Setting: The playground in the local park. A 10-year old boy has just heard me speaking English to my daughter and has bravely approached me to practice his language skills
Kid: Are you English?
Me: Yes I am.
Me: (Knowing the answer but wanting to encourage this active learner) What about you?
Kid: I'm from here.
Kid: Do you like football?
Me: Yes - and you?
Kid: Of course. Which team do you support?
Me: (Knowing that the next utterance is about to be met with a blank look) Sheffield Wednesday
Kid (blank look)
Me:(helpfully) They're in the second division.
Kid: (blank look)
Kid: But which of the four big teams do you support?
Me: (unhelpfully because I know very well what he means, I just can't bring myself to let this go) Which four big teams?
Kid: Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool
Me: (honestly) None of them.
Kid: (blank look). (Decides to press on regardless) No, which one of them do you like?
Me: None of them. In fact I dislike all of them.
Kid: What about in the Champions' League. Which one of them do you want to win?
Me: None of them. I want all of them to lose.
Kid: (slightly puzzled) But you're English.
Me: (Thinks: Well I loathe Arsenal with every fibre of my being. I deeply detest Chelsea. I despise Liverpool and I abhor Man United. But I don't think this will be understood and at this age he probably doesn't actually need to know a bunch of synonyms for "hate") I suppose the one I hate least is Man United.
Kid: You like Man United?
Me: Well no, but if they play Arsenal or Chelsea or Liverpool I'd want them to not lose. (Realising this is just making life much too confusing and is only going to dissuade kid from speaking English at all. Plus at 10 he doesn't need to know that being a football fan is actually all about misery, despair, and hatred. Decides instead to slightly change subject) Which one do you support?
Kid: Chelsea. I hope they win the Champion's League this year.
Me: Good luck with that. I hope Porto do.
Kid: (Blank look)
1FC Köln & The Great Arsenal Stadium Mystery
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