When I was a junior in high school, I missed the same verb on two consecutive French tests.

This pissed me off – only I didn’t say ‘pissed off’ at the time – I don’t think anyone used that term in 1968. I think we were just easing ourselves into “bummed out.”

In frustration – and in the certainty that the word would appear again to screw with me – I wrote it on the back cover of my French text book. No, I wasn’t defacing school property. Back then all textbooks had covers. You usually started out with a cool blue cover provided by the Bristol Savings Bank, but if you were as doodle-prone as I was, by November, you were using brown paper grocery bags.

And I wrote on my paper-bag covered book:


And here it is, forty-seven years later, and I not only remember that Tenir =…

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