Monday, January 13, 2014

The Smore Thief and The Punchline

Because of the earlier rain it was nearly impossible to start a bonfire, but the box of smores supplies was already out so we sat around waiting for the men to get the damp pine needles to light. I joked with some older girls that in America, watching three males make a fire in extreme conditions would be a million dollar reality show. The show would end whenever the fire was made and this particular episode would have filled a full thirty-minute slot.

Feast or famine survival tactics meant that three of the bars of Hershey’s chocolate immediately went missing. This is not to say there are any devious smore thieves on campus, only that someone is anticipating a dry spell of sweets and hopefully will establish a little altruistic business of doling out chocolate for favors: One square gets you a bucket of water brought to flush a toilet, two squares gets you two extra flour tortillas on baleada night, etc. You know, like a prison, except beautiful, free, and joyous.

The girls roasted marshmallows three at a time and then settled in to tell jokes. Fabulous, I thought, an opportunity to practice my Spanish! The comedians were the women with the loudest voices, and they thoroughly covered all of the usual suspects: Animals, Latin American Race Relations, Kids Say The Darndest Things, and “Sexy Jokes” that sent the Evangelicals to bed.

Fabulous for my Spanish, until the punchline. A joke sounded like this (in rapidfire foreign language):

“So there was an elephant and an ant, and the ant needed to cross the river. He asked the elephant for a ride and climbed on his back. The elephant swam across the river and the ant said “Thank you Mr. Elephant!” and the elephant said “BAHSFGSJDGHFDYGSDHFHFJSGEJHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!!!!!!!”

And that was the end of that. No repeat, no handicap for the foreigner: just pure, sped up and incoherent crack up at the most important part of the story. I glanced around the fire pit and saw all of my beautiful students lit up in giggles, tossing their heads back and howling. “Another!” they shouted.

“So there was a Russian, an America, a Honduran and a Mexican, and they were all flying in an airplane. The captain came on the loudspeakers and said “Gentlemen, I’m sorry to tell you that we are having trouble with the engine and we are going to need to get rid of unnecessary weight in order to land safely.” So the Russian said “BAHAHAHAHAHAHBSFHJASGDFJSHG!!!!!” and jumped out, and the American said “HOOHOOHAAHAAJDHFKSHKGJHSDH!!!!!” and jumped out, the Mexican said “GOOGOODKFJHSGKJLHSDFHCSJNBMDF!!!!” and jumped out (all students clap wildly at the stupidity of whatever the Mexican said, and the Honduran SKDJHGSDUYGDSHBFSJHGDFHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!”

Of course he did.

I spent most of the evening listening to the enthusiasm and energy of the circle, watching faces in the firelight and oogling the stars above us, and while I didn’t learn any jokes to repeat, I certainly reaped the benefits of laughter.

How many gringos does it take to build and tar paint a swing set for an elementary school???


  1. As your Basque sisters would say… JaJaJaJaJa! Very funny mija. Papi

  2. Caitlin,
    This blog post was one of the funniest ones yet! I can just imagine the laughter around the fire when the girls were telling their jokes. I love you honey.