Sunday 17 October 2010

But they forgot about Torschlussangst

Spotkajmy się w moim domu w niedzielę przed meczem – Bóg

Those words (above) are to be found on billboards in the USA, apparently, although not so much in Polish as in English:

Let’s meet at my house Sunday before the game – God


Your skin may be crawling or your heart may be warmed or your gaze may be fixed on the distance. That’s your business. It may be fair to say, however, that some of us abjure the very notion of a matey fireside chat and are waiting, possibly even praying for a great big celestial punch in the face, followed by a severe – a severe – talking to from Bóg. How else are we ever going to learn?

In these cherished hopes we may long be disappointed, unfortunately, as the suspicion must remain that Bóg is simply too busy laying waste to the Portuguese.

Take that and that and that and that and that, he will surely be saying, you ghoulish little Fado-singing monsters, as with a whack and a clack and a clumpety-clump he punches them all down The Stairs. They had it coming – don’t ever let them tell you otherwise.

In English speaking countries – ah, sweet remnants of civilisation and hope – we are yet to invent a word for the type of scoundrel that gatecrashes the funerals of perfect strangers in order to snaffle the food and drink the drink and affect an approximation of mourning. This reflects well on us, suggesting as it does that the practice is not yet so widespread as to demand a word – a job description - of its own.

All eyes suddenly turn with a fearful disbelief towards the westernmost promontory of continental Europe…..

Put the sandwich down, Portugal, and come out with your hands above your dead. It’s over:

Pesamenteiro: Indivíduo que, a pretexto de dar pêsames, entra nas casas para comer.*

Stop. We must surely take a moment here to briefly die of simple pleasure. How gaspingly pleasing a word this is, how supremely and horribly uplifting. And when and how did they ever stray so far from the rest of the herd, the Portuguese? Is this problem really so rampant, so magnificently out of control, that the fever required categorisation?

And is it so wrong to hope that every funeral gathering has a Pesamenteiro in its midst? Of course it is, yes, but must this actually stop us from doing so? Oh, just think of the suspicions. And please, please, let all pesamenteiro-ing men be shatteringly handsome predators. The word deserves nothing less.

“And what’s your line of business?” she asked the mourner with the eyes, “and howsoever did you know my late husband, Godfrey?”
“I’m a freelance Pesamenteiro," he whispered in her mouth, “but let us talk about this Godfrey over sex.”


This could very quickly get out of hand. Casting forward – unusual practice – it’s possible to see the outline of an artlessly constructed joke about the mourning after pill taking shape. Time to stop.

(Or maybe it was the Brazilians? Oh. My. Bóg.)

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