Je vous avez pris pour un leche de pigeons

It’s the small things that make us happy.

Urban Outfitters is, of course, the headquarters for pretty much all that is evil in the world. But I confess to a guilty fondness for their stupid books section. Purchased on Sunday: “The Little Book of Essential Foreign Swear Words,” which gives one the essential vocabulary in French, German, Spanish and Italian.

But it doesn’t just have straight-up cusses. It has delightful little insults too, which include among others the following:

“I think I might have stepped on something unpleasant. Yes, it’s your country.”
“Are you dribbling, or do you have rabies?”
“Can you drink the water here or does it taste of piss, like your beer?”
“Please stop talking loudly in that annoying language.”
“I have you down as a bit of a pigeon-licker.”
“Where I come from incest is not encouraged.”

Some, alas, are a little too country-specific. “What did your grandfather do in the war,” for example, can presumably be devastating in Germany and, possibly, France (“ran away” “collaborated” — though one will look a bit of a cad if one gets “resistance fighter”), but not so much in Spain or Italy.

Anyone who knows the British at all will recognize that this is, in fact, a typically delightfully xenophobic British book. This is important, because British cusses dominate American ones: the Brits have all the American cusses plus a few besides. I grew up on these, although my mother still refuses to explain some of them.

(In the first grade, said mother was called in to get a lecture from the teacher because I’d called some other child a bastard. Pronounced b-ah-stard. It was not at all a mystery where I’d learned the word.)

This book is like home and apple pie.


One Response to “Je vous avez pris pour un leche de pigeons”

  1. ben wolfson Says:

    Well, what if the person’s grandfather was one of Franco’s original fifth columnists?

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