Language Lesson

 

muddy shoes

Ray ran into the house from the backyard to find his aunt standing just inside the door. “Do you mind me?” his aunt scolded.

Ray was confused by the question and the way it was asked. “What do you mean?”

She repeated her question, clearly angry at her nine-year-old nephew.

Ray stood frozen, trying to decide how to answer a question he didn’t understand. He’d heard people use the word “mind,” but never the way his aunt had used it. His mother might ask him if he would mind doing this or that for her. His father would say that his mother constantly changed her mind.

Ray finally interpreted his aunt’s question about whether he minded her to mean, “Do I bother you?”

“No, I don’t mind you at all!” Ray was proud of himself for figuring out what she meant by her question, but he still didn’t know why she asked it. So he posed that question to her. “Why do you want to know if I mind you?”

Exasperated his aunt said, “I told you to not soil your clothes before we left for church. But look at you! You’ve got mud all over your pants cuffs and your shoes are crusted with mud.”

Ray looked down and saw that his pants and shoes were, indeed, quite soiled. Then he realized that when she asked, “Do you mind me?” she meant “Do you listen to me?”

This was how a nine-year-old boy first discovered how nuanced the English language can be.


This post is for today’s one-word prompt, “soil.”

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40 thoughts on “Language Lesson”

  1. OK Ray, a question, how do you comment on LittleFears site. I wrote a post mimicking her and wanted to ask her, if he/she is not offended by it. But my comments keep disappearing..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good question. Some bloggers moderate comments, especially when someone comments for the first time, and must approve them before they show up on their posts. You may see a message after you submit your comment that tells you your comment is being moderated. Depending upon the blogger’s schedule and when they view your comment, it can take a while before it actually shows up.

      Or maybe it’s just that she was offended by your comment and deleted it!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve had this happen too – more with blogger sites. (not wordpress) the ones where you have to add your name/e-mail to respond. It will disappear. Sometimes, I forgot to put in my wordpress web address so it disappears into space.

          Like

  2. “Ray stood frozen, trying to decide how to answer a question he didn’t understand. He’d heard people use the word “mind,” but never the way his aunt had used it. His mother might ask him if he would mind doing this or that for her. His father would say that his mother constantly changed her mind.”

    The birth of a philosopher.

    Liked by 2 people

            1. I am defeated Sensei.. You are Darth Vader.. Now to train young Skywalker.. Train him I must..
              Force not.. Powerful Enough..
              Learn must.. He..
              To Fart.. His Father like..

              Liked by 2 people

  3. Bodily functions seem to be a source of fascination here today and most people have little control over when this happens although there are others who can command their rear ends to discharge gas as often as they desire. Speaking about philosophers, Pythagoras thought that iy was a bad idea to eat beans.

    Liked by 1 person

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