Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Elusive Student Handbook

When I was in second grade, I memorized all the state capitals of the United States. I think, around the same time, my sister was studying them as well, and I helped her memorize them with the use of this book:

Student Handbook! How comprehensive! In the geography section, there was a list of states, organized by region, and their capitals. I quizzed Sara on each state, relentlessly repeating "Richmond, Virginia," because she just couldn't remember it. My Dad would peep in and out of the family room, listening to us. I remember him cracking up when he heard the capital of Florida: Tallahassee. "This is how we say 'Come over here and kiss my ass' in Arabic!" he exclaimed. Well, you'd actually pronounce it "Ta'al boos teezi." Same difference. I remember sitting with the heavy, brown book in my lap and giggling with my father and sister. Oh, America. You have no idea how hilarious you are in Arabic.

Anyhow, that Student Handbook was the greatest. It had so much information in it, and it really appealed to me as a kid. I loved it. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement then, when, last weekend, I saw that a friend of mine had the very same book on his bookshelf! I was thrilled, and sat on the floor for a good half hour, poring over the pages and laughing at the pictures in the dictionary which was in the last two-thirds of the book. Here are some of my favorites:

Oh, a muff AND a muffler! There's a difference!

Round-shouldered boy. Yep.

I just like the sound of all these E-words.

I'm both enraptured and enthralled by that gentleman's enigmatic smile. Also? English horn.

I don't think that house looks all that eerie. This pictorial definition is deceiving!

I like the potential correlation between drumsticks and drippings. Delicious.

Look at the interplay between dragon and downcast eyes! Totally on purpose.

Embryo of a rabbit. That is all.

Look at this guy! Look at this damn exhibitionist! He sure expanded my watchband, if you know what I mean...

This is also a history lesson, because you can see the tackiness that was considered "fancy" back in the 1970s.

Writing with flourishes! I feel like this group of pictures is pretty fruity.

Look at that judgey woman! It's just a furled sail, lady. And a fulcrum. Don't hate.

I understand this boy completely. I, too, gape in wonder at the majesty of the Student Handbook. The gargoyle is sort of gaping in wonder as well, don't you think?

I just love this one. No explanation necessary.

Handlebar mustache AND handcuffs in the same group? YOW-OW-OW!!!

Hey, it's Ole Lady McJudgey again!

What a slob.

Pictures aside, some of the definitions are hilarious as well. Check out what "Hollywood" means.

This one is just a little depressing.
I'm so glad I got to relive the pictures of the Student Handbook as an adult! I truly believe that my sarcasm and cynicism play well into my judgement of pictures. What a productive day!


Anna said...

this book could have it's own website. who is the publisher? what was the original purpose of this book? i feel like it would be a very good book for those trying to learn everything about american "culture" to have. i feel like a good sit-com would be a terrorist trying to learn everything about american culture from this book, and then coming to america with his fancy tie, handlebar mustache and rabbit embryo knowledge, and his hilarious escapades.

Shane said...

HELLLLLLL YES!!!! I remember that book! You skipped my favorite page: foreskin and a picture of foreshortening. I still see that man lying down whenever I think about foreskin. Not kidding.

Reem Tara said...

@Shane - FORESKIN?! Really??? That will be the first thing I look for next time I see this book. Oh lord.

@Anna - I totally felt the same way, in terms of teaching foreigners. We should make a movie.

Stephanie said...

Laughed. so. hard.