I can’t say I really laugh much in the past year. Most of it stems from “lost in translation” and how a joke can be said in one area of the world, with a local dialog, and you can say it somewhere else on the planet and no one will get it.
However, yesterday, through the mouth of babes, I had to bite my tongue with the innocence of a young mind and the question he asked his mom.
I moved to a place where I don’t know the language, or when I do understand 50% of the words, I know that the actual meaning is probably not what I am confident it means. With a joke, I try to giggle and play along, but anymore I just smile and say, “Lost in translation.”
Jay Leno once explained in a documentary how he was always fascinated with telling the same joke - which one worked, and which ones bombed in different parts of the planet. In a sense, that is the underlying idea behind the big picture of Augmanity. I want to see how the planet reacts in real time to any joke, story, event, or idea.
The digression has ended, lets reign the wayward post brainstorm mind in a bit -
Last night, it was nice to be invited to the in-laws for a dinner. The fare was a Swiss or German dish I really enjoy, but forget its name. It is a mixture of flour, egg and a few other ingredients that is poured over a mold that you slide back and forth to make these interesting shapes that drop into a pan of boiling water. Usually, they add cheese or some other ingredients to make a delicious plate of comfort food with.
My nephew's were eating at a small table. For those in America, if you ever had to eat at the “kids” table (even when you were in college) you will understand that adults sit at the big table, kids at the little one. The only way one got moved up to the big boy table was through death of an elder.
While everyone was eating, I tried focusing in on the Swiss German being spoken to try to pick out some words I understood and make up a storyline of understanding, when all of the sudden a few people burst in an uncontrolled fit of laughter that was quickly muffled because “we don’t want someone to know that was funny.”
If the moment was scripted:
Little boy: “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom!”
Mom: “No, you have to sit and eat your meal.”
Little boy: “But why? I have to go to the bathroom”
Mom: “Because you are eating, you go to the bathroom before or after you eat!”
Little boy: (stops and thinks for a bit while everyone is eating)
Little boy: “Mom, if I can’t go to the bathroom, what am I supposed to do? Shit in my pants?”
Of course, I didn’t’ get the joke until it was translated to me. Biut upon hearing the translation I sat eating my salad and delicious food that I don’t know its name biting my tongue to not noticeably laugh.
I can relate to the little lad, in Switzerland the culture, rules, traditions, and lack of understanding in high German, much less the Swiss German dialect has me understand all too well how the innocent little boy felt. He wasn’t being a wise ass, but rather, had a simple question and request.
Maybe someone laughed at the story, maybe, you simply had to be there, or perhaps it is lost in translation? All I know is it felt really good to laugh for a change.
Tomorrow we will return to our regular geekie and nerdy stuff…who knows? Complex systems? Robotic politicians? It’s always an adventure.