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Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly enjoyed a trip to Asia. Thailand was our destination and adventure was our disposition. We thrilled with many new experiences on our excursion.

One fascinating aspect of our travel was the language. The one thing I noticed about the Thai language had to do with the alphabet.

The Thai alphabet is composed of little squiggly, curly figamajigs. To be quite honest, it looked like someone was eating a spaghetti dinner when they had to sneeze. Turning to the wall, they sneezed vigorously, covering the wall with squiggly, curly fragments of spaghetti.

Someone looked at it and said, ?Wow, that looks like an alphabet.? And since that time the Thai alphabet looked like squiggly curly fragments of spaghetti. Picking up and thumbing through some books in Thailand, I could never tell if I was holding it upside down or right side up. It all looked the same to me.

I'm not sure how long it takes to learn the Thai language, but I can assure you there is not enough time throughout all eternity for me to learn it. I'm still struggling with English.

Most impressive were the . . .

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly enjoyed a trip to Asia. Thailand was our destination and adventure was our disposition. We thrilled with many new experiences on our excursion.

One fascinating aspect of our travel was the language. The one thing I noticed about the Thai language had to do with the alphabet.

The Thai alphabet is composed of little squiggly, curly figamajigs. To be quite honest, it looked like someone was eating a spaghetti dinner when they had to sneeze. Turning to the wall, they sneezed vigorously, covering the wall with squiggly, curly fragments of spaghetti.

Someone looked at it and said, ?Wow, that looks like an alphabet.? And since that time the Thai alphabet looked like squiggly curly fragments of spaghetti. Picking up and thumbing through some books in Thailand, I could never tell if I was holding it upside down or right side up. It all looked the same to me.

I'm not sure how long it takes to learn the Thai language, but I can assure you there is not enough time throughout all eternity for me to learn it. I'm still struggling with English.

Most impressive were the children of Thailand. As difficult as the language and alphabet are, these children speak Thai perfectly. They would look at me and chatter and chatter and chatter, and I had absolutely no idea what they were chattering about.

Of course, that's nothing new for me. My wife chatters and chatters and I have no earthly idea what she's chattering about either. All I know it must be some kind of a husband anti-chattering thing.

What's more, these tiny children could read Thai as easily as anything I've ever seen.

I, on the other hand, never did master any phrases in Thai. Before leaving for Thailand, I went to a bookstore and purchased a Thai phrasebook. I have no idea what I was thinking. The truth be told, I was not thinking.

For some reason I thought that by buying a phrasebook, I would immediately know how to pronounce the words in the book. The plan was that while traveling on the airplane, which was about 24 hours, I could master several phrases in the Thai language.

One phrase I thought would be most helpful upon arriving in Thailand was the simple phrase, ?excuse me.? I thought this would be politeness on my part. I did not want the people to think I was a rude American just because I didn't know their language. And the phrase, ?excuse me,? would be most useful in a variety of situations.

On the plane, traveling to Thailand, I practiced this phrase, along with others, as best I could. I was proud of what I was accomplishing prior to arriving in a strange land. By now, I should be wary of any sense of pride creeping up in my mind. It should raise a red flag warning of imminent danger.

I was anxious to practice my Thai.

Opportunity eventually came for me to put into practice what I had learned, or so I thought I learned.

Being in a crowded situation brought opportunity for me to practice my ?excuse me,? in Thai. I noticed right away, being the observant person I am, that when I said, ?excuse me? people looked alarmed and backed away from me rather quickly. I couldn't figure it out.

Several days passed and I noticed this aspect of my visit was not changing or getting any better. Every time I said, ?excuse me,? people parted company with me, immediately. Also, most of the people gave me a strange look upon backing away.

During our stay in Thailand, we were the guests of missionaries who live and work there. About halfway through our stay I had an opportunity to confide in one of the missionaries about this strange behavior I was experiencing.

When I explained the situation, the missionary asked me to repeat the phrase to her. When I did so she raised her hand to her mouth and laughed hysterically, which was no comfort to me by any stretch of the imagination.

When she finally regained composure, she explained to me that phrases in a foreign language could be difficult. ?If you don't pronounce the words correctly,? she explained to me, ?you may say something other than what you mean.? Then she laughed some more.

?What in the world did I say,? I pleaded.

?Instead of saying, ?excuse me,? as you intended, you said something altogether different.?

The missionary paused and looked at me intently with a smile twitching on her face. ?What you were actually saying was, 'may I pass gas.??

This explained the strange reaction I was getting and from then on, I practice my Thai no more. I found a new way to greet people not only in Thailand but also around the world. One word is the same no matter where you go. This one word brings a smile to everybody who hears it.

That one word is simply, ?Pepsi.? I spent the rest of my time in Thailand greeting people with this one word and the reaction was simply wonderful.

The Advent season reminds us of the importance of using the right word or name.

?And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.? (John 1:14 KJV.)

Jesus is the ?Word made flesh.? The name ?Jesus? is universal and means the same in every language.

Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
Used With Permission
For reprint permission, contact the auther through his site at:
http://www.realezsites.com/bus/godspenman

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