Yesterday, I was talking to some students about The Scarlet Letter--we were talking about Point of View, and the difference between third person and first person--and I actually asked the students: "How do you think the book would have been different if Nathaniel Hawthorne had written it in the first person? From Scarlet's point of view?"
And then there was a pause and these students looked at me like I was crazy and then I suddenly heard what I had said.
"Uh, wait, I meant...uh, Hester. How would the book have been different if it had been written from Hester's point of view? Hester Prynne."
But by then I had lost them. By then I was the dumb substitute teacher who thought the heroine of The Scarlet Letter was actually named Scarlet.
(I was about to make a joke about how "that's when my cheeks went red, or, uh, scarlet," but the truth is I wasn't really embarrassed--I thought it was funny too.)
In my defense, it's been fifteen years since I've read The Scarlet Letter and I was teaching the book cold. When I started making fun of the fact that I thought her name was Scarlet, I won the kids over again--so in the end it was all good.