Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bruce le Mec Blanc


           As my wife and family can tell you, I'm possessed of a disposition so perpetually sunny and upbeat that, knowing they can't possibly match it, others are sometimes brought down. Knowing you're everyone's favorite Pollyanna can be a pretty heavy burden at times and that could be why I've spent the past couple of months at the whogivesashiterie. Maybe I've been here long enough to be turning into a brooding existentialist - a sort of human version of Henri le Chat noir. Incidently, Henri's French isn't much better than mine so I must be making some progess if I'm picking up on grammatical errors in a cat video. Anyway, I hope the recent sparseness of postings hasn't disappointed anyone coming here looking for their positivity fix.

            You'll have to forgive me if what follows might be a little meandering or seeming pointlessness. But after all, this is life, is it not? Normally this would be where one pretentiously drops in some appropriate French phrase but my struggles with the language are well known. Still, if you want to showoff your world-weariness chops, Mais, moi-même,  je ne raconte que des conneries, n'est-ce pas?
             For me, one of the great things about French is that there are a lot of words available for use as comedic devices, especially when mispronounced. The fact that nobody, particularly your wife, ever laughs doesn't diminish their usefulness. (You know, wives, girlfriends, life mates and what-have-you don't seem to realize that not laughing, ridiculing or even paying no attention whatsoever has not the slightest effect on this behavior.) Take the verbs emmerder (to bother, annoy or bore) and s'emmerder (to be extremely bored or annoyed). The first French word anyone learns is merde so these and their derivatives have no end of uses for 11 year-old boys of all ages. I myself find emmerdant to be a perfect substitute for its English equivalent, irritant, plus it also means boring, giving it added value. Emmerdement is trouble, as in, "This is another fine emmerdement you've gotten me into."
            When something is out of stock on a grocery store shelf, there frequently will be a sign telling you the item is en rupture and restockage will occur soon. But my personal favorite, the one I look for on the bus ride to French class, is at the fitness center where, among other things, you can work on musculation. This means exactly what it looks like and is what Leo Gorcey or Norm Crosby would have done at the gym - which reminds me of a story.
            If you've clicked on the "About Me" tab, you'll note that in a prior life I was a federal agent, most of this life being spent in and around New York City. Surveillances and hanging around places I'd rather not have been became my default specialty. Occasionally we were joined in these adventures by NYPD members of various inter-agency task forces. One night we followed a guy to LaGuardia Airport, the doors of which, if you're in a car can be kind of tricky to cover without getting too close and drawing attention. At some point, whoever was in charge wanted to make sure of where everyone was and called us by radio to find out. He wanted to clarify with one of the cops and said to him, "I thought you were closer to the main door?" The guy's response was, "Yeah, I was but I moved 'cause I didn't want to arise no intentions." He meant to say exactly that and everyone understood but it did give one the feeling of being in a Bowery Boys movie.
            That's probably enough for now. I'll get back into the habit of doing this now that I've overcome my existential ennui and come to terms with being and nothingness. I'll leave you with something from another imprecise French speaker who shares my views.


  1. Well, I truly laughed out loud at this post. More than once. But I'm also taking percocet, so there you go.

    1. Thanks, Claire. I"ll take the laughs any way I can get them. I'm glad it didn't hurt. Get well.

  2. It's common knowledge that your wife has no sense of humor. But even she laughed....out loud, no less.

  3. There's more where that came from, baby.

  4. AWESOME stuff Bruce!!!! Your sense of humor is classic and not too many people actually make me laugh out loud...You did.