Generally speaking, there's a lot more profanity in Spanish discourse than in English conversation. And, as someone wrote the other day, it comes from the mouths of everyone, from grandmothers down to the kids on the street. So it was with some surprise that last night I saw "as useless as tits on a bull" translated as "tan útil como un peine para un calvo" - as useless as a comb for a bald man. An opportunity missed, I feel.
If the subject of Spanish swearing interests you, at the end of this post there's a letter allegedly sent by a British manager to the company's Spanish employees, instructing them to stop the endless badmouthing towards foreigners. For one reason and another, I doubt it's genuine but it's certainly amusing. It contains many of the standard expressions and insults, for which you may need a good dictionary. Or a Spanish friend. HT to my Ferrol friend, Richard, for this.
More news of the brothel (La Perla) in the village of Esclavitud (Slavery), where the owner is accused of buying a 15 year Romanian girl previously forced into prostitution - The owner is said to have sunk to these depths of depravity because of falling profits. A 15 year old pulls in a lot more clients than a rag-bag of 40 year olds and the place was facing closure thanks to La Crisis and the fact that road and rail construction on either side of it had left it an island that customers found hard to locate. Indeed, the brothel owner had installed a large map at the side of the road to make access clearer to potential customers - probably illegally. You couldn't make it up. Anyway, I predict that the place is closed, the owner is given a suspended jail sentence and that it opens up again in a year or two, under a new name. And the owner loses no friends.
We have a relatively new bridge and its purpose was to direct traffic away from one of the old bridges and in the direction of a new road over the mountain that hardly anyone used. In this way, congestion would be eased at the end of the old bridge, especially during the summer months when everyone was heading for the beaches. It was a good plan but it didn't work. Drivers remained stubbornly attached to the less sensible of the 2 options to coastal destinations. So, now we're being told that - because of works related to the supply of water - roads are being closed and there will be no other option than the new bridge and the new road. If this, as I suspect, is a stratagem, then it's a good one and I sort of wish them luck. The only thing wrong with it is that I'm one of the very few drivers who currently use the new bridge and I'm loath to lose my status and afeared of dealing with more drivers at the roundabouts at each end of it.
Our local corruption case centres on the Board of a large fish-packing company. They're accused of fiddling the accounts for one reason and another. But the latest accusation concerns the auditors they had for years, BDO, who are accused of complicity in the falsification of the books. You've certainly got a problem when an international firm of guardians indulges in criminality. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, as they say. And answer came there none.
Finally . . . We have a half-marathon in Pontevedra today. As with all of our sporting events, the weather gods are having fun at our expense and are threatening to drop half of the Atlantic on us. As of now, the sun is peeking through thick clouds but this surely can't last. God help the traders on the Sunday flea market. Oh, and the runners, of course.
APPENDIX: LETTER TO SPANISH EMPLOYEES OF BRITISH COMPANY RE SWEARING.
Por lo visto, en el extranjero - especialmente en el Reino Unido - creen que los españoles tenemos un lenguaje, digamos . . . rudo.
Una multinacional británica no está satisfecha con el lenguaje que utilizan algunos de sus empleados aquí in Spain. Se han enterado de la frecuencia de los tacos en las conversaciones de la empresa y esto les ha llevado a emprender una cruzada de limpieza lingüística. Para ello, Mr. Adamson, que es el responsable del Área de Comunicación Interna, ha enviado "a la plantilla española" un decálogo en contra del uso del lenguaje impropio. Dice así:
FROM: Group Offices London
TO: All Spanish Staff
SUBJECT: Improper Language Usage
It's been brought to our attention by several officials visiting our headquarters that the Spanish staff commonly uses offensive language. Such behaviour, in addition to violating our group's policy, is highly unprofessional and offensive to both visitors and the staff itself.
Therefore it is requested to our Spanish staff to adhere immediately to the following rules:
1. Foreign colleagues or visitors should not be referred to as "ese guiri de mierda".
2. Words like "coño", "hostia", and other such expressions will not be used for emphasis, no matter how heated the discussion is.
3. You will not say "la ha cagao" when someone makes a mistake, or "la está cagando" if you see somebody being reprimanded, or "¡qué cagada!" when a major mistake has been made. All direct or derived forms of the verb "cagar" are inappropriate in our environment.
4. No Project Manager, Section Supervisor or Head of Administration Chief, will be referred to, under any circumstances, as "el hijo de la gran puta", or "el muy cabrón" or even "el comemierda".
5. Lack of determination will not be referred as to "falta de huevos" or "mariconería" nor will persons with a lack of initiative be ever referred to as "capullo" or "acojonado".
6. Unusual and/or creative ideas shall not be referred to as "pajas mentales" in particular when they stem from your manager.
7. You will not say "cómo me jode" if a person is persistent, or "está jodido" or "se lo van a follar" if a colleague is going through a difficult situation. Furthermore, when matters become complicated the words "qué jodienda" should not be used.
8. When asking someone to leave you alone, you must not say "vete a tomar por culo", nor should you ever substitute the most educated "may I help you?" with "¿que coño quieres ahora?"
9. If things get tough, an acceptable expression such as we are going through a difficult time should be used rather than "esto esta jodido" or "nos van a follar a todos". Additionally, if you make a mistake, just say so and do not say "que putada" or any expressions composed with the root "puta".
10. No salary increase shall ever be referred to as "subida de mierda".
11. Last, but not least, after reading this note please do not say "me voy a limpiar el culo con ella" or "me la paso por el forro de los cojones".
Just keep it clean and odorless and dispose of it properly.