Thursday, March 15, 2012

Settle It Like A Man

I like jokes that involve cultural differences. Of course, I like those that make me laugh. Whether or not they cross the boundary of the politically correctness I don't quite care. Jokes are meant to make people laugh and they exacerbate some cliches to achieve that goal.

What really is funny is that the same ethnic jokes are encountered among different peoples, depending on who's telling the joke: Romanians vs Hungarians, Dutch vs Belgians, Germans vs well, pretty much everyone, French vs French, English against Scots, Irish, Welsh, Aussies, well, pretty much everyone, and so forth.

But what's even better is when the jokes are not jokes, but real facts. And even more better, when the Americans come into picture. And if they come into picture by moving to Scotland, the laugh is always guaranteed. Of course, the first cultural shock for an American going to live in Scotland is the language. They feel the need to look for a subtitle whenever engaged in a conversation with the locals. And that's in the fortunate cases, when they go to live in big cities, like Glasgow or Edinburgh. When they go to live in the countryside, they take up language courses.

This story's about this American, let's call him Jim, who moved from the sunny California to the moist but cold Scotland, somewhere in a village. Why someone would do that, it's not to be debated here. Anyway, Jim thought  to integrate in the society, so he took up the local habits: wear dark green Wellies, go down the pub twice a day, etc. Things seemed to go very well with him, until one day, when his neighbour Athol (he cannot help giggling whenever he says that name out loud in his American accent) came over to ask for the egg his Scottish chicken laid in the American garden.

"Sorry, man", replied Jim, "but the egg is in my yard so legally speaking it belongs to me. You can't even prove it was your chicken that laid it".

"Aye, right, laddie! We stay in Scotland so we're doing it like here. It was my chicken so the egg should be mine, thanks"

"Man, the law is different, it's on my side. Whatever is in my yard it's mine. Scotland or elsewhere".

"Ye know, why don't we settle the problem like real men, the same way my ancestors always did?"

"Which would be???"

"Look, laddie, we're doing it like this: I kick you in the balls as hard as I can, then I count the time you need to recover. Then you kick me and time me as well. The one with the smallest time wins."

"Ok, let's do it".

Then the Scot went back to his house, put on his best leather boots, came back, ran up for a few yards, and kick the American right in the balls. This one stooped and, while catching his breath again, was timed:

"Two minutes and forrrrty nayn seconds", roared Athol.

"Wow... come on... it's my turn now"

"Keep the bloody egg!"

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