Sunday, September 13, 2009

Classical Whimsy

TEACHER: Today, class, we are going to discuss Latin phrases that have become part of the English language. Let's start with one I'm sure you all know. Harold, can you explain what the phrase vice versa means?

STUDENT #1: Yes, ma'am. The Vice Versa is what my Uncle Dave calls the late-model Nissan he uses to cruise the...

TEACHER: That'll do, Harold. I don't suppose anyone knows the meaning of ad fontes? Lucy?

STUDENT #2: To ad fontes is to install a style of letters and numbers on your computer.

TEACHER: Uh-huh. Cathy, would you care to tell us what an alter ego is?

STUDENT #3: Oh, that would be a person like my cousin James. Just because he gets to light the candles in church, you'd think he can walk on water!

TEACHER: You don't say. Peggy, what can you tell us about Anno Domini?

STUDENT #4: Only that she's the nastiest little Irish scamp I ever kicked on the...

TEACHER: All righty! Now, Gerald, who or what is ante bellum?

STUDENT #5: I'm sorry, ma'am. My parents say I'm not to talk about her.

TEACHER: This gets better and better. Vicky, can you tell us what bona fide means?

STUDENT #6: Bonified -- that's what happens to all your cartilege when you get old.

TEACHER: Mmm. And Marty there -- hello? Are you with us? What does cui bono mean?

STUDENT #7: Er, wasn't that, like, what they called Sonny and Cher's little baby...

TEACHER: (Shuddering) Let's move on from that mental picture, quickly... What's your take on fiat lux, Richard?

STUDENT #8: Er, I suppose that would be whatever Harold's Uncle Dave picked up, back when he used to drive that little Italian...

TEACHER: That's enough! It's already quite clear that I'll have to move the heavens to cover this unit. I know just the phrase to start with. Everybody repeat after me: flectere si nequeo superos, Achaeronta movebo...

1 comment:

Robbie F. said...

Translation: If I can't move heaven, I will raise hell!