Tuesday August 14, 2012
New tricks for the dog
By OH TEIK THEAM
JUST two weeks into his first term at a veterinary college, an adolescent boy has foolishly squandered away all his pocket money.
He does not seem to be regretful of his failure to husband his monthly allowance, and decides to finagle his father out of a princely sum of money.
Phoning his father, the boy says, “Dad, you’ll never believe the wonders of modern education. They now have a course that will enable our dog to talk!”
“I’ve never heard of such a thing, not in all my born days,” the father says. “Are you serious?”
“Dead serious,” the boy replies. “This is not the time to pinch pennies. Send the dog here with $5,000 post-haste and I’ll enrol him in the course.”
“Okay, son,” says the father. “I’ll send the money and let you take oversight of the dog.”
Halfway through the term, the money runs out. The boy calls his father again.
“How’s Fido doing?” asks the father.
“He has taken the place by storm, scoring a hole in one on his test,” says the boy brightly. “The grades obtained by the other dogs were not a patch on Fido’s.”
“I’m glad that he stands alone.”
“Dad, with the success of the programme, the college bosses are now implementing a new one to teach animals how to read!”
“That’s fantastic!” says the father. “What do I have to do to get him in this programme?”
“I’m glad you asked,” says the boy. “Just send me $8,000 and I’ll get him in the class.”
The father sends the money. But the boy suddenly realises that his father will eventually know that he has pulled a fast one on him, and the question exercising him is: will his father forgive him? So he gives Fido to a classmate.
When the boy returns home at the end of the term, his father asks, with manifest excitement, “Where’s Fido? I can hardly wait to see him demonstrate his skills.”
“Dad,” the boy says brazenly, “I have some bad news. Yesterday morning, Fido was reading the newspaper when he suddenly turned to me and said, ‘Is your father still fooling around with his secretary?’”
The father blanches with shock. “I don’t know what to do if he spills the beans to your mother,” he says, lugubriously. “You should have given him to a friend.”
“Actually, that was what I did,” the boy says, nodding easily. “Everything is fine now.”
The father draws a long breath of relief and yips, “Attaboy, George!”
Pocket money: Money for minor personal expenses.
Not in all one’s born days: Throughout one’s life.
Pinch pennies: To be thrifty or miserly.
Run out: (i) To be used up (ii) To expire (The licence ran out last week.) (iii) To force to leave (The sheriff ran the hooligans out of town.)
Take by storm: To make a great impression upon.
Hole in one: A perfect achievement.
Not a patch on: Very much inferior to.
Stand alone: Be unequalled.
Pull a fast one: To deceive or cheat.
Fool around: (i) To engage in casual sexual activity (ii) To engage in frivolous activity (The children are fooling around in the garden.)
Spill the beans: To disclose a secret, a piece of information, etc., deliberately or unintentionally.
■ After retiring from handling numbers at the bank, the writer now moves to new writing ‘destinations’ using GPS (grammar, punctuation, style).