Miss Metzger to the Rescue

When I studied Spanish at Pekin High School, Miss Metzger had us go over the greeting and introductions phrases until we were sick and tired of them. Living in central Illinois in 1968, I didn’t have many opportunities for Spanish conversation, but I did go on to study Spanish for three and a half years, and became fairly competent at it.

Some six years later, I was on vacation in Mexico City. I had met someone there who was introducing me to one of his acquaintances. In Spanish, he said something to the effect of, “I’d like to introduce you to Juan Fulano.”

My face went totally blank as the front part of my brain began screaming, “what do i say what do i say oh my god what do i say i should know this what do i say?” After two or three of the longest seconds I can remember, I felt some pressure at the back of my head, heard a “click” as some long-unused neurons fired, opened my mouth, and said as one long syllable, “MuchoGustoEnConocerleAUsted,” the phrase I had memorized six years earlier. It was, of course, exactly the right thing to say.

The fancy-schmancy new-age education doctorate type folks may tell you that rote memorization is the worst way to learn anything. They might say you should never learn anything that way. Miss Metzger and I know that isn’t always true; sometimes those phrases you learn by rote will save the day. Thanks, Miss Metzger!

(Up)Basic Phrases Introduction