably not the smartest thing to call a teacher, but I took up the dare.
Unfortunately, when I finally did get the teacher's attention, the synapses and neurons I had misfiring in my teenage brain that day didn't quite get the words right. Instead of telling the teacher he was very verbose, I told him he was very voluptuous.
I'll never forget his response. Without missing a beat, he looked at me, put his hands on his hips, struck a faux Marilyn Monroe pose, and said "Thank you."
Realizing my blunder, I stuttered, "I-I-I meant verbose."
"Are you saying I talk too much?", he asked.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, I tried to explain the whole dictionary, smart kid, and letter "V" situation. I'm not quite sure I succeeded before the bell rang to change classrooms. Saved by the bell.
Although I was initially embarrassed, I was able to laugh off my "voluptuous" blunder. I was even bold enough to give the same teacher the same pseudo-compliment on my final day as a high school student. On graduation day, as I was walking across the graduation stage, high school diploma in hand, I saw my English teacher waiting at the bottom of the stage steps congratulating every student for their effort. When it came my turn, I shook his hand and without missing a beat, said "Looking very voluptuous today. Oops, I mean verbose."
He looked at me and laughed.
He probably thought I was a little weird.
Glad I outgrew that perception.