Friday, February 1, 2013

Can I?

This weekend's Trifextra challenge involved 33 words of pure, unadulterated dialogue.   Mine is definitely not Shakespearean in nature but, it is a true exchange that I have several times a school year.  The exchange always draws chuckles from the toilet-humour crowd at school but, it isn't too long into the year when the kids start to ask, "Can I......" and then, catch themselves and ask properly, "May I go......".   Some people think my job as a teacher is to help students become as literate, numerate, confident and creative as possible but, sometimes, just knowing how to correctly ask if you may take a whiz turns out to be accomplishment enough!  :)

Enjoy.



Can I?


"Can I go to the washroom?"

"I don't know.....can you?"

"Mr MacInnes!!!!!"  Come on!  Can I go to the washroom?"

"Right here?! ........That's gross!"

"OK!............OK...............May I go?"

"Yes............ you may."  :)



I adore sharply written dialogue in movies.  One of my favourite "dialogue" movies is Glengarry Glenross.  It is totally profanity-laden but the writing is crackling crisp.   I love a great many scenes throughout the movie but, the Alec Baldwin scene ranks among my favourites.   What are some of your favourite "dialogue" scenes from the movies?     Feel free to let me know.  Happy weekend, everyone! :)

42 comments:

  1. Yep...heard that conversation a few times in my school days :)

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    1. Sadly, it is still gold, pure gold today! Ha! Ha!

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  2. Oh, I remember the can/may corrections of my youth. It is my duty to pass it on to my children...me being on the other side of the conversation (perk of getting older, I guess :))

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    1. Lol! The kids groan but love it, just the same. And yes, it is our duty to pass these lessons on! :)

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  3. GrrrrAMma! that's what I generally hear when having this convo with the grands. Can I? Dunno, CAN you? :)

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  4. Nice take on the prompt Tom-a slice of life:-)

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  5. Ha! Nicely done. Incidentally, I saw "Glengarry" on a plane, the WORST possible venue, because they edited the dialog heavily. My husband and I make fun of it a lot: "Forget you!" and "Go frog yourself, you motherfrogger!"

    The classroom sketch is perfect. Thanks, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/02/02/about-the-unexpected-little-visitor-dialog/

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    1. Motherfrogger, eh? Now that's funny but, in a sad and pathetic sort of way.

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  6. Yep. I remember that conversation very well. Perfect. As far as movies go, any dialogue out of the Godfather is classic.

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    1. Not sure if you watch Modern Family at all but, recently, they paid homage to The Godfather by doing, amongnother things, the horse's head in the bed scene.......but, with a stuffed animal's head in place of the real thing. My wife, who is a generation younger than me, watched the scene and said, "What was that all about? That wasn't funny at all!" I attempted to explain but..................you know..........i know you know. :)

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  7. My own kids get frustrated with me over this same thing! They call me the grammar Nazi - so they love it when I go into written character & break all my own rules - especially the "ain't" one. :)

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    1. So, the Grammar Nazi likes to let her hair down..........I think I can dig that! :)

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  8. One of the best dialog in a movie is this scene between Tom Hanks and Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. I like how he goes from humor with the autograph to some great written dialog, especially the last line.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ-v3FbufEg

    I believe on of the best written movies dialog wise is Juno. You can see the clever writing in the trailer. It's just brilliant.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuN0Z65sp5c

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    1. Good picks! I, also, really adore the opening monologue in "Trainspotting" and the restaurant-tip debate that opens "Reservoir Dogs", too.

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  9. It's thanks to teachers like you that I make a conscious point to always say "may I" instead of "can I" in these kinds of cases. So thanks...I think (:

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    1. Not sure if I like that, "teachers like you" line. Detecting a bit of "tone" in your voice. :) I actually run quite a relaxed room and the kids have good things to say about me, generally speaking but, even nice guy teachers have pet peeves..........can I/ may I........is one of them.

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  10. I agree with Draug. Teachers such as yourself have cemented "may I" into my vocabulary. Thank you :)

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    1. Try getting kids to use capital letters to start a sentence! Now there is something that shouldn't be hard but is. Thanks, iPod!

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  11. Lol I hated this interaction - which means great writing, you nailed it :)

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    1. Teaching is a funny gig, sometimes. It is like being a doctor who, one day saves a person's life and the next three days, deals with boils and the common cold. I have had many profoundly moving experiences in a classroom............read my blogpost entitled, My Hana's Suitcase Story, for an example of this........but, I have had many other, ordinary days, too, where the highlight/lolight is some kid coming up and asking the Can-I? question. Tomorrow, maybe I will teach someone a skill that will open up opportunities for a better life. Maybe I will do or say smething that will inspire someone to be a better person? Maybe th most I will accomplish tomorrow will be to burn nto some student's brain the difference between a question about ability and a question about permission? We will just have to see what tomorrow brings. :)

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  12. Ha! I have similar interactions with my teenage step kids all the time.

    Glengarry Glen Ross is a fantastic movie. And yeah, Alec Baldwin's scene is one of my favourites too. Strangely enough, I really love some of the dialogue in the movie Aliens, especially the scenes involving Bill Paxton's character.

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    1. The original Alien is one of my top two favourite movies of all time ( along with Apocalypse Now). Bill Paxton is a very underrated actor, generally speaking.

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  13. Nice. Sounds like a teacher I once had..

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  14. Haha! I have had that conversation many times myself! You nailed it.

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    1. It is our lot to educate, isn't it? Thanks. :)

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  15. I loved this! One of my favorite teachers in high school, which happened to be English Literature, always had the that response when a student ask "Can I?" "I don't know, can you?" Great dialogue! I'm not sure about a great dialogue movie. One of my favorite action movies, has dialogue that still has me tear up. Rambo at the end of his movie when he says, "I want what every soldier wants, for their country to love them as much as they love their country." I actually love the dialogue exchanged in the movie When Harry Met Sally. I'm sure I could dig deeper. These two popped in my mind. Thank you for sharing this post!!

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    1. Didn't have you pegged as a Rambo girl. Just goes to show that I shouldn't being judging books by their covers. Thanks for playing the movie dialogue game, though. I loved When Harry Met Sally, too. Like a lot of guys, I did the Meg Ryan crush thing, too. "I'll have what she's having" is a classic movie line, for sure.

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  16. Ha! The humor was excellent especially in this line: "Right here?! ........That's gross!"

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    1. There are variations, depending on the kid..............."Right here?! In front of everyone?! That's disgusting!" I've got plenty. It is a situation that never goes away and a response that never gets old. :)

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  17. MY GOD! You just channelled my mother...

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    1. Undoubtedly, she was a lovely lady who only wanted the best for those under her care. :)

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  18. Ha ha! Yep, I've heard that one before.

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    1. Want to place odds that I'll end up using that line again, as early as tomorrow? Like I just said a few comments ago, it is a question that comes up year after year, class after class. Girls ask it in equal numbers to boys. It never goes away. The response just comes automatically now. I doubt I could hold it back even if I wanted to.

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  19. Oh jeez, that's a familiar conversation for sure. Thank goodness there are people who still look out for good grammar!

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