Becky says things about … being lost in translation

Greetings to you all, most splendid listeners! I have acquired a few more of you since my last post on being cheerful had the glorious fortune to be Freshly Pressed; and, as the majority of you are either from my own humble Englandland or from across the pond in Americaland, I shall say hello in both languages:

English: Good day to you, my old chums! Salutations and hello there!

American: Yo, bud! Waassuuuuuuup??? Hey y’all, how YOU doin’???

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If you excellent Americans have gleaned from the above that we English think you actually talk like that all the time and that you are a nation of  Budweiser-swigging, gangsta-Paula Deen-Joey-from-Friends incarnations, then you are sadly correct.

You see, we in Englandland just can’t grasp your language. Yes we know it’s essentially the same language as ours, but there are such monumental differences, my American pals, such crucial and paramount disparities that we just can’t cope with.  

For example.

You have no idea how a simple greeting from you can throw us English into blind panic.

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We have literally no idea how to answer this question. Do you even mean it as a question? Is it rhetorical?

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If it’s rhetorical, you need to tell us. We are a great nation, but we cannot handle a question so early into a conversation.

This language barrier has also prevented potentially millions of English people from getting jobs in America. Ever wondered why there are so few English people working in your office? This is due to a simple yet crucial difference in the language of architecture: your buildings start on the first floor and move up to the second. Our buildings start on the ground floor and move up to the first. Do you know how many job interviews have been missed, how many hopes and dreams have been slashed, due to this massively important difference?

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But sometimes, America, you’re not just content with moving floors around, you take a word that we can cope with, that we think we understand and you make it mean something else! At school I read the entire To Kill A Mockingbird weeping at the injustice of inequality, rejoicing at the vigour of the human spirit, revelling in the beauty of the writing, and wondering incessantly what the hell Scout was talking about when she mentioned her bangs. 

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Listener, I did not learn what bangs were until about a year ago. For those of my fellow Englishmen who still have no notion: bangs means fringe. As in, the hair that covers our foreheads.

Yes.

I know.

No, I have no idea how they came up with bangs, either.

But bangs is nothing. Nothing, I tell you.

NOTHING compared to the brilliantly astounding lost-in-translation moment that accompanies an American talking about their fanny.

**Pause to allow my English listeners to smirk quietly to themselves.**

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You see, America, we English find the fact that you use the word ‘fanny’ to mean ‘bottom’, unfathomably amusing. I recently told the lovely Lizzy from Big Body Beautiful that I had finally come to like my rather rotund bottom. Lizzy beautifully replied that she was delighted that I was ‘sending pleasing thoughts to my fanny’. This amused me tremendously. 

Oh, America. You wear fanny packs. You sit on your fanny. You want your fanny to be bigger / smaller / thinner / plumper / wider / juicier (enjoying this, England?) – and we English at first gape open-mouthed, and then laugh and laugh and laugh.

Why?

Because here in England, fanny does not mean bottom. Here in England, fanny means

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THAT is why we find a nice American girl saying she’s been working on her fanny to try and tone it up insanely amusing. It is also why I was tormented for years by the aching, unanswerable question of why the hell anyone would invent a fanny pack. 

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And as for the biscuit debacle. Well. How do you think we feel when we see American breakfast menus advertising biscuits and gravy? It throws us into turmoil. A nice, sweet digestive biscuit covered in gravy??? Are they demented??? Our biscuits are your cookies. Would you want your cookies smothered in gravy? Of course you wouldn’t. That is why the concept both startles and repels us. And what about the Great Chips / Fries palaver? We go to America and order steak and chips expecting this:

Courtesy of bbc.co.uk
Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

And instead get this:

Courtesy of @alz
Courtesy of @alz

Displeasing.

But perhaps the greatest example of a potentially fatal translation problem comes from a friend who had the following conversation with a policeman (or police officer, if you will) in Manhattan, New York, at around midnight. In the late ’80s.

Behold.

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True story, Listener. True story.

So, my lovely American buddies, the next time an English person chortles manically when you say you’ve got an itchy fanny, or gapes bemusedly when you say you need to straighten your bangs, or whispers ‘Sss’ when you say ‘Do the Math’ (it’s Maths, America, Maths), you know why. We’re not being rude, we’re just confused.

Becky says things about … a new year

So, dearest Listeners, it’s very nearly 2014, and Stickman, like a lot of us, is feeling a bit pensive.

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Those old niggling feelings of regret and guilt are creeping up on as we teeter towards the cusp of a new year: was I productive enough this year? Was I a good person? Did I do enough exercise? Did I eat and drink too much? Did I finally sort out my iTunes folders?

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We’re vaguely excited about a new year because it means we can start again, and get it right this time. Not like we did all the other years – all the other years, when we promised ourselves we’d be brilliant and then we turned out to be not as  brilliant as we’d hoped – because this year it’ll be different. 

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We’re probably going to a party tonight, and are getting into the party spirit by playing a few excellent tunes, having a cheeky drink, dancing a merry jig, and waving off 2013 as something that happened to us once, and there’ll be plenty of other years ahead to play with. new year4

Or we’re staying at home and reflecting on how quickly it all flies past and how death is imminent.

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Whatever we’re doing, and however we’re feeling, the new year is upon us – whether we like to stick with a lower case new year, or attribute seasonally erroneous capitals to our New Year to give it the magnitude it deserves – and there’s a whole heap of bugger all we can do about it.

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So, I suggest we all have a good time, we all hug our friends, we all get a little bit merry and say something mildly inappropriate to at least one person, and we all look forward to being brilliant in 2014 and finally getting round to sorting out our iTunes folders.

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A very happy new year, or Happy New Year – however you like to play it – for 2014 from myself and Stickman, and may the New Year bring You very many Good Things, a lot of Laughs, few Cries, Much Love, excellent Fortune, and a WhiMsicaL attItuDe To cApiTAl LeTTeRs.

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Becky says things about … saying hello

So. Having had the tremendous good fortune of being Freshly Pressed in the last few days with my confessions at how rubbish I am at exercise, I seem to have gained quite a few more listeners who are willing to hear the things that I say. Therefore, I just wanted to –

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Stickman, you know full well that that is NOT what being Freshly Pressed entails. I am trying to make a serious and heartfelt gesture to my new listeners, and that’s very difficult to achieve when you insist on mucking about. Will you please just be sensible.

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And less of the attitude.

Sorry about that, dear Listeners.

What I was going to say before we were interrupted by a stick with an attitude problem, was a big friendly

“HELLO”

and

“HI THERE”

and

“GOODNESS ME, YOU LOOK LOVELY, AND YOUR SKIN IS REALLY GLOWING, HAVE YOU BEEN EATING MORE OILY FISH RECENTLY?”

and other such salutations to my lovely new listeners.

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And this is my pal Stickman, who hangs around and helps me say things. He’s a great guy, on the whole, but can sometimes be, to put it bluntly, an emotional, mental and physical carcrash, so watch out for him.

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You can refute all you like, mate, it’s the ruddy truth. You’re mental.

Anyway, that’s what I wanted to say: HELLO TO ALL MY LOVELY NEW LISTENERS (and obviously a high-five to all my existing listeners – you’re great, you guys). I look forward to saying things to you and to checking out your own fabulous blogs when I get back from a holiday to Greece in a couple of weeks. If you fancy joining me, I’ll be in Greece. I’ll be the English girl with the crimson face and the one strip of sunburn on her left shoulder (classic English holiday look).

Until next time, it’s cheerio from me!

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Oh for God’s sake. Those things will stunt your growth you know. You could’ve been a massive oak tree standing proudly in a park by now if you’d never smoked. Instead you’re just a stick doing stuff on a blog. Life choices, Stickman. Life choices.

Becky says things about … saying things on other people’s blogs

Yes, sweetest Listeners, I don’t just say things on MY blog, I say things on other people’s blogs! Isn’t that great?

The clown of all evil / knowledge / worldly omnipotence, Le Clown, asked me if I’d take him out of his cosy clown home in Montreal and show him the sights in London.

I myself couldn’t be bothered to do this, so I got Stickman to do it, and, predictably, chaos ensued.

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Okay, mate. I just don’t think anyone is ever going to ask you to show them round a  major city again, that’s all.

Anyway, Listeners, check out the whole unfortunate escapade here.

Becky says things about … St Patrick’s Day

I hadn’t intended to say things about St Patrick’s Day, not being Irish, a fan of Guinness, or small men with ginger beards, but when I saw the effort Stickman had gone to, I couldn’t really ignore it.

Just look at him.

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I am a little concerned that he’s started drinking Guinness so early, as it’s well-known that Stickman can’t really handle his liquor, but I’m hoping he’ll remain sensible and we won’t have to go through the ridiculous palaver that St Patrick’s Day always turns out to be.

Listener, last year I took him to see Riverdance. He got so drunk in the bar beforehand he stormed the stage, tried to join in, and passed out. I was literally mortified.

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Then the year before we went to a house party, and needless to say Stickman got stuck into the black stuff. After several pints – which is several more than he can handle – the following incident occurred. (Unfortunately, I was unable to intervene as I myself had got rather inebriated and was gorging on the host’s secret supply of crumpets, as I am wont to do.)

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Needless to say I was very embarrassed when a fellow party-goer rushed into the kitchen, where I had my face in a plate of hot buttered crumpets, and relayed the whole sorry episode to me. I took Stickman home and put him to bed with an Aspirin. I suppose it’s my fault for not having the ‘leprechaun talk’ with him at a younger age. 

Then of course there was the year that Stickman went totally over the top with the whole wearing green clothes thing, and unfortunately several dimwitted Sunday drivers mistook him for a giant green light.

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Not forgetting the year I took him to the largest collection of four-leaved clovers in the world, and, due to the fact that Stickman was feeling a little down on his luck – he had squandered a considerable amount of money on gambling, drink, drugs and stickwomen – he thought it would be a good idea to eat the entire collection of priceless four-leaved clovers.

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Now, listener, I don’t know whether you’ve ever consumed fifty kilograms of clover. That’s a lot of clover. Even a dainty nibble on just a couple of leaves can leave a bitter taste in the mouth, so can you imagine what fifty kilograms of clover does to a man? And, moreover, a man made of stick?

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I was scooping him off the walls for eight hours, listener. And I had to pay the owner of the collection £3,000,000,000,000 in compensation, which is a fair old amount, and I don’t have that sort of money lying round, listener; so I was forced to sell my body and within two weeks I had made £50, and then I robbed a bank, so was able to pay up.

Fortunately, stickmen heal quickly, and even though he was a rather sickly shade of green for several months, he made a full recovery.

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So, hopefully, this year will be different. I’ve planned a nice day out at the St Patrick’s Day parade, followed by a hearty bowl of Irish stew at a local pub, and lots of jolly folk dancing and singing, and we’ll all be in bed by 11pm, happy, a little tipsy, and thoroughly delighted with how well the day went.

Come on then, Stickman, let’s get you out and…

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Oh for feck’s sake.

Becky says things about … an update on Stickman’s mental health

For those of you who witnessed the tragic and gratuitous mental breakdown of my friend and colleague Stickman in the previous blogpost, I’m sure you would like an update on his recovery.

Firstly, Stickman is not a well stick. After his very public emotional collapse, he ran amok round Microsoft Paint, and eventually broke into Microsoft Word, where he proceeded to hang from the ruler bar whilst swigging from a bottle of cheap Microsoft wine.

Inevitably, he then became violent and took his anger out on poor old Word Art, who couldn’t do anything about it being that it’s essentially a word generator and has no self defense skills, so Stickman pretty much beat the crap out of it.

Finally, after somehow getting into Google Images and being incredibly immature with a photograph of a sausage

Stickman finally crawled back to Microsoft Paint, where he became suicidal and rubbed out his own head.

It was at this point that I decided to intervene. I would have done so sooner, had Stickman not slyly changed my password while I’d nipped to the toilet so I couldn’t actually get into my laptop (after some guesswork as to what he might have changed it to, I finally hit the jackpot with ‘iwanttodie12’).

When I finally got hold of him and carefully drew his head back on, I decided to put him away for a little while to give him time to think about what he’s done and to try and gain some clarity over his increasingly nebulous mental condition. However, when he got wind of the fact that I’d recruited a couple of text smiley faces to help me with my blog, he broke out of Microsoft Paint and frankly behaved abominably.

So I have had him sectioned.

He is currently in a mental institute for deranged stickmen and from what I gather he is making a slow but positive recovery. He has taken up stick ballet and has even won the part of the White Swan in Swan Lake, which I’m sure we’re all very pleased about.

His road to recovery has not been without setback, unfortunately: apparently just two days ago he somehow got hold of the eraser tool and was caught trying to rub out his own foot, but luckily he was apprehended just in time and locked in a padded stick cell for 40 hours for his own protection.

We very much hope that Stickman will be back in action soon, and that he will get over the deep-rooted anguish about his childhood, but until then we wish him all the very best with his recovery, and I would ask you not to approach him or draw anything too near him, because he is volatile and a little bit dangerous at the moment, so it’s for the best if we all just leave him alone to think about the tragic state of his life at present. Thank you.