Meanwhile, in South Dakota, way out on the lone prairie, Betsey Horton, Writer Extraordinaire, awakes from her not-so-sound slumber sometime well before dawn. After tossing and turning for sometime, she finally accepts the inevitable. She picks up her iPad and sees an interesting notification.
Duolingo: Ms. Horton, we’re just done your Year in Review and we have good news! Congratulations! You’re in the Top 1% of Language Learners in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! That’s right! Out of millions of people on this planet, you made it to the top! You did it! You’re a World Champion! You’re #1!
Betsey: What the f—? Is this for real?
Duolingo: You’re damn right it’s real! Here’s 10 pages of states to prove it!
Betsey: Wow, okay. Uhhh… but… wait… uhh… how?
Duolingo: You dedicated your time and put in the work! You took lessons in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Navajo, Haitian Creole, and Swahili! French and Portuguese are the two you dedicated the most time and practice on. That’s right! Just by dedicating 10 minutes a day, you made it. You didn’t even know any Portuguese a year ago. Now you can understand the brief dialogues they included in The Woman King. How does that make you feel?
Betsey: Are you sure you’re not making a mistake? I never win anything. There’s no way I can be Number One.
Duolingo: C’est vrai! You’re on top! Here’s your award!
The Owl motions to the stage behind him as the red velvet curtains roll up. Betsey suddenly finds herself standing in front and center with the spotlight on her. The Owl drapes her in a golden sash, hands her a bouquet of flowers, and puts a crown on her head. The crowd gives her a standing ovation and throws their hats in the air.
The Audience: You’re Number One! You’re Number One! You’re Number One!
Betsey: [looks around in awe for just a moment before she realizes she *LOVES* all the attention suddenly being thrown her way and immediately starts hamming it up for the crowd] Oh yes, thank you, thank you! Merci beaucoup! Muchas gracias! Obrigada! Obrigado! Merci, merci, merci! Yes, thank you. I love you all! J’adore tout la monde!
Duolingo: But wait, there’s more! Just for purely scientific purposes, we must know… why did you end your streak and go dark on your lessons when you were doing well?
Betsey: Uhh… well… actually… if you must know… the real reason is because I was listening to the French audio lessons and I got to the one where my two friends meet at a dinner party and really hit off and go on a date to the tennis court together and it goes so well that he asks her out for lunch. Honestly, I just got really randomly insanely jealous and I had to turn it off because I couldn’t stand listening to it anymore.
Duolingo: Ahhh… l’amour.
Betsey: Oui, l’amour. C’est une blague. Ridiculous. Why can’t I be invited to a fancy French dinner party where some random hot French guy asks me out on a date? Why do I have to be stuck in this godforsaken town in the middle of nowhere?
Duolingo: I can’t answer that question, but I can suggest you finish out the audio listen just in case you ever happen to find yourself in that situation. You never know! After all, that’s the point of learning new languages. They open up lots of new doors!
Betsey: You’re right. I should go back. As it turns out, I really enjoy winning. This seems like a pretty good way to go about it.
Duolingo: Yes, yes. That’s it. Turn back to the light side! Use your brain power for good!
Betsey: Brain power? What brain power?
Duolingo: The brain power you used to become a #1 Top Language Learner Worldwide!
Betsey: Oh, that brain power. The brain power I’m destroying with alcohol because I have no practical use for it in my every day life now that I live in this miserable fucking culturally devoid shithole.
Duolingo: Exactly. Now let’s get you back on track so you can make that fabulous trip to Brazil for Carnival!
Betsey: You’re right. I am much happier when I dedicate my time and energy to opening new doors to new worlds and new people. Let’s take the New Year by storm!
The crowd goes wild, again. Betsey waves and bows and blows kisses as she waltzes offstage.