The other night I dozed off on the couch smack dab in the midst of television’s new fall lineup. A few minutes later I was awakened by Terri’s hand on my shoulder and her voice calmly notifying me that we were about to have an earthquake. An earthquake?!!
I leapt to my feet, trying to wrap the words around my brain. Did I miss a breaking news report?
“Okay, we need a plan!”
I declared as a hundred thoughts raced through my now fully conscious mind. Terri stood watching me with a befuddled look on her face. “I said,” she patiently repeated, “that Sadie can’t wait. She’s crying and I’m going to take her outside.”
Oh. The dog has to pee.
This mishap reminded me of other instances where simple statements became thoroughly misunderstood. One such case happened in kindergarten class. It had been an overcast morning, with torrential showers breaking as the school day ended. As was the tradition whenever inclement weather hampered the regular routine, the school secretary announced over the public address system that students going to “car pickup” (a process typically managed outside) should instead meet in the kindergarten hallway for an “indoor dismissal”. One of our six-year olds known for having an easy going, unflappable personality suddenly burst into tears.
“What’s wrong, honey?” I asked.
“I just can’t do it!” he sobbed.
“Do what?” I inquired.
“I can’t go home on a missile! I’m too scared!”
Then it clicked.
“You don’t have to take a missile home today, buddy. You just need to line up in the hall until they call your name.”
One night, I heard the news anchor report, that police suspected, “Carl and Ray” in the disappearance of a local pet shop owner. Those guys must have quite the rap sheet if the police know them by their first names, I thought. In reality, the police suspected, “foul play”.
A few years ago, I was in a third grade classroom working with a student whose nose was buried deep in a book when her teacher asked the class to brainstorm events suitable for a writing assignment on current events. A boy seated in the back of the room raised his hand and said,
“I’m not sure if this is okay, but I heard something about a country being hit by a tsunami.”
My student snapped her head up with great concern and exclaimed, “Someone got hit with a giant salami?!”
I’ll admit that I had no part in these next examples. I came across them online and thought they were funny.
1) A guy is enjoying a night out at a pub with his date. While she excuses herself to the ladies room, he gets up to put a few coins into the jukebox. After twenty minutes or so, he looks disgruntled and says to her, “I wish they’d put my songs on.”
His girlfriend gives him a puzzled look. “Why on earth would you say that?!” she asks.
“It cost me three dollars,” he answers indignantly.
After that, she was a bit distant. He didn’t realize until much later, that she had misheard him. What she thought he said was, “I wish I’d put my thong on”.
2) A girl is listening to her best friend’s father recount what he witnessed on his way home from work. A car pulled alongside a pedestrian and was motioned by the driver to come closer. When the pedestrian leaned down toward the driver, the window opened and a fist flew out striking the pedestrian in the face. He fell to the ground and the car sped away.
“Why would anyone slap a FISH out a window?” the girl inquired.
3) A man bought fresh donuts from the pastry shop. He and his wife sit down to eat them while reading the Sunday paper. He notices that his glazed donut has acquired a blue sprinkle from another donut in the display window. He says something like, “Huh; A blue sprinkle,” and continues eating the donut.
His wife looks across the table at him and says, “Did you just call your donut a “douche wrinkle?”
Now they use the phrase as a culinary putdown.
4) A husband grabs his car keys and pokes his head into the kitchen where his wife is cooking. “I’m just running out to put gas in the car,” he informs her.
“Okay, go ahead,” she replies.
She hears him leave and then return a few seconds later hollering, “Did you just call me Goat Head?”
We oftentimes overlook the comedic importance of a misheard conversation and the value of those who interpret the error on our behalf. Cheers to them all! Remember, when the waitress at Olive Garden asks you if you’d like a “Super Salad”; (and really, who wouldn’t?), check with your tablemates before answering. They’ll be the ones snorting, “Soup OR Salad” in your ear.
Image Source: www.childcarevouchers.co.uk