Monday, June 8, 2015

This Isn't A Local Shop

Daughter: I like him. I'm going to marry him. Or Brett.
ME: Oh really? And why is ithat?
Daughter: Because he's mental.

Doody. I hear that word probably a hundred times a day. It's not the horrible brown shame you might be thinking of. I hear it at work. And just to be clear - it's still not about poo (well, a couple of times it might be). Granted I was told a disturbingly graphic story about someone who goes to the toilet (shameful enough as it is, frankly) and removes their shirt whilst they are in there. You really are certain of your own diabolic evil if you need to actually do that. But no. I'm actually referring to the word, "duty." I have to ask people I speak to at work about their job duties. I pronounce that letter T. Because it's a T. But here in the Land of The Imperial Stormtrooper it's pronounced, "doody."

Evelyn swimming in something I swear isn't "doody"
 I'm accepting enough to understand different places who happen to speak English pronounce things in their own way. Look at the UK alone for variety. Some of it sounds incomprehensible (good look understanding someone from Glasgow), some if it sounds utterly delicious (go hunt down someone from the Durham area and have them say the word, "fuck" - you will orgasm immediately) and some of it patently absurd (everyone from Birmingham and Swansea saying everything ever). But it hurts when I hear my kids - my English kids (well, one of them - the better one obviously...) - knock out very parochial terms. Thank the heavens neither of them rattle off, "stoopid". Partly because it sounds incredibly ugly. And partly because it's a very ugly thing to say about other kids. My son had slipped into the habit of saying someone in his class was being, "dumb". Put an end to that nonsense quickly. But both of them sound like the entire supporting cast of California Man (yes America - we did rename Encino Man to that appalling name in Britain) when they repeatedly say that something is, "awkward". When I pick them up from school I will hear, "Yeah it was kinda awkward..."umpteen times before we get home. As in they couldn't find a book. Or someone at school did something silly. Or they spilled a drink.  Technically true I suppose on that one. Mind you my daughter did make me a new moustache on the basis that my unshaven face looks awkward.

I promise you that isn't bacon

The point is that I'm being picky about certain things I like that they've adopted as sayings. And then far less so about certain other words and phrases. Then there are things I don't notice anymore. Like, "awesome". Even I say that a lot now. But when my daughter says that something is mental it fills me with an untold sense of pride. The day she rolls off, "doo lally tap" we are in business.

And that's why I know I'm a hypocrite. British people have this tendency to recoil when Americans (and by that I mean your run of the mill White-Americans-at-Walmart) say in response to something, "oh I'm Italian". Especially if it's said by an exceptionally local person who has clearly never been 50 miles further than the town they grew up in. And yet here they are seemingly trying to elevate themselves above those around them by claiming to have a more refined palette for food by smugly answering, ".....I'm Italian".

While I'm sure that's certainly the case for some - and it certainly was for some in central NY who's entire sense of ethnicity revolved around going to Olive Garden every Sunday and exclusively naming their children Rocky and Gianna. But it is a ridiculously narrow view of American ethnicity to deride that too. Because it negates every single person's sense of ethnicity who doesn't happen to be a shiny, white American sporting a fanny pack and a grey sweater with the flag on it. I live in Arizona - where there huge numbers of people who promote and love their ethnicity. Plenty of whom were born here. None of whom it would be thought polite to deride for holding on to their heritage. And so they should with pride.

And there's me at home - stood on a huge rug with the flag from my own homeland hoping beyond hope that my kids pick up saying, "you daft pillock" when I yell it at Raheem Sterling. Or the plethora of strangely sexy (trust me) phrases some of us British people blurt out.despite having been here for years  Just wrap your ears around "flash as a rat with a gold tooth" and tell me that isn't a marvelous thing. Or that uniquely warm, friendly British behavior of making fun of your friends on principle to show that you care about them. Perfectly illustrated by a mate of mine in Las Vegas (owner of the rather marvelous Hattitude store, might I add) who happily reminisced that a good friend of his said hello by warmly stating, "alright bell end!?"

Out of context my house must look like a UKIP Wanking Palace (and let's be honest - there probably is one) judging by the amount of British pish I've got lying about. I am English. And not in the demented, Nigel Farage/Jim Davidson sense. But because that's where I'm from. It's who I am. That beautiful mass of multiculturalism 5000 miles away is what I identify with strongly. I'm not an American and I'm fairly certain I never will be. So I'm just holding on to my own culture. And hoping to pass it on down to my own kids.

Even the American one.

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