A queer insult.

Sometimes the difference in culture between the UK and the USA rears its ugly, and usually amusing, head. Today was one of those times.

At work we have some internal instant messaging software which is great for employees to communicate when they:

A) Can’t call.

B) Won’t call.

C) Have the social skills of a gibbon with its scrotum in a jar of fire ants.

As my department is like a central hub for any questions or issues from our call centre, we get a lot of instant messages to help out with all kinds of weird and wonderful situations.

Here is a conversation I literally just had:

Fran: Hi, I need some help

Me: Hey Fran, it’s Daniel, your favorite Brit ūüėČ

Fran: Hey Daniel! How’s it going?

Me: Pretty good. Busy! So what’s up?

(For security reasons, this part of the conversation is omitted as it’s work related.¬† Needless to say, I fixed the problem like a boss!)

Me: Done!

Fran: Great! Thanks.

Me: No problem ūüėČ

Fran: Have a great day!

Me: You have a great day too ūüôā

Fran: Poof

Now, she meant to imply that she magically and dramatically vanished from the conversation in a puff of smoke, like a genie….or Batman.

To me she ended that conversation with ‘Faggot‘.

I laughed like a drain for at least a minute, solidly.

It was one of the funniest insults I’ve received since living in America, particularly because it was unintentional and from a person who wouldn’t even say boo to a goose (with or without their nuts in a jar of fire ants).

poof

This is also the word we use for an ‘Ottoman’. England is a weird place.

 

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No swearing please

I’m in the gym again as my inability to put on socks without a run up is getting on my tits. 

My man tits. 

So,  anyway,  there’s a notice in here warning against swearing. We have to ‘be mindful and considerate to others’. 

Of all the places to ban swearing,  you’d think the last place would be a gym full of big ‘manly’ men and women. 

Fuck me,  what a pussy whipped bunch of cunts. 

The influence of (s)laughter

This morning I came into work and one of the guys I work with asked me, “Hey, you know the word ‘Homie’; well, in England, do you say ‘Flatie’?”

picard palm

He looked proper proud of himself.¬† I think he’d been rehearsing that question all morning to be honest.

Anyway, after I’d finished laughing like a corpse, the subject turned to my blog.¬† It seems one of my colleagues had been reading it and absolutely loves it1.¬† It was at this point that the joker (let’s call him Castro) asked if his awesome joke would make it onto my blog.

For clarity, Castro is a 6’5″ Black dude, built like a brick shithouse with the ability to punch me in half.

Yes Castro….(gulp)….your joke made it into my blog.

(Please don’t hit me).

hulk-smash

 

1 And who can blame her?

No offense. Oh….wait….

As some of you will know, the over-censorship of media and entertainment in America really pisses me off.

I’m not a child.¬† I can handle the word ‘fuck’ in a movie filled with uncensored (and apparently child friendly) blood, gore, guts and violence.

Well, this morning as I drove into work I heard censorship on the radio that pushed censorship (and me) to the next level.

It happened during the song, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic At The Disco; it’s a great song with an incredibly catchy chorus.

The beginning of that chorus goes:

‘I chime in with a “Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!”

No, it’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality’.

Guess which word was censored?

Yep, that’s right, the word ‘Goddamn’ was censored. The irony of that second line of lyrics was most definitely lost here.

I love this song, but the joy of singing along was ruined.

You see, in America religion is a big deal and it’s so easy to offend people.¬† I knew this was the case before coming in, but I had no idea it was this bad.¬† The phrase “went to church” comes up in more conversations than I’m comfortable with and a lot of my new friends here in the States are very religious.

This is something I have tended to find out when they casually mention going to church or they post something ‘God-ish’ on Facebook.¬† When this happens I get a real sense of dread because I have to think back over every conversation we’ve ever had.

Did I say something blasphemous or offensive?

Have I made jokes about God or Jesus?

Did I sacrifice that goat in front of them?

In fact, not 10 minutes ago, this very subject came up at work (not instigated by me, I hasten to add) and one of my colleagues said, “I swear a lot.¬† I use ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, ‘Asshole’ and all that, but if I use GD or JC, then you KNOW I’m pissed!”.

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant by GD and JC.¬† She couldn’t even bring herself to say the words.

To her, saying ‘God Damn’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ is worse than saying ‘Fuck’.

What the Goddamn?

Is it me, or does that seem a bit fucked…er, I mean, ‘Jesus-Christed’ up?¬† This would go some way towards explaining why the word ‘Goddamn’ was edited out of the song this morning.

A few months ago I said ‘Goddamn it’ at work and got told to watch my language.¬† I couldn’t believe it.¬† I was being scolded like a 7 year old by a woman I have heard swear numerous times.

I’ve even started to replace “Oh my God” with “Oh my goodness”.¬† I hate that I’ve started doing this.

But people here are way too sensitive, and the entertainment business knows this.¬† Out of fear of being sued,they’re pandering to the masses by censoring the shit out of television.

Unless the customer is paying for it of course.

Netflix anyone?

Nothing on Netflix is censored and I hear it’s a popular service[1].

So, is America OK with bad language, blasphemy and sexual content when they’re charged a premium?¬† Apparently so.

My wife pays a yearly subscription for something called XM radio in her car.¬† It’s pricey, but there’s little to no censorship.¬† It really expands the selection of music they play as they can air otherwise unplayable tracks and, being a premium service, there are no Goddamn, Jesus Christing commercials.

When it comes to TV, the UK have it right with censorship.¬† Everything is the same as the US until 9pm.¬† Well, I SAY it’s the same, but that’s not strictly true; they don’t play violent action movies on a Sunday afternoon when kids can see it.¬† But apparently it’s OK for kids to see heads being chopped off and people being riddled with bullets, as long as there’s no sign of a nipple or someone saying ‘Goddamn it’.

violent tv kids

At 9pm (or the ‘watershed’ as it’s called) it is assumed that your delicate little snowflakes are all tucked up in bed.¬† After that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to manage what their kids watch.

At 9pm, all bets are off.¬† The only word that is bleeped out is the word ‘Cunt’.

Sorry; ‘the C word’.

After 9pm, TV is for adults and if you’re easily offended, change the channel.

blasphemy

 

[1] Sarcasm, in case you didn’t realise it.

Spelling it out really doesn’t help me.

I haven’t really put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – recently and this is due to two simple factors:

  1. I have recently started a new job at the company I work for and have therefore been preoccupied with not fucking it up.
  2. I procrastinate more than (note – come back and add example here)

This isn’t to say I haven’t been making notes of life events; I have.¬† It’s just a case of sitting my arse down and actually writing something.

The irony is, I actually started drafting this post…got sidetracked…and in the meantime posted something else entirely.¬† Well, now I’ve decided to sit down and at least attempt to finish this entry.

To manage your expectations, this isn’t a big amusing moment in my life, but more of a mini-rant about a gripe that I never realised was a gripe until it began rearing its ugly gripey head.

And this isn’t the only gripe.¬† To be honest, there are a few small issues here in America that I simply wasn’t prepared for.¬† For example, America doesn’t seem to have a word for ‘peckish’.

I’m sorry….what?

I used it in a sentence the other day at work and was met with lot of blank faces.

No word for peckish?  Really?

That evening I went home and asked my wife if there was an American word for ‘peckish’ and all she could come up with was ‘a little bit hungry?’.¬† This astounds me in a nation that is known for being in a constant state of graze.

Saying ‘I could eat’ isn’t quite the same.

Also, another unexpected gripe is the fact that most people I’ve met can’t read the 24hr clock (or ‘Military Time’ as they call it here).¬† I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve seen them deducting 12 on their fingers and quitely mouthing the words.

“So, 17:00 is…(counting on fingers, under breath) 16:00, 15:00, 14:00, 13:00, 12:00, 11:00, 10:00, 09:00, 08:00, 07:00, 06:00, 5:00.¬† it’s 5pm, right?”

Amazing.

Admittedly I do remember struggling with this myself, when I was SEVEN.

Anyway, back to the case in point.

I speak to a lot of Americans on a daily basis at work and, more often than not, I need to take their email address.¬† This isn’t anything out of the unusual, except for the way they read out their email address.¬† It simply baffles me.

Me – “What’s your email address?”

Them – “D as in Dog, A as in Apple, V as in, erm, Van, E as in Everyday, S as in Sam, M as in, erm, Mary, I as in Insulin, T as in Tommy, H as in Happy”

 

Small pause.

 

Me – Sorry, you said that so quickly, so it was D for Delta, A for Alpha…”

Them – “No, A like Apple”.

Me – “What’s the diff….er, I mean, can you repeat it for me?”

Them – “D as in Dog, A as in Ask, V as in Vanessa, E as in Egg, S as in Sam, M as in Mary, I as in, erm, (Inbred? Idiot? Imbecile?) Illinois, T as in Tree, H as in Hello”

 

(Usually always completely different words from the first attempt).

 

Another pause.

 

Me – “So, ‘DaveSmith’ then?”

Them – “Yes”

Me – “Ok….?”

 

There usually follows an unnecessary pause while the customer assumes I magically know their email domain name.

 

Me – “And the rest of it?”

Them – “What?”

Me – “Davesmith…..at?

 

Longer pause whilst they try and understand that I’m not a fucking mind reader.

 

Them – “@gmail”

You’ll notice the lack of “.com”.¬† In the US, if they don’t say ‘.org’ or ‘.net’, then it’s an assumed ‘.com’.

This has caused me no end of problems when I give out my email as I still use my ‘.co.uk’ address.¬† This usually takes some explaining and is met with a blank, open mouthed stare.

Drool optional.

So this is my issue, why don’t the majority of Americans actually say their email as it’s written?¬† I could understand if it’s something like 15t8f725d54it4@blah.com, but it rarely is.

It’s usually something that can be read out like ‘davesmith’, ‘rockdude’ or something laughably awkward like ‘sexxychick’ or ‘hotmama’.

These last two are particularly interesting when you can hear little kids in the background.

Seriously love, have a different email address when you’re shopping; your poor husband must hate calling on your behalf and being asked for it.

At least I understand why HE prefers to spell it out rather than say it.

I was talking to my wife about this and she said a customer had given her “K for Knife”.¬† What next;¬† ‘P for Pneumonia’ or ‘J for Juan’?

Sometimes I try and help them out and they disagree with my suggestion.

Them – “P as in, erm…P as in….”

Me – “P for Peter?”

Them – “No, P as in….erm, Psalm!”

double facepalm

F as in Facepalm

You may have noticed, from the examples I’ve given, there appears to be no grasp of the phonetic alphabet here; at least the official one.

How do I know this?  Because it confuses the shit out of them when I use it.

For the uninitiated, the phonetic alphabet is:

A – Alpha
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Foxtrot
G – Golf
H – Hotel
I – India
J – Juliet
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whiskey
X – X-ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

Admittedly, I have spoken to a few people who have used the phonetic alphabet correctly and I’ve openly commended them for it.¬† It’s a nice refreshing change from the random selection of words I’ve heard.

Mind you, there are a few unofficial phonetics that seem to have become the standard, even thought they’re not.

These are:

B – Boy
M – Mary
N – Nancy
D – Dog

I hear these every time.

And yet, oddly, they don’t use C for Cat.

Hmm.

I have a C word they can use.

types of cat

Don’t interrupt…

I’ve noticed that a lot of my posts recently have been highlighting all the frustrations and annoyances of living in America.¬† It’s been very anti-USA and that’s not entirely fair

I do actually enjoy living here….there is so much about America that is awesome and I will share events when they arise. However, if I wrote about all the things I like about my new life, my posts would be less ranty and more unicorny and rainbowy.

So in keeping with the negative trend, I want to share something that really annoys me when speaking to an American customer over the phone.

Firstly, let me give you some context…

Let’s say a woman is calling our company to order a new jacket for her son.¬† She bought a jacket with us last year and wants the same one again but in a larger size.

Got it?

Good.

Now, in England, the conversation would go something like this…

 

Customer – “Hello, I’d like to ask you about a jacket for my son”.

Me – “Uh huh, OK”. (verbally nodding to demonstrate I’m listening)

Customer – “Now, I ordered this jacket from you last year…”

Me – “Mm Hmm”

Customer – “…but it’s too small for him now, so I wanted to check if you had the same one but in a larger size”.

Me – “Sure, no problem.¬† Let’s bring up your details so I can find the jacket from last year.¬† Do you have your account number?”

Customer – “Yes, my account number is 123…”

Me – “…123…”

Customer – “…456…”

Me – “…456…”

Customer – “…789…”

Me – “…789, thanks.¬† So your account number is 123456789?”

Customer – “Yes”

(Brings up account details)

 

Right, now here’s the same conversation with an American customer…

 

Customer – “Hello, I’d like to ask you about a jacket for my son”.

Me – “Uh huh, OK”. (still verbally nodding)

– Silence –

Me – “Hello?”

Customer – “No it’s OK; you go ahead”.

Me – “What? No, it’s OK.¬† I was just listening; you go ahead”.

Customer – “OK, so I ordered this jacket from you last year…”

Me – “Mm Hmm”

Customer – “Sorry, go ahead”.

Me – “No no, please continue”.

Customer – “OK, so I ordered this jacket from you last year but it’s too small for him now, so I wanted to check if you had the same one as before in a larger size”.

Me – “Sure, no problem.¬† Let’s bring up your details so I can find the jacket from last year.¬† Do you have your account number?”

Customer – “Yes”

– Silence –

Me – (rolls eyes) “So what’s your account number?”

Customer – “123…”

Me – “…123…”

– Silence –

Me – “Hello?”

Customer – “Yes, I’m here, go ahead”.

Me – “So you said it’s 123..”.

Customer – “…123…”

Me – “123123?”

Customer – “…456…”

Me – (getting annoyed now) “…yep…”

– Silence –

Me – “Go ahead”.

Customer – “No it’s OK, you go ahead”

Me – (through gritted teeth) “I need the rest of your account number, please continue”

Customer – “…789…”

Me – “…789, thanks.¬† So your account number is 123123456789?”

Customer – “Yes”

(No account details…unsurprisingly)

 

Farkin’ ‘ell!

Now, let me be clear, this isn’t the case with conversations face to face, this only happens over the phone.¬† If you so much as fart it spooks them like a deer in the headlights of common sense.

During a face to face conversation I don’t have people stopping mid sentence…unless I flop my cock out.

raise eyebrows

Getting it right on 01/01/16

Happy new year everyone!  Welcome to 2016!

It’s at this time of the year that America gets it right. ¬†There are so many occasions where they get it oh so wrong…but not at new year. ¬†No, this is the time they get it oh so right.

In fact, they get it right twelve times a year.

So what am I talking about?  Allow me to go off topic for a change.

There are a lot of things in life that have a natural progression; night follows day,Ernie follows Bert and things that ‘must come down’ follow¬†‘what goes up’…it’s just the way things are.

A lot of things are incremented based on their size.  Think about it.

  • X-Small / Small / Medium / Large / X-Large.
  • Baby / Child / Teenager / Adult.
  • Second / Minute / Hour.
  • Month / Day / Year.

Er, wait, what? ¬†I’m sorry, did I just say Month / Day / Year?

Sorry, my mistake! ¬†I can’t believe I said that!

What I meant to say was Day / Month / Year….obviously! ¬†I mean, who puts the month before the day?

Oh yeah, America does.

In America, for some reason, they do it arse about face. ¬†Not only do they write their dates in the wrong chronological order, they’re blissfully unaware of it. ¬†In fact, whenever I have this conversation with my¬†newfound American friends they look at me with genuine surprise and say “Really?”.

They have no idea.

When I first¬†moved from England this caused me some confusion.¬† For example, today’s date in the UK¬†is 02/01/15, but in America that’s considered the 1st of February.

How did this ever become a thing?  Was Yoda teaching in early American schools?

By US logic, 8:30pm should be written as 30:8pm, right?

Actually¬†it should be written as 20:30 (or 30:20), but the 24hr clock (or ‘Military time’ as it’s called over here) seems to confuse most people too. ¬†It’s practically¬†a necessity to use ‘am’ and ‘pm’ to tell the time.

So, for twelve times a year they get it right. ¬†The 1st of January, the 2nd of February, the 3rd of March etc… all read the same way in America as it does in most of the world.

For 12 times a year, correct America gets it.

date_format