How many times have you laughed at a movie depicting two people not fully understanding each other due to language barrier? I am sure so many and in fact this is a favorite topic at work where the staff and patients are Asian with various languages spoken including Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tonkinese, Filipino, Ilocano and something called Chuukese from Micronesia. Talk about a language barrier comedy session! (and possibilities for unintended medical errors) The only thing they agree on is RICE.
Consider this conversation between a man speaking Pigeon trying to explain to a sales lady at the Honolulu Star that theyâ€™d gotten his classified ad wrong. “Hello, this is Classifieds, can I help you?” Customer: *with a heavy Pigeon accent* “Yays, I put een an ad, and eet sayes ‘peacock truck’ but eet should be’peacock truck'”
“The ad says ‘peacock truck’, but it should be ‘peacock truck’? I don’t understand the difference. Did they get the color wrong or something?” Customer: “No, no, peacock – eet ees not a color, eet ees a peacock, a peacock truck!”
“Sir, is there anyone else there who might be able to talk to me? I’m sorry; I can’t understand what you’re trying to tell me.” Customer: “Eet is seemple, eet ees a peacock truck – Pee, uh, ee, ee, uh…”
“Sir.. .are you trying to spell ‘pickup’? Is it a pickup truck you’re selling?” Customer: ‘Yays, yays, eet ees a peacock truck, like I say before.”
“Right, sir, I’ll fix that for you. So sorry. We’ll run the ad for two days extra, to make up for lost time”. Customer: “Thank you. Goodbye.”
The next day: “Hello, this is Classifieds, can I help you?” Customer: “Yeah, I went to look at this truck that was advertised in your paper, and it wasn’t what they said it was. It’s false advertising!”
“What was the problem? What was wrong?” Customer: ‘Well, the ad said it was a peacock truck, and I love that color. We went to see it, and it was black! That’s not peacock!”
Back in the cowboy days, a westbound wagon train was lost and low on food. No other humans had been seen for days … and then they saw an old Jewish Rabbi, sitting beneath a tree. The leader rushed to him and said, “We’re lost and running out of food. Is there someplace ahead where we can get food?” “Vell, I tink so,” the old Rabbi said, “but I vouldn’t go up dat hill, und down de udder side. Somevun tole me you’d run into a big bacon tree.” “A bacon tree?” asked the wagon train leader.”Yah, ah bacon tree. Vould I lie? ….. Trust me, I vouldn’t go dere.” The leader goes back and tells his people what the Rabbi said. “So why did he say not to go there?” some pioneers asked.” Oh, you know Jewish people don’t eat bacon.” So the wagon train goes up the hill and down the other side. Suddenly, Indians are attacking from everywhere and they massacre all except the leader who manages to escape back to the old Jewish Rabbi. The near-dead man starts shouting, “You fool! You sent us to our deaths! We followed your instructions, but there was no bacon tree. Just hundreds of Indians, who killed everyone but me.” The old Jewish man holds up his hand and says, “Oy….. vait a minute.” He then gets on his Google Translate and plays with it a minutes and says “Oy Vey, I made myself such ah big mishtake! It vuzn’t a bacon tree. It vuz a ham bush.”
Thankfully, everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection. Have a weekend full of joyous laughter.