Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tutoring With Underwear

Did the title draw you in? You think this is going to be a story about how someone tutored someone else through the use of underwear? Well it's not. But you clicked on this so you might as well read it anyway.

I mentioned before that I have an assignment with the mormon youth at church here in Palau. I like to refer to this in a southern accent as "my Christian duties." Mostly this entails me boring them to death 2 times a week. I'm in serious need of ideas for activities to do with a group of 5 to 10 teenage boys . . .

Last Sunday I found out that one of the boys, Scarly, is studying to take the GED this coming spring. This guy is busy working full time, taking care of his family, keeping on top of his studies, and is only 17 years old. He's busy, and, well, I'm not, so I thought I would offer some help.

Hey, do you need any help? I'm happy to do tutoring sessions with you.

No. That's ok.

Seriously, I am happy to help! Do you want to come over!?

No. Thanks though. I got it.

No really. Please. I have all the time in the world! COME OVER TO MY HOUSE! PLEASE?!?! PLEASE COME OVER?!?!?!?! PLEASE!!!??

[Awkward shifty eyes] Um . . . ok. I guess.

I am SO good and getting friends to come over to my house.

Ok, so maybe I was more desperate for company than he was for help. I'm still totally counting this as fulfilling my Christian Duties.

I asked him what he wanted to study together and he told me that he could use the most help in English.

Guys, I've been speaking English for practically my whole life. I think in English. I'm typing in English right now. I'm, like, pretty good at English. So I just assumed that I would basically be nominated as Micronesia's teacher of the year after one tutoring session.

I mean, I wouldn't win. Because nobody wins the first year they get nominated. It's probably all political. But next year? I would totally win teacher of the year.

And this was all because I know English. Like the back of my hand.

Or so I thought.

On Tuesday I rushed home from work to prepare for our first session. We knew Scarly was on his way and so we frantically tried to tidy up in the final minutes yesterday before his arrival. Daniel had done a bunch of laundry earlier in the day and walked out to get a pile of clothes from the communal drier one floor up from us. When he returned, he dropped the clean clothes onto the couch and out from the pile fell a special surprise:

A bright. Pink. Women's. Thong.

We both looked down at it, and then at each other, then at it, then at each other again. Then I asked him.

"Daniel," and I tried to say it without judgment in my voice, but I totally had judgment in my voice, "are you wearing women's underwear?"

Daniel denied it and said that this was "obviously" left in the drier by one of our neighbors. And besides, if he was wearing women's underwear he would totally get something more comfortable, like granny panties.

I thought he had a point, so I dropped the suspicion.

Scarly showed up just then and we frantically buried it under the pile of clean clothes while trying not to touch it at all.

That's the thing about underwear. No matter how clean it is, if it's not yours, you treat it like it's covered in Chalmydia. Not that I know what that is, mom.

I sat Scarly down, prepared to tell him everything I've ever heard about the English language.

He caught me off gaurd and threw down a gigantic book full of quizzes that he had taken to prepare him for the GED, including several he wanted help understanding.

I swear to you, I stumbled upon some kind of conspiracy yesterday. There are people out there who don't want anyone to get their GED. I think the Queen of Colors is behind it. Or The First Eye. But not both at the same time. Those two could never work together.

These quizzes were full of questions asking the test-taker to identify the problem with various sentences that sounded like perfect English to me. Then there were multiple options to choose from that only made the sentence either more nonsensical, or more disturbing.


Sentence: Lohan is a parasite who lives inside Eli's stomach.

A: Change "stomach" to "soul."
B: Reverse the order of the words.
C: Switch the sentence with a picture of Princess Diana's wedding dress.
D: Change all the words to "cat."

Note: The answer to the above question is "true."

Daniel sat on one side of Scarly and I sat on the other and we both took turns saying things like, "well, you just have to read the sentence and listen for the part that doesn't sound right" and the equally unhelpful, "ok, I can see why that answer is right . . . I just don't know how to explain it."

We also took turns mouthing back-and-forth behind Scarly's back, "what should we do?!"

Eventually Scarly packed up his books and said he needed to go. I followed him to the door, asking enthusiastically when he wanted to come back.

He hesitated and then told me that if I really wanted him to, he guessed he could come back next week. Then he added with a tone like he didn't want to hurt my feelings, "maybe next time we should try math instead . . ."

I excitedly agreed. Because guys, I am SO good at math. I have been counting with numbers for practically my whole life.

The moment the door shut behind Scarly, Daniel and I had an argument about whether we should put the pink underwear back into the drier or take it door to door in search of its owner.

It's still sitting in our apartment. I think I'm going to put it on display and name it "Jasmine" if it's still there tomorrow.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I dry my thongs on the rearview mirror in the car. For some reason all the windshield and dash heat pinpoint in a laser-like fashion a few inches below the mirror. This is how I avoid the potentially embarrassing spectacle of a nice stranger ending up the proud new owner of my panties through dryer osmosis. (Another Pinterest stalker...uh...fan.)

  2. Favorite part is when you asked Daniel if he wore woman's underwear. Laughed way longer than I probably should have!

  3. My husband is originally from Peru, and when he was studying to take his test to become a citizen, I offered to help. It was pretty embarrassing when I couldn't answer half the questions. I was convinced the whole thing was a trick. It's an oral test though, so he couldn't take my suggestion to write "lol" or "omg" before or after each answer to prove he's ready to be American:

    Who was the first president? OMG George Washington!
    How old do you have to be to vote? 18, lol
    How many members are in the House of Representatives? Wtf, Americans don't know the answer to this.

    I suspect the same is true with the GED test. Mostly in high school I learned how to dress poorly and be incredibly awkward. I probably couldn't answer half those questions either.

    1. This is just as hilarious as the Eli's post! thanks for making me laugh so hard I cried ;)

  4. Are you sure "Jasmine" is truly an appropriate name for your pet thong? Based on her description alone I would have pictured her more as an Anastasia... or Bieber.

  5. I think you'll find the correct answer is Lohan is a parasite and a thief and a bad actor.

  6. I do not recommend the door-to-door method of finding the owner. I do not want you to meet the owner...

  7. I would leave the thong in the laundry room/area with a 'found in dryer' note. Eventually the owner is bound to come back to do their laundry. (Hugs) Indigo

  8. The thong is mine, please return it soon! I've been commando for too long! haha

  9. Before considering the method of return, consider the mental picture you will never be able to un-see. I vote against door to door for this reason. Also, I think Claudia would be a better name...

  10. This story could be so much better.

    Next time, help him study while wearing the underwear. I promise, when you are dressed up you feel better about yourself and can do superhuman things. Like taking sentences apart.

    Was there really a sentence in the book about a parasite names lohan? I mean, what are the odds?

  11. As a Jasmine, I am not so sure I appreciate the thong being named such. Maybe a Natasha or Brittany might suit it better?

  12. Hahaha oh my gosh. Will you PLEASE get a twitter account? Also, I am friends with your friend Kelly Johnson. She was talking about you one day and I realized it was you because I blog-stalk you. My world is evidently small and mildly creepy.

  13. "Not that I know what [chlamydia] is, mom".
    There it is. The moment I bent over lol-ing. And then you added jasmine to the mix.
    My last dog was adopted from the AKC and my dad was told her name was "PJ". Who names a pet PJ and who names a girl PJ? It hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew her name was princess jasmine, PJ for short. My dad thought Princess Jasmine too long, as well, so he shortened it to just Jasmine. And then she died... Perhaps time will be on your side with the thong and it, too, shall pass.

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