Imagining Latin Language Table

"Friends, Romans, countrymen... I am really sick of the sweet potato fries. Can't we get steak fries again?"

“Friends, Romans, countrymen… I am really sick of the sweet potato fries. Can’t we get steak fries again?”

This post was co-written by Claire Berman ’16 and Natasha Preston ’17.

Language tables can be the worst thing about taking an Intensive Introduction to Language class here at Kenyon. An hour of awkward small talk with your classmates and professor, where you can only really talk about the weather (but only so long as it’s raining or snowing–you forgot all the other vocabulary), colors, or how many animals are metaphorically in a location. It seems sort of unfair that Latin shouldn’t have to have the same awkward experience. We think it would go something like this…

12:01: One overeager student, Lucius, arrives to the table. Is disappointed that he is the only one there. Begins translating lines of Virgil for fun and pleasure.

12:05: Frazzled Classics professor arrives and is slightly disappointed to see someone actually there. With a sigh, the professor sits at the table. They both say, “Salve!” and then stare at each other uncomfortably before…

12:07: Io, Cassia and Nemo arrive with plates of hummus. The group begins discussing Catullus.

12:15: A fight breaks out as to which poem would be better for picking up girls: Catullus 5 or Catullus 85. Nemo can agree. The professor goes upstairs for coffee.

12:19: The group decides to actually try to speak in Latin. This is abandoned at…

12:22: The first word. The group can’t put a voice to the leading verb.

12:25: Crisis arises when Lucius and Nemo are debating Caesar’s motives. The loser, Lucius, screams the first line of Catullus 16 which translated says “I will sodomize and face-f*** you”

12:28: After an awkward few minutes of silence Cassia tries to ease the tension by referencing the Aeneid. Io has fallen asleep in his Wheelock’s Latin textbook.

12:30: The professor comes back with coffee and noting the tension amongst the group decides to get a scone.

12:33: Cassia initiates a dramatic reading of Sulpicia. Io wakes up and questions whether Sulpicia was actually female and Cassia rolls her eyes and eats a grape.

12:36: The teacher returns and as he asks about the opening of the Aeneid…

12:37: Lucius begins to sing declension songs, but mixes up the female a neuter endings. The group looks at him confused, and then realize that Lucius pregamed the Latin table with wine. Frustrated, the other students leave and the professor takes a bite of his scone.

12:38: In an Ovid-like metamorphosis, Lucius becomes one with the Upside Down tree on his way back to Watson. The professor is blamed and loses his tenure.

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