A few years ago I was working a job with a guy named Temiecin. He was born in Ethiopia and had only spent a few weeks in the United States. His spoke little English.
Really, really little.
Mostly "yes," "no," and "lunch."
Anyway, one day I was working with his for about four hours. Four hours of him looking blankly at me.
Out of sheer boredom I opened my wallet and showed him every photo I had.
His eyes lit up when I showed him this one:
"Ahhh, Mr. T." He said.
He smiled and then there was silence. Silence for about 10 minutes.
Suddenly he taps me on the shoulder and says "Michael Jordan?"
I shook my head 'no.'
He looked disappointed.
I thought of this as I watched "Leave It To Beaver" last night.
The episode was from the second season. Beaver Cleaver was still a cute little kid and in this episode he had a new friend.
Chuey, pronounced "chewy."
Unfortunately this was years before Star Wars so they never made any Chewbacca jokes.
Beaver and Chuey spend time playing cowboys and Indians blissfully unaware of what the other is saying. Ward and June don't have it so easy. They meet Chuey's mom and are stunned to realize that she only knows how to say "I don't speak the English."
So Ward and June just speak VERY LOUD and she shrugs her shoulders a whole lot.
I am a little confused as to why Chuey's mom stopped by in the first place. It's like she wanted to come over JUST to make them uncomfortable. She doesn't do anything but smile.
She is the Spanish Vanna White. I shall call her Vanna Blanco.
Anyway, Eddie Haskell tricks Beaver into telling his pal that he has "a face like a pig" in Spanish.
The next scene is just bizarre.
Beaver speaks in Spanish. He says "You have a face like a..."
CHUEY LIGHTS UP LIKE A DRUNKEN MALL SANTA. Damn, he is sooooo happy.
How could this sentence fragment possibly make him that happy? What could be the best ending?
"You have a face like a... dude with a great face."
Soon, the smile turns to tears and Chuey leaves the house.
His parents resurface. They are furious at the Cleavers. How dare their son say such a thing. They seem so aggravated by the "pig" comment that I began to wonder if Spanish speaking countries had large Muslim populations in the 1950s.
At no point does it occur to Chuey and his family that BEAVER DOESN'T SPEAK SPANISH!
I began to worry that Ward might try to say "hasta luego" and mispronounce it to sound like "your mom is a gorilla."
Chuey's dad would have shot him.
Anyway, the whole misunderstanding is resolved and he and Chuey stay friends for... uh... I don't think Chuey was ever on any other episodes. Hmmmm. Maybe Ward did make the gorilla comment about Chuey's grandmother!