Con La Lengua Afuera: a Story and a T/F Quiz

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“Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue,

speak and they are but hairs, as in the young,” Rabindranath Tagore.

TRISH (black shirt, white capris) AND I (blue shirt, grey capris) ARE HELPING THIS MAORI CLAN WELCOME THE "DIGNITARIES" IN OUR MIDST. Or maybe we were being fierce to scare away the enemy. We are doing this at the end of their haka (Maori dance) by bulging our eyes and sticking out our tongues.

Middle school girls liked to tease each other when I was young. We all wore the same uniform (Ponce, Puerto Rico private school) so our clothing wasn’t fodder for teasing.

However if you wore glasses or braces, if you were nerdy, or if you were uncoordinated – you were a target for teasing. I was all of the above.

The biggest tease of all though – which even had its own song – was if you liked a boy or if a boy liked you. The offending girl would be circled by the singing-teasing girls.

The song was in Spanish and I learned it 30 years ago. Yes, I sometimes joined in. I resembled the young in the quote above. I don’t remember the words. It was something like our “K-I-S-S-I-N-G First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage,” etc song.

The only fragment I remember is “con la lengua afuera” (with the tongue hanging out).

The tongue has many uses depending on the species. It appears that in all species it is a type of sense organ and can indicate health. There are many quotes and Scripture which points to how the tongue is used (with words) indicates the character or emotional health of a person.

It is obvious that when I used my middle school tongue as an instrument of teasing, I was not exhibiting moral behaviour. I cared more about fitting in than about doing/saying the right thing, the wise thing.

Today my head is filled with gray hair. I like to think it is associated with wisdom. Today I care more about doing/saying the right thing. So while I may use my middle-aged tongue in a silly way like at this haka, I am committed to using it to bring encouragement, truth, and humour to all people I encounter.

NOTE: Periodically I will post photos from my New Zealand Trip, March, 2011. This is photo 1.

Your Turn . . . Are the hairs on your head “gray” with wisdom or just hair?

So in honour of the tongue, here is a True/False Quiz.

1. T/F.  To determine if someone is having a stroke, ask the person to “stick” out their tongue. If the tongue is “crooked,” if it goes to one side or the other, that is an indication of a stroke.

2. T/F.  A regular part of the dental exam includes the dentist checking your tongue for oral cancer. S/he is looking for lumps, masses, changes in color or texture, and swelling.

3. T/F.  Lizards stick out their tongue in order to better see their prey.

4. T/F.  A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

5. T/F.  The Maori people (New Zealanders) stick out their tongues during a haka dance of which there are many types.

Answers are after the jump. Click on “More.”

1. True A sign of a stroke is this: Ask the person to “stick” out their tongue. If the tongue is “crooked,” if it goes to one side or the other, that is an indication of a stroke.

2. True.  A regular part of the dental exam includes the dentist checking your tongue for oral cancer. S/he is looking for lumps, masses, changes in color or texture, and swelling.

3. False.  Lizards stick out their tongue in order to smell.

4. True.  A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue because of where it is attached.  It appears that where the tongue is attached is controversial, Some say the top of the mouth and some say the bottom of the mouth.  

5. True.  The Maori people (New Zealanders) stick out their tongues during a haka dance of which there are many types. The dances are performed  for different reasons: “amusement, as a hearty welcome to distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements or occasions.And of course haka was performed before going into battle as a way to scare their enemies.


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Entry filed under: Learning, Main. Tags: , , , .

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