March 26, 2015 4 Comments
As an American, I am envious of the Russian sense of humor that culminates in the ubiquitous anecdote. No matter what the event or the occasion, the anecdote is up to the task. It is the voice of the people, coming through a barrage of political slogans, twisted phrases, and distorted language. I believe that the Russian anecdote is a release, a coping mechanism for all the struggles and problems this great nation has had to endure.
A digression with a quick return to our topic: We often forget how different Russians and Americans are. Russia is largely a misogynistic culture, although there have been many strong women throughout Russian history, and quite a number of “superfluous men”. I remember a UCLA professor telling me I was going to take a men’s exam rather than a women’s exam. At the time I was shocked, but realized later that such an attitude is common. Anti-women anecdotes still predominate. Such an anecdote could never be printed in an American paper:
At the zoo, a little girl asks her mother:
–Mommy, why is that goat looking off in the distance with such a sad expression?
–And, do you often see your Daddy smile? That’s just the way men’s lives are.
Putin has been characterized as a swaggering bully. He is a former light-weight champion. To the White House, he has been responsible for a number of problems, and there is an anecdote for that:
At the White House: –Did you hear the latest? Obama’s Press Secretary is pregnant. Do you know who was responsible?
–I can guess. It must be Putin, since he’s responsible for everything else!
And about the Ukrainian situation:
A lady from Israel is talking to her friend from the Ukraine:
–So, what’s been happening over there?
–We’re having a little war with Russia.
–Have you had any losses?
–Just a few things: the Crimea, a couple of regions, some airplanes, some helicopters, some weapons, and some of our people.
–And what have the Russians lost?
–Would you believe it? They haven’t arrived yet!
And, of course, there is the Russian economy. We look at two different perspectives:
The reality of the Russian economy: The director of a major business was given the gift of a hen that could lay golden eggs. Within a month, the business failed to make a profit.
–My dear Holmes, what do you make of the fact that in one year, the ruble has dropped to half it’s value, while the euro has dropped to a fourth of it’s value?
–Elementary, my dear Watson. The given fact indicates that European help is twice as terrifying as it’s sanctions.
And there is the medical profession. Two anecdotes:
–Russian medicine is very simple. Whatever illness you go into the hospital with, you die from.
–Why don’t we fall off the earth when it rotates on its axis?
–We’re stuck to the hospitals.
And, lastly, the all embracing topic of alcoholism:
–Hello! I would like to buy some alcohol on credit.
–Judging by the color of your face, I would say you have an excellent credit history!
–Do you have a dream?
–Please tell me what it is.
–It’s to give up drinking.
–So, give it up!
–And then, how could I live without a dream?
Indeed! How can anyone live without a dream?