Smell Check

A recent anecdote from a teacher makes me wish I’d kept a list of student (and later, patient) malaprops from my careers in classroom and clinic…

I asked my students to write several letters, and one was to a business that made a product they really enjoyed. Here is a letter I read this evening:

Dear Ralph Lauren,

I am writing to you to talk about one of your products, which is colon. My dad bought me your colon which is called Romance.

I love your colon. It smells good and the fragrance lasts a long time. It also has a little box that I can put the bottle in. I never go anywhere without it. Keep up the good work.


AB Student

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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