Taking that one chance

Yours truly, two years ago:

A long-running advertisement from the Rosetta Stone language-instruction service contains a photo of a young fellow and the following description: “He was a hardworking farm boy. She was an Italian supermodel. He knew he would have just one chance to impress her.”

What the ad doesn’t say, of course, is what happened after that.

Rosetta Stone, this past January, asked for continuations to the story; they got almost 300 submissions. The ending to this one (#29) I liked particularly:

“And that,” said the old lady in the rocking chair to the group of small children sitting on the ground around her, “that is how your grandfather and I met.”

“Next time,” said the old man sitting in the corner. The children spun around to look at him. “I’ll tell you about our honeymoon in China. I’m still amazed I was able to learn Chinese as well. Language certainly opens doors for people. It did for me.”

He looked into the old woman’s eyes, the same ones that captivated him that day long ago, and smiled.

This update was brought to you through the kindness of Nancy Friedman.


  1. fillyjonk »

    16 June 2010 · 11:35 am

    I do rather like THAT ending. Though I also agree with Ms. Friedman: it seems the ads only ever show young men buying the stuff so they can impress an exotic woman.

    (Then again, perhaps to a chap in Lapland or Mongolia, *I’d* be exotic. that’s something…)

  2. Charles Pergiel »

    16 June 2010 · 5:14 pm

    Any woman who catches a man’s eye is exotic.

    The original ad is drivel. Does anyone every learn to speak a foreign language from a box?

    I maintain that the only way to learn to speak a different language is to talk with people who speak that language. Easiest wasy is go live where it is spoken. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe other can learn to speak from a box.

  3. Mark »

    16 June 2010 · 8:59 pm

    I think Ian Frazier has the definitive take on how the story ends:

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Are you aware that stalking a supermodel without her consent is a violation of Italian law?
    Lei è consapevole che infastidire una top model senza il suo consenso è una violazione della legge italiana?

    This pocket dictionary of Italian prison slang may be useful to you.
    Questo dizionario tascabile di gergo carcerario italiano le potrebbe essere utile.

  4. CGHill »

    16 June 2010 · 9:14 pm

    I should look into that dictionary; all the phrasebooks I stumble across concentrate on overworked pleasantries like “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

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