The high school I attended was fortunate to have several gifted teachers who could be very effective at squirting knowledge into young heads otherwise filled with the opposite sex, sports, the next bell and weekends. The curriculum at my school, however, was hardly extensive. One thing you could not learn was a foreign language. Therefore, when I arrived at college, I was terrified to learn freshmen in liberal arts were required to study a full year of a foreign language. Through rote memorization, keeping my head down in class and the pity of my instructors, I made it through freshman Spanish. (It was supposed to be the easiest language.)
Now, I kick myself. I think I might have been good at linguistics had I approached my opportunity with the right frame of mind. I have an ear for mimicry, and I know I am interested in other societies. You’re going to say, It’s never too late learn, and maybe you’d be right. Take it from me, though: it’s very difficult for a middle-age man, sitting alone at his computer, to learn a foreign tongue. I suppose that’s the source of today’s classic cartoon.