Over the last few months I’ve shared some interesting things Italians do that seem, well … funny to me. From offering us fruit from our own tree to cutting tree limbs from beneath their children, the Italians I live among seem to keep me on my toes.
And it is a good thing.
I like surprises.
But sometimes it isn’t so much what they do that captivates my interest, but what they say … or even, how they say it. In keeping with the “three things” theme, here are three things Italians say that are down right funny to me!
1. Longtime readers might remember the never-ending saga of the Calabrese father-in law and the girl who wouldn’t eat and although I haven’t written about my suocero lately, you can bet he hasn’t let up.
Poverino has convinced himself that if I don’t eat a bowl of pasta followed with a healthy serving of chicken or beef, topped off with fresh fruit that I might not make it through the night. This isn’t a joke.
He seriously believes this.
In fact, he believes it so much that he lamented to his sister, who in turn called me and asked me to eat more “so he won’t worry.” She ended her appeal with the guilt-inducing plea of, “he even prays for you to eat! You just have to.”
Although the good little people-pleaser I am would love to alleviate my father-in-law’s stress, my jeans ain’t getting any loser … ya know what I mean? But finally, it seems he has turned his attention to someone else.
Yesterday, when my husband only accepted a bowl of soup for lunch and didn’t follow up with chicken, or turkey or whatever other poultry dear old Dad had in the pot, he muttered, “Chi va con lo zoppo, impara a zoppicare.”
Or rather, “If you walk with someone who limps, you start to limp.”
It didn’t take a master translator to get the jab, especially when he followed it up with a mini growl and scowl pointed in my direction.
2. But I shouldn’t be surprised. My father-in-law is full of funny sayings and odd-ball remarks … or maybe it is just the Italian language translations that get me.
Last month we found ourselves in yet another torrential downpour here in Bella Calabria. Upon looking out of the rain-streaked windows, he said, “Questo tempo …,” followed with a little grunt. “Il tempo è bastardo!”
Apparently it was just funny to me because everyone looked at me strangely when I laughed. But come on, English speakers, it is odd to call the weather a bastard because it won’t stop raining, right? Right?
3. Luckily for me, odd-sounding translations are fun in reverse, too.
On March 13, exactly one month from the day my dad passed away, I found my first gray strand. I yanked that hideous hair from my head quicker than a mouse could eat his mozzarella and immediately handed it over to my husband for inspection.
“Yep,” he announced. “It is gray. But don’t worry, it can’t be yours … it is too short.”
“That is because it was from my bangs!” I screamed frantically.
“Don’t worry,” he told me reassuringly. “When you get gray hairs you paint them. Women just paint them and then they go away.”
Ahh, if it were only that simple.
Have you heard any funny sayings in Italian lately? Heard anything funny in any other languages? Please share.