You Called me a What?
In 1991 I was teaching at Kennebecasis Valley High School. Brett was a former student and had a part-time job pumping gas at a local station. I was pleased to see him when I pulled up to the pumps.
“Hey, Mr. Caines, you ol’ wanker. How are you doing?”
“Brett, did you just call me a wanker?”
He hesitated then said a reluctant, “Yes.”
“Brett, do you know what a wanker is?”
“No, ……. I don’t. I’m sorry. Did I say something offensive?”
“Well, actually, yes – but it’s OK. I think this is kind of funny.”
In a panicked tone he said, “Mr. Caines, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. What does it mean?”
“Brett, don’t worry, it’s OK. Let me guess, you have friends from Britain?”
“Yeah. Our neighbours are from England. Their son calls me a wanker all the time.”
“Brett, this is what I want you to do. The next time you see your neighbour, ask him what a wanker is, OK?” He agreed to do so.
It was a few weeks before I saw him again. After I pulled my car up to the pumps he approached me saying, “Mr. Caines, I’m really sorry. I had no idea what that word meant.”
“I take it you chatted with your neighbour?”
“Yeah – he explained it to me. I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Brett, it’s OK – don’t worry. I think this is hilarious. It certainly makes for a funny story.”
Here it is, twenty-five years later and I am still telling it.
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