Foreign language

One of my many regrets from high school—paying attention, taking it seriously, those two are other big ones—was how I approached foreign languages. In a sense, I approached foreign language like I approached everything I had to do in high school. I had to do it. I took my TV production elective freshman year and, after it, I was pretty much done. That one class let me get into the editing room in junior and senior years and make my own VHS-to-VHS fan-edits (King of New York, only David Caruso’s the hero). Sophomore year was a disaster—I took Japanese language because I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about subtitles on Godzilla movies. The history electives I took sucked, killing my interest in a subject I would come to embrace the second I got out of high school. I don’t even want to get into the science classes, which soured me to that area of study forever. But foreign language is my big regret, only it started earlier—in middle school. We got to pick, French or Spanish. I went with Spanish because all the guys said French was girly. Now, it wasn’t like I had many friends in middle school (though more than high school), but I don’t think they would’ve said anything about me taking French. I don’t think any of them were in my Spanish classes. I think they took German, which I wasn’t going to take for other reasons. I knew I wasn’t going to want to watch Triumph of the Will without subtitles. In junior and senior year of high school, I ended up in remedial Spanish. College I finally got to French and excelled at it. On one hand, had I taken French in middle and high school, I might have tested out for college and missed some great professors there. Or I would’ve been able to do advanced French and done it as a double major, which I toyed with my sophomore year of college. The moral of the story? Don’t listen to the advice of people who don’t like you? I don’t know. But probably don’t take Japanese if you all you want from it is to see King Kong vs. Godzilla in the original Japanese. I highly suspect the Americanized version is better anyway.

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