I was an annoying, precocious little 7th grader who was a year younger than everyone else due to having skipped a grade. I competed in spelling bees and had a large vocabulary that I was really proud of. I was always learning new words and trying to integrate them into my daily conversations.
One day I ran across a new word somewhere and liked the sound of it. From the context clues of wherever I saw/heard it (which I don’t remember now), I guessed that it was a slang word, a word you’d use as a mild insult against someone who was kind of dumb or jerky. I couldn’t wait to use it in a sentence.
The word, my friends, was dildo.
The moment I chose to debut this word in my speaking was in my 7th grade social studies class.
After raising my hand.
So everyone was paying close attention.
I don’t even remember what I was talking about but I think it had something to do with the Gulf War. I was really just speaking so that I could use the new word. What I said was something like, “Well, maybe if there was someone who was a real dildo, then he wouldn’t understand why we were doing blah blah blah idiotcakes.”
My teacher, Miss Dale (now Mrs. Holt), who was one of the coolest teachers I’d ever had, actually busted out laughing and I never understood why. She never told me that it was an inappropriate word to say in a middle school class, but I’m sure she figured out that I had no idea what it was I’d said.
When the popular boys started making fun of me at lunchtime, I picked up that I’d used it wrong, but I still didn’t understand what the word really meant. I had no idea. So I just wiped it from my vocabulary then and there.
It wasn’t until years later that I actually figured out what the word meant, and what an ass I’d made of myself.
I bet that teacher still remembers me.