Friday, December 17, 2004

Hostes alienigeni me abduxerunt. Qui annus est?

It's still difficult for me to believe, but I got straight As this semester. Not sure what the heck my Chemistry professor did with the final grades that got me an A, but I ain't complaining.

This is quite different from Freshman year of my first degree. I seem to recall getting mostly Bs and then that big fat D in my five hour Latin class. Damn that student advisor. "Take Latin, not Spanish. It'll be easy," the non-Latin-taking ass said, "You had it in high school."

Yes, I took Latin in high school. That's what happens when you go to a Catholic high school run by a certain order of priests. Fifteen years later I still remember The Lord's Prayer in Latin and the Latin meanings of penis and vagina (that would be feather and sword sheath). The prayer from a priest, the fun bits from our obviously cool sophomore Latin teacher. Very entertaining, especially since the Latin pronunciation of vagina is something like wah-gee-nah. So, for a while it was wahgeenah this and wahgeenah that in the halls and lunchroom without the teacher's having a clue. Then one day, someone decided that the new slang term was vlaja. I have no idea how that happened.

Let's see, what else do I remember from high school Latin? The vocative case, -us -e -o -um -e -o, recipes with lark's vomit, naughty graffiti on the walls of Pompei, that Romans had a veritable Eskimo-snow amount of words* for conquer, my first exposure to Fellini via Satyricon, sexual excess in the ruling class, and temporarily memorizing phrases like the ones here.

Now how did this go from a celebration of a 4.00 semester to a clear example of how much sex was on the brains of both ancient Romans and high school Latin students? Isn't that always the way?

*For more on the Eskimo-snow thing, read this fascinating bit. Well, maybe only fascinating to me who still remembers with delight the time in Linguistics class when the teacher discussed prefixes, suffixes, and infixes (inserted into the middle of words). Infixes, cool huh? Erm, perhaps not.

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