The "Hooked On Phonics" headline down below got me thinking about a funny experience I had years ago.
When Eric and I were first together, back when we had jobs that allowed us to do so, we'd take off every Spring and go down to the Southwest desert to hike and camp. One year we took a side trip to visit Eric's best friend from college, who was then living in Albuquerque NM. He took us exploring to all his favorite NM spots. It was memorable for so many reasons; there are so many amazing places down there. One of the spots he took us was the Jemez Mountains. We spent the day hiking and afterwards decided to stop in a little town for something to eat. We went into a tavern-type place and enjoyed some dinner and beer. The place was hoppin'....juke-box playing and dancing and singing. There is a huge Native American population in the area, and many of the revelers were Indian. Pretty soon, one guy came over and asked us if we were headed back toward Albuerque, and if so, could we give his friend a ride? He lived at one of the pueblos on the way. We said "sure!". Rick, aside from being an English Professor at UNM, was pretty fluent in Navajo. After awhile, we all packed into Rick's very tiny car. Eric and I were in back with the Indian guy, who was wildly drunk, he was just singing and laughing, hanging out the window. Then, suddenly, as if a lightbulb went off in his head, he realized he was in a car with a bunch of people who were fluent in ENGLISH!! He could practice on us! Prior to that moment, we'd not understood a single word he said. Now, he proudly trotted out every single English phrase he knew, obviously every bit of it from television. He'd say "Tastes just like real butter!", "I'd like to give the world a Coke!" and "Who shot JR?" He'd try something out on us, we'd laugh, and he'd just BEAM with pride that we understood him and we were having a succssful conversation. It was so cute. He pointed us off the highway to his pueblo, and got out of the car. As we pulled away into the warm New Mexico night, windows down, he waved wildly and yelled "Thank you! I'M HOOKED ON PHONICS!!"