‘Thank you! Thank you! Thank you very much, you’re too kind. No, really, thank you! You can stop clapping now, I appreciate that but you really need to stop—knock it off!!’
You ever look back at it like a monkey to get an update on your progress and it doesn’t fall in the toilet, instead it rests on the edge of the seat, and you stick your leg in it? Yeah, me either. I’ve never said “I cleaned the ish outta myself” in lieu of ‘I really needed that shower’ either. :confession: This article is intended to be a comedy piece but, between you and I (it’s just us here, right?), I had no idea it would start like this 🤔 or, for the sake of the content in this opening paragraph, end like this—speaking of digestion.
On the job, back when I had to do that stuff, I had a brand new apprentice with me one day, it was a Saturday and all weekend time was double time. There’s a saying in the construction world for bathroom (toilet, if you’re in Europe) time on double time days. Rather than saying “I’ll be right back, nature calls” or, something to that effect, you say something like “I’m going to go take a $50 bathroom break” meaning you’re going to be in there about 15 minutes. I said something along those lines to my brand new apprentice, cordially insisting he doesn’t touch anything until I get back, “Eh, I need to drop about 50 bucks in the toilet, I’ll be right back” to which he responded, without any hesitation, “WHAT did you eat?!” Alright, to those of you who made it this far, I’ll see if I clean this article up a little bit now.
Cultural differences are a reality—no two cultures are indoctrinated in the same facet. Since traveliving abroad for an entire year now, we’ve experienced some undeniable cultural differences. Just the other day, actually, I was fascinated by the family next to us at the Indian restaurant because they ate their rice with their hands. They scooped it from their plate, dipped it in the curry, and fed their face, all with the use of their hands only—fascinating! The same goes for humor when cracking a joke or, better yet, when attempting to crack a joke. A condescending type of humor (‘moi’) isn’t always guaranteed acceptance in your own culture, the likeliness of it being accepted in a foreign culture is slim to none but when you have a naturally #satire personality, you can’t help it. Eye, I mean, Eye can’t help it.
Just the other day I was getting my hair did down the street by a British native. I rock a fohawk, pretty simple haircut—No.1 on the sides, finger length in the middle with a high fade. When she asked how I wanted it cut in the back, I could see her look of concern when I responded, “I don’t care, I can’t see it anyway.” ’Uh.. yeah, what I mean by that is.’ They’re not jokes when you have to explain them and I didn’t plan on walking back to the stay looking like Brian Bosworth—I had to explain myself.
That reminds me of the time I walked in the hair cutting joint and responded with “no, I used my phone” when I was asked, “did you call in?” Funniest part is everyone knew what I meant. Here’s another one.
Whenever we’re out and about, as soon as a local Brit hears Pura or myself speak, they know we’re not from here—it’s obvious. We do things like annunciate our “R’s,” I don’t wear pants tighter than Pura’s, and we don’t fabricate our own definition to common words in the English language such as “spazz.” I actually had a guy tell me “it’s a derogatory insult toward someone who suffers from cerebral palsy.” ’Uhm.. what?!’ When I showed him the definition for spazz in the English dictionary, he responded with “that’s an American definition!” Then I showed him the definition in the UK dictionary which means the exact same thing, “clumsy,” and asked him to show me anywhere, in any dictionary, where it lists anything regarding cerebral palsy—he couldn’t. By the way, this is the most I’ve ever used spazz in my #life, it isn’t a wOrd I’ve ever used in conversation, he was telling me something Kanye South said, West, North, whatever direction his name goes. As I was saying.
Whenever we’re out and about, as soon as a local Brit hears Pura or myself speak, they know we’re not from here. Often times, I can see their eyes light up and they’re itching to ask me the question—it happens all the time. Rarely do they follow through with it as all Brits are kind and naturally passive people but, on a few occasions, they mustered up the courage to ask. One of the first times went like this: A young girl working at the market said “are you American?” “Yes,” I told her. “May I ask you a question (in her elegant sounding British accent)?” “ask me anything you want” I said. “What do you think of Trump?” Enter @dandays: “I’ve never met the guy—I trust you more than him and I don’t trust you at all.” I was immediately met with despair and had to acknowledge that cultural differences thing again, ’no. Wait, I’m just kidding.. I mean, I’m not kidding about not meeting the guy but...’ Yeah, I don’t use that response anymore. Speaking of questions.
In American culture, we’re not as open or as comfortable talking about our personal lives as most other cultures are. Here in England, for example, they like to ask a lot of questions which prepped us for the cultures we’ve since been in contact with. In the US, you wouldn’t ask someone where they live, how much is rent, how long have you lived there, how many bedrooms, electric or gas oven, shoe size, annual salary, mother’s maiden name, employer address, what’s your 10 year plan (I’m not exaggerating), immediately upon meeting. It’s just not in our culture to divulge anything beyond our names and maybe our profession during the initial introduction—anything beyond those two are considered invasive. German culture, as do many cultures, ask a lot of questions—something us Americans aren’t culturally bred to accept. I’ll give you an example.
We’re volunteering at the refugee camp one night in Greece. There’s Pura and I from the states, the host is English, one outstanding young man from Iraq, a couple of refugees from Iran, another young man from Morocco, and two Germans—he’s a chef and the other, a young woman, she’s a doctor. All of whom are exceptionally kind people and I miss them every day. I’m chopping food or something and behind me I hear the German guy, who’s a really big dude by the way, grilling @puravidaville with questions—because that’s his culture just as much as it’s our culture to avoid asking questions as well as answering them. He’s asking her all kinds of things, “where are you staying?” “Why are you here?” “How much is rent?” “How long are you staying there?” “Where were you before here?” “What does your husband do?” “Do you work?” “Where will you go next?” All of those questions, and then some, to which Pura is trying to avoid and be as polite as she can in the process—enter @dandays.
I turned around and said “are you writing a book?” :time out: You see, where I come from, that’s a cordial way of saying, ‘you sure do ask a lot of questions’ with no ill intent, I actually meant for it to be funny—not funny. Prime example of the joke falling flat and how it isn’t funny at all when you have to explain yourself. :time in: “Are you writing a book?” I asked. Marion, the gentleman from Germany, immediately responds in his dark beer drinking, very deep sounding, 6’4” stature German accented voice, “book, I like book. No, I never write book, I like read book, you write book? What book you write? I want read your book.” ‘Hmm.. yeah, that isn’t really what I meant.’ Speaking of America.
When I grew up and, what I mean by that is, the point in time I’d like you to think I grew up, high school was grade nine through 12. I figured out at the start of 9th grade, you need four credits from each subject at the end of your high school sentence in order to graduate. What that meant was, if you took two English credits your freshman year and two more your sophomore year, you wouldn’t be required to take an English class your junior, nor your senior year—I’m in! I did the same thing with math, too, rather than take two electives my freshman year, I took two English classes and two math courses rather than one each—rewind to 10th grade. :rwdrwdrwdrwdrwdrwdrwd:
With English one and two out of the way from my freshman year, I took English three as a sophomore and a remedial reading class as an elective that year—my fourth credit. I don’t think we were ever required to spell a wOrd with more than three syllables, it wasn’t quite “kat,” “cat,” however you splell it, but you get the picture. I even remember dudes name, the teacher said, “ok, Steve, it’s your turn, spell America.” :time out: Ok, I know what you’re thinking, “why in the’fa kwould an American, in an American high school, be asked to spell America? Everyone in America knows how to spell America.” Well, Steve didn’t. :time in: He paused once or twice. Steve’s a seemingly decent kid, by the way, an athlete on the baseball team, I think he was a senior at the time—taking a remedial English class with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. “Go ahead, Steve, America, spell America.” Steve said: “A... R... phô’king (he dropped the real F bomb) U.S.A!” Speaking of splellink.
The invention of autocorrect is great! It not only helps me trick people into believing I can spell—it also really made me aware which friends of mine should’ve paid a little more attention in school. I’m no genius but I know the difference between
one two and too and to. I appreciate all of the correct spelling when I receive text messages but it’s the people who use “there” for everything I feel bad for. “There shoes are over there. There around here somewhere. It isn’t there’s it’s either hers or there’s.” I rely on autocorrect a lot, I know how to splell (usually), I just need the letters on my phone to gauge the size of my thumbs. Your getting this right? Your, you’re, that’s another one. Patience and patients—that’s another one! Or when they’re referring to someone as a loser (idiot, moron, etc) and rather than spell loser, they spell “looser,” but they do it over and over and over (and over and over and over and over) so you know it’s not a typo and they’re actually just a loser who thinks loser is spelled with two O’s. I’m not sure how I got to this stage of the article? 🤔 Considering the opening paragraphs were worlds apart from grammatical errors—no clue how we’ve ended up where we are.
I’d like to invent a shock collar with an app that links to your cell phone so that nobody loses (one ‘O’) their phone and then I could wait in the market parking lot to see how many people leave their phone in their car. I’d watch as they turn their ignition off, get out of the car, lock the door, get about 20 feet away from their car and the ones who don’t have their phone on them—ka’pow! Who doesn’t like free entertainment? Speaking of free entertainment, I got one more for you.
My wife is stunning, right, she’s the same wife I’m always talking about—I only have one. She’s gorgeous, a real-life showstopper, amazing 5-star chef, she’s the baddest chick I’ve ever met. She’s solely responsible for making me The Luckiest Guy I Know. I’m telling you this because it’s 100% true and I’m hoping to lessen the consequential effects I’ll encounter after she reads this.
She’s nice to me, all the time, her humor is even more rash than mine, I call it “jugular humor,” she always goes for the jugular—she puts up with me no matter what and loves everything about me. She does really cool things like clean the bed sheets once a week and backs up every.single.thing I say every.single.time I say it—I’m The Luckiest Guy I Know. Ok, ready? Here goes nothin!
She’s the bridesmaid for one of her best friends—they’ve known each other going on 30 years at the time, it’s her turn to toast the bride and groom. Everyone is clinking their wine glasses as she steps up to address the crowd of approximately 300 people—I’m out in the audience eagerly awaiting her unscripted speech. She stands up in her stunning backless, sky blue dress with her long blonde hair and make up all done up beautifully, undoubtedly the baddest chick at the whole entire wedding—beautiful! She goes through her shpeel with the mic in her hand.
Tory (that’s her friends name), we’ve known each other umpteen years, yata yata yata, congratulations, Bla Bla, I couldn’t be more happy for you, etc, etc and then she gets to the groom, Jason. The very first words out of my lovely bride, the only 10 at the whole reception is, “Jason, the first time we met, you were a little hard to swallow.”
Yeah.. she said that! Nearly 300 people, myself included, were laughing so hard she couldn’t speak over us through the PA. She had no idea she even said it, “what? Wha’d I say? I don’t get it.” And continued her unscripted speech—classic! :cheers: 🥂
Cover image source