Not too long ago, I read Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Some of the book was too crass for my liking, but there are some precious gems of comedy as well. This is one such gem. He is living in France, taking a French class with people from all over the world. And then the subject turns to Easter. I should warn you, I cry just about every time I read this thing, it's so hilarious. So you might need some tissues. Also, I recognize that the quotation marks are all off, I just really don't want to go through the whole thing and change all the " to ', so deal with it. OK, read on:
"The Morocccan student interrupted, shouting, “Excuse me, but what’s an Easter?”
It would seem that despite having grown up in a Muslim country, she would have heard it mentioned once or twice, but no. “I mean it,” she said. “I have no idea what you people are talking about.”
The teacher called upon the rest of us to explain.
The Poles led the charge to the best of their ability. “It is,” said one, “a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and. . . “ She faltered and her fellow countryman came to her aid.
“He call his self Jesus and then he die one day on two . . . morsels of . . . lumber.”
The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.
“He die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father.”
“He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples.”
“He nice, the Jesus.”
“He make the good things, and on the Easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today.”
Part of the problem had to do with vocabulary. Simple nouns such as cross and resurrection were beyond our grasp, let alone such complicated reflexive phrases as “to give of yourself your only begotten son.” Faced with the challenge of explaining the cornerstone of Christianity, we did what any self-respecting group of people might do. We talked about food instead.
“Easter is a party for to eat of the lamb,” the Italian nanny explained. “One too may eat of the chocolate.”
“And who brings the chocolate?” the teacher asked.
I knew the word, so I raised my hand, saying, “The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate.”
“A rabbit?” The teacher, assuming I’d used the wrong word, positioned her index fingers on top of her head, wriggling them as though they were ears. “You mean one of these? A rabbit rabbit?”
“Well, sure,” I said. “He come in the night when one sleep on a bed. With a hand he have a basket and foods.”
The teacher sighed and shook her head. As far as she was concerned, I had just explained everything that was wrong with my country. “No, no,” she said. “Here in
I called for a time-out. “But how do the bell know where you live?”
“Well,” she said, “how does the rabbit?”
It was a decent point, but at least a rabbit has eyes. That’s a start. Rabbits move from place to place, while most bells can only go back and forth – and they can’t even do that on their own power. On top of that, the Easter Bunny has character. He’s someone you’d like to meet and shake hands with. A bell has all the personality of a cast-iron skillet. It’s like saying that come Christmas, a magic dustpan flies in from the North Pole, led by eight flying cinder blocks. Who wants to stay up all night so they can see a bell? And why fly one in from
Nothing we said was of any help to the Moroccan student. A dead man with long hair supposedly living with her father, a leg of lamb served with palm fronds and chocolate; equally confused and disgusted, she shrugged her massive shoulders and turned her attention back to the comic book she kept hidden beneath her binder."
Oh man. I love it.