By Isreal Horowitz
Listen now, I’ll just go really slow. (Pauses, smiles.) My name is Debbie Wastba. (She
writes her name on blackboard. Each takes notebook and copies down the name.) W-AST-B-A. That’s pronounced Wass-tah-bah: Wastba. (She links each of the three syllables
together on board, in the following way: WA ST BA.) Think of Wah as in wah-tah.
Splash. Splash. Stah as in stah-bility. And Bah as in Bah-dum… as in (Sings "Dragnet"
theme.) Bum-tah-bum-bum. Well, listen. It was literally double its length in its ancient,
biblical form. (Pauses) Actually, that tune was wrong. It would be much more like…
(Sings again, to tune of "My Funny Valentine.") Bum bum-bum- bum-bum-bum…bum
bum-bum bum-bum-bum… bum bum-bum-baaahhhmmmmmmm… (Pauses: sees they
are confused.) Well, anyway, really, you can easily check your Bibles if you want.
(Rummages through stack of papers on desk, holds up lesson plan.) This is our lesson
plan. That’s lesson… plan. Lesson plan. We’re going to be together for several hours and
I thought it would be highly professional and competent for me to make a plan. And I
did. And her e it is: (She reads, smiling confidently.) One. A pleasant welcome and
normal chatter. For two, I’ve planned your basic salutation, such as the goods- good
morning, good afternoon, good night, good luck, and good grief. (She laughs.) That was a
mildly amusing joke: "good grief." Later in the night- after we’ve learned a bit of
English- you’ll be able to, well, get the joke. (Pauses.) Let’s move along. Three will be
basic customs: ours here. (Reading again.) Four will be a short history of our English
language. (As the students take their notes, they, as we, begin to realize that Wastba is
only writing the numbers one through six on the blackboard- no words. They raise their
hands in question, but she waves them away, barging ahead.) Five will be the primary
lesson on the primary English class, according to the book. And six will be the very
essential verb "to be." At some point, we shall also inspect the very basic concept of
silence. (Smiles.) Now then, as you can see, there are only six points to cover and hours
and hours ahead in which to cover them. (All stare blankly at her smiling face.) Now
then: Questions?