Word Ways


John McClellan


My wife and I were on a plane high over the Atlantic en route to England. We occupied aisle seats, and next to us was a young English lad, obviously returning home with his parents (in the row behind us) after a visit to the United States. On the boy's lap was a comic book -- I've forgotten the title -- and an English dictionary was at his side. A Latin dictionary lay on the floor. He had a puzzled expression on his face and it seemed as though he might be close to tears for his chin trembled ever so slightly. After observing him for a while out of the corner of my eye I leaned towards him and asked if something was troubling him. Silently, he pointed to the comic book open on his lap, and to a fearsome drawing of some beings undoubtedly from outer space. The caption of the drawing, hand-lettered, and frighteningly large, was S-P-P-L-E-E-C-H!