Horace Smedley, a civic-minded geezer from nearby Shirley, recently got motivated to participate in the local grade school’s student tutoring program. This ongoing project enlists qualified adults from the community to work one-on-one with students who need help in reading and/or math. Horace figured that since he breezed thru the eighth grade at this very same school several years ago, his old school could use him in their program.
After gliding through a character checking interview with the school principal, Smedley needed only to pass a vocabulary test formulated by the Arkansas Dept. of Education in order to qualify as a reading tutor. (Math was out for Smedley as he topped out on the times tables at the “fives” – far short of the required “twelves” these days.) This vocabulary test listed a set of words that called for a written definition. Below is a copy of this test Out of Bounds obtained by using the Freedom of Information Law (FOIA), showing Smedley’s answers in italic font:
1. Hamlet….a piece of pork found in an omelet.
2. Gluten-free….a man who eats like a pig but only if the food doesn’t cost anything.
3. Clodhopper….a dance in a pasture requiring no music.
4. Suppository….a place to store your money.
5. Diphthong….a skimpy bathing suit favored by peculiar people.
6. Eschew…the stuff that’s left after you’ve chewed all you can chew.
7. Ubiquitous…Roman emperor 315 – 358 A.D.
8. Voracious…Ubiquitous’ wife.
9. Horticulture….rehab program for fallen women.
10. Rigamarole…Italian pasta served in a round dish.
11. Shiitake…the last words of a Japanese Kamikaze pilot
12. Blingo…the favorite money-raising game played at the Lions Club.
13. Brouhaha…a rip-snorting celebration after cooking a good batch of meth.
14. Electoral college…a school for electricians.
15. Bilirubin…Quarterback for the Razorbacks in 1965.
16. Carbuncle…. your mother’s sister’s alcoholic ex-husband.
17. Erstwhile…a very serious person who whistles while he works.
18. Scintilla..a sweet but nauseous odor that is exuded when a person tells a white lie.
19. Vestigial…a young woman as pure as they come.
20. Fungible… a nasty green growth that is found under armpits.
21. Untoward…the direction you are going when you are going the wrong way.
22. Katydid…..this word is always followed by “?” and is widely used in mysteries.
23. Tuber…the first words of a poem by Shakespear, “tuber or not tuber…..”
24. Spork….the main dish of many locals, as What is for dinner? It s’pork again.
Smedley paced outside the principal’s office anxiously awaiting the results of the test. Finally, the principal came out, slapping Smedley on the back, exclaiming, “Congratulations, Mr. Smedley, you not only passed but you are the first one to ever get ‘em all right! When can you start helping our kids here?”
“Look for me tomorrow, sir. I can’t wait!” replied Smedley, as he sheepishly shuffled past the principal heading for the door with his Arkansas Dictionary hidden in his vest.