Lingua Frank

This blog goes fishing in my memory hole for stories that I hope will provide at least marginal amusement for all.


This blog is really about memories from my life...retold for the pleasure or yawns of friends and strangers alike. Bon appetit.

четверг, февраля 24, 2005

The Glories of Language through Crotch Humour

There's a blizzard out, at least by wussy east coast standards. Whenever my co-workers/friends/random people at gas stations wail on and on about the hellish weather in our nation's capitol, I snicker condescendingly. My ass has done time in that gargantuan freezer known as Northern Russia in January, so unless you actually have ice forming on your nose hair underneath two scarves, maybe you should just gird up your loins and deal.
Speaking of Russia and loins...
Although my mild profanities may suggest otherwise, I spent two years of my life as a Mormon missionary in the former-Soviet wonderland. Missionaries come in twos or threes, because who can eat just one? (People always figured we were queer...a misconception not at all helped by the term "companionship" for a set of missionaries. Hi, I'm a strangely dressed American who doesn't date...and this is my companion.)
So one fateful evening, I'm with a fairly new missionary who isn't exactly up to scratch on his Russian, and we're teaching this fun little family the second or third in a set of lessons about the church. Anyway, the greenie is feeling it, and wants to tell them how grateful he is for his membership in the Church. The only problem is, he knows neither the word for "membership" (chlenstvo) nor the fact that you abso-f'ing-lutely HAVE to have the complete phrase "membership in the Church" (chlenstvo v tserkvi).
So, with tears welling in his eyes from his utter conviction on this point, the kid waltzes irretrievably into the annals of linguistic faux-pas history:

"Ya tak blagodaren za moj chlen."
(I'm so grateful for my member)
"on mne prinosil stol'ko schast'ja"
(it's brought me so much joy...)
"...i ja znaju, chto esli ja budu ego pravil'no ispol'zovat, on prinesjot i drugim ljudjam radost'!"
(...and I know that if I use it correctly, it will bring other people joy, too!)

At this point, the tears are welling up in all of our eyes as the family and I all struggle to keep our pants dry from laughter.

"Dude, you're telling them that you're grateful for your wong."

It was, without a doubt, one of those spiritual experiences from my ministry that I will cherish forever.


Blogger Beck said...

This is by far one of my favorite stories. That and the one about Heaton getting excited to translate for the Prez. Oh wait, and how could I forget the Beus story! Oooo! Tell that one next, PLEASE!!

10:45 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

Этот комментарий был удален администратором блога.

10:37 PM  

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