Four Weeks of the Coursebook


George, Jerry, Elaine, and Cosmo are going fishing south of the Azores. They have taken a boat and caught the following fish – a swordfish, a white marlin, a blue marlin, a yellow fin tuna, and a mako shark. Answer the questions to find out which fish each person caught.

One of the people with two syllables in their name caught a fish with a color in its name.

One of the people with more than two vowels in their name caught a fish which could be used to stab someone you don’t like very much.

So much has occurred within this pandemic that it feels as though it’s been a year and a half. There are very upset protesters in America shouting “freedom!” while waving their guns in other people’s faces, the numbers of sick and dead rise every day, conspiracy theories (the natural spawn of any…well anything in this world) have overtaken some of the more inbred troglodytic masses, and we are stuck inside.

And then there are The Basics. The Basics are those dealing with the pandemic with a battery of self-realization and self-assuring memes. According to these memes and ten word, twenty syllable kitty litter scoops of advice, we should take this time to focus on ourselves, to be ourselves, it’s OK to be an introvert, but we should really check in on our extroverted friends, (because a global pandemic isn’t stressful to people who prefer to spend time on their own), it’s OK not to be that productive, stay in your jammies and read books until the world gets back on its axis.

Should the coronavirus end civilization as we know it, the show won’t be run by the Rick Grimes and the Negans, it’ll be run by people waving simple McSelf-Help banners, faded tattoos of Chinese letters showing from beneath a rolled up pair of sweatshorts, and surrounded by their scented candles and wooden cutouts on their walls that say: Love, Faith, Hope.  

Leslie, Ron, Ben, April, and Chris dress up for a Halloween party in the following costumes: a farmer, a bumble bee, Star Wars, a slice of anchovy pizza, and a box of orange tic-tac’s. Answer the questions to find out who dressed up in which costume.

A person with four consonants in their name dressed up as something edible.

The people with the same last letter in their names didn’t dress up as a human.

Another faction of the little sliver of the world with which I’m acquainted have become unbelievably busy. Professors, obviously inexperienced with how to teach online and being forced to learn that skill overnight, have thrown assignments at students as if they were pelting rivals with their poop in the monkey apartments at the zoo. The students, obviously inexperienced with having to be autonomous and take on the act of “studying” are stressed beyond all recognition. Others are buried under projects and work. Should the pandemic make a left turn into Twelve Monkeys then there is a faction of humanity who will be found by future murder hornet archaeologists at their desks in mid-mouse-click. I will be one of those people.

In the midst of the pandemic, I took a job writing a series of ESL coursebooks. I am very grateful to be able to work from home and I do love this work, but the amount of work coupled with my teaching and editing schedules buried me like Lois Lane at the end of Superman. It’s a series of logical puzzles and while I try to fill them with characters from books and movies and TV shows, I still find that I am moving deeper into the mouth of madness. But it probably doesn’t show in my work.  

Michael, Scott, Pam, Jim, and Dwight are buying body parts on the Peruvian black market. They need the following: a heart, a thumb, a left nipple, a lung, and a face. Answer the questions to find out which person bought which body part.

The person whose name backwards is something readable does not need help hitchhiking.

The person who needs a face has a ratio of consonants to vowels 5:1.  

Nah, I’m good.  

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