Wednesday, October 19, 2011



Above is the view from Riverside Drive, around 135th Street. You're looking at a billboard for Wodka-brand vodka. The name itself is strange ("wodka" is Polish but the ad campaign is stranger. The billboard features a country hick, a sumo wrestler, and a sheep wearing a sombrero. If those three images don't say "Polish vodka," then I don't know what does.

Probably you were impressed, when reading the preceding paragraph, by my extensive knowledge of the intricacies of the Polish language.  Well, kids, I owe it all to college.  During my third year, I took Polish 101 because a) I love languages, and b) I wanted to connect with my Polish heritage.

The class was kind of a dud, though.  Our teacher - while sweet - wasn't particularly adept at teaching, and our textbook looked like it had been produced on a Soviet-bloc typewriter.

The chapters were strangely arranged (we learned to say "strict disciplinarian" before we learned the days of the week) and the text contained very odd sentences for translation. For instance, "Your new cow looks sad!" and "Are you raising that pig yourself?"  Incredibly useful stuff like that.

We also had to translate the sentence "Polish vodka is the best vodka in the world." Which was exactly the phrase that was running through my head as I approached that Wodka-vodka billboard, above.

So that tuition money was clearly well spent, I'd say. Dziękuję, parents. Dziękuję.


Anonymous said...

This post made me spit my green tea on my new computer. I believe you may have weaponized humor, ma'am!

Anonymous said...

I believe the sentence was, "I like your new cow, but why does it look so sad?" At least that is how I tell the story, as I so often do. But I had completely forgotten about "are you raising that pig yourself," so needless to say this made my day!