Forgive The Pun(tang)

, , , , , | Right | December 5, 2013

(I am working as a phone operator at the hospital. Usually people call me and I connect them to different parts of the hospital.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Hospital]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yeah. Can you connect me to the ‘vaginacologist’ please?”

(I knew what she wanted but was stunned because I have never heard anyone say that before.)

Me: “You mean, the gynecologist office?”

Caller: “I don’t know what they are called. Whoever is in charge of looking at my ‘hoo haw!'”

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Butting Against A Culture Clash

, | Learning | December 2, 2013

(I teach English in Japan. I am walking to my classroom when I hear giggling coming from inside. I see one sixth-grade aged boy burst from the darkened room and run off to another classroom. I assume that some students are roughhousing in there. I proceed to walk into the classroom and turn on the lights. I see two of my male students on the floor. The larger has not only pinned the smaller to the floor, but has pulled his pants down and is spanking his bare butt. They had been laughing, but everyone freezes the moment the light turns on.)

Smaller Student: “Let’s go.”

(I try to start teaching like nothing had happened. Later, I ask an older Japanese teacher about what I should do.)

Older Teacher: “Were they having fun?”

Me: “Yes…”

Older Teacher: “Oh. Okay, then.”

(The older teacher was not phased, or bothered by the incident, as if it were a normal occurrence. I guess that the moral of the story is that consent is more important than propriety, although I still refused to go anywhere near that spot for the rest of the day!)

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One Day It Will Make Scents

, , , , | Related | November 20, 2013

(I am driving my eight-year-old daughter to school early in the morning when a news story comes on the radio station.)

Radio: “The bodyguard of [Famous Singer] is suing because she farted in his presence.”

Daughter: “Oh, my God! Why would she do that to that man’s presents?”

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Sorry, I Canada Understand You, Part 2

, , , , , | Working | November 20, 2013

(I’m in Montréal visiting my grandparents. I don’t know enough Quebecois to have a full coherent conversation. Since most employees can speak both Quebecois and English, I usually start the conversations in English to avoid any complications. I walk into a clothing shop and one of the employees approaches me, speaking very quickly in Quebecois.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I’m only fluent in English. Were you telling me about the sales?”

Employee: *to cashier* “UGH, mon dieu! Crisse de cave. Petite cave…”

(This roughly translates into ‘Oh, my god, what a little idiot.’)

Me: “But I do know enough to ask for your manager. Or should I say, ‘Je ne suis pas un peu idiot! Où est votre gestionnaire?'”

(The employee turned beet red and retrieved a manager, who apologized profusely for her language. He offered me one free accessory from the sale rack, and said he will remind his staff to assume that primarily English tourists might know some basic French!)


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Politically Correct Pirates Are Unassailable

, , , , | Related | November 19, 2013

(My mom, sisters, and I are chatting online a few days after Halloween.)

Sister #1: “So what were you for Halloween, Mom?”

Mom: “I was a gypsy. My first graders didn’t know what that was, so I had to tell them.”

Sister #2: “Actually, Mom, they prefer to be known as the Roma, not gypsies. It’s considered a derogatory term.”

Mom: “Oh, wow, I didn’t know that. I guess I had better retire that costume and figure out something new for next year that’s more politically correct. [Sister #3], what were you for Halloween?”

Sister #3: “Oh, I was a pirate.”

Me: “Actually, they prefer to be known as ‘mercenaries’ these days. ‘Pirate’ is so not PC.”

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