Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SLIP OF THE TONGUE (01/26/17)
- TITLE: Include Children
By Lois Farrow
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“What? Who?” Beatrice had been only half listening.
“The announcer said ‘Iraqi head seeks arms,” Jaspar said. “Where will he find some arms?”
Beatrice burst out laughing, looking from him, to her niece Cathy, and back to the TV screen.
“That is so funny,” she said. “It would make a great cartoon. Can you imagine a picture of a disembodied head searching for arms, perhaps among the rubbish bins or something?”
“But what does it mean?” Jaspar insisted.
“Oh, arms means guns and tanks and things. They are fighting a war, and he will try to buy weapons from other countries. But it isn’t good to be watching this, it’s all bad news, and not very nice.” Beatrice berated herself for not turning off the TV after the children’s programs.
“Come on then, let’s change channel to the cooking show,” she said, picking up the remote. But before she could press the buttons there was another headline.
“Drunk gets nine months in violin case,” read the announcer. Jaspar and Cathy began to giggle and Beatrice joined them at the comical thought.
“Can you imagine a grown man curling up tight enough to fit into a violin case?” she said. “And being in there for nine months?” They laughed together at the image. Cathy pictured herself telling her mother about it later, and how she would describe it.
“They are not thinking about what they are saying,” Beatrice said. “When they write these headlines they need to think carefully about how they sound. Or maybe the announcer read it wrongly and missed out a word or something.”
“That’s like that verse,” said Jaspar, “where it says to be careful what you say.”
“There are many verses that tell us to think carefully about what we say, you’re right. Now let’s change to the cooking show, we might learn something interesting.”
As Beatrice changed channel the children settled to watch what had become their favourite show whenever they were at their aunt’s place.
The presenter was gathering her ingredients. Today she was wearing a bright orange dress with a frilly cream apron, and her dark hair was swept up out of the way. Cathy thought she looked so pretty, and she loved the way her eyes twinkled as she spoke. Cathy also admired the pretty dresses of the two girls who were helping on the show for the holidays.
“We’re making chocolate chip cookies today,” the presenter began with a smile, “and here are all the ingredients we will need.” She made a sweeping motion towards the bench and the kitchen.
“We have butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and chocolate chips,” she said. “And in the holidays it is most important to include children when baking cookies.” She smiled at the girls as she handed them the bowl to start beating the butter and sugar.
“What did she say?” said Jaspar, incredulous. “Include children? I don’t think they would taste very nice.”
His aunt laughed.
“You are too sharp,” she said. “She meant include them as helpers, it just came out wrong. Perhaps you should look for a job checking headlines when you grow up. There are certainly some weird ones around. When we speak or write we do need to think carefully about what our words actually say, don’t we.”
“Sure do,” the children replied. “But it gives us a good laugh when they come out wrong!”
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