I Ate an Apple
Am I the only one who doesn't get the opera? Someone sings, "I ate an apple / I ate an apple / I ate an apple / I ate an apple." Does that mean he ate four apples? Am I supposed to be keeping track of how many apples he ate? And why should I care about how he ate an apple? How come the people sitting next to me are thinking, "This guy's singing about eating apples. Great. I'm glad I put on a suit and paid $400 for my ticket. This is even better than that opera about eating mangos." If some guy were to sing about apples outside of an opera, a mob would form and tell him, "You ate an apple / And we don't give a shit / You ate an apple / And no one give a shit. Not even Johnny Appleseed gives a shit." And the next night, that mob will put on suits and gowns, and pay $400 a ticket to see an opera about Nascar and laxative. Act One: "I drove around the track / I drove around the track..." Act Two: "I cleared up my colon / I cleared up my colon..." Act Three: "I drove around the track, and I cleared up my colon..."
Why are people so fascinated by whatever's being sung at an opera? Maybe it's because the singing is in Italian. Anything can be appealing when people think it's Italian. Just look at Venice--the city of water. It's considered one of the most romantic cities in the world. Even though everyone knows that the water is 12% urine. Urine is romantic? Yes--as long as it's Italian. You know what? Don't bother buying your girlfriend or wife flowers for Valentine's Day. Just take a piss in an Italian vase, and say, "Honey--this is Italian. Happy Valentine's Day. I ate an apple / I took a piss / I ate an apple / I took a piss."
If someone were to drink an American beverage called "Concentrated Caffeine," his friends and family would tell him, "You have a problem. Now pour that concentrated caffeine down the drain, and check into rehab." But when you drink an Italian concoction known as espresso, you're considered a very cultured person. In fact, in Italy, the person who drinks the most espresso becomes President. Italy's Electoral College is just a bunch of guys who run espresso shops. And if your blood is over 10% espresso, you'll become a dictator--like Mussolini.
One time, I went to an intervention for a cocaine-using friend of mine. But he just played a Rossini song, snorted a line, and sang, "I snorted a line / I snorted a line." And everyone there said, "Oh! L'opera! La cocaina! Magnifico!" Then a month later, his wife found out he was seeing another woman. And he told her, "I'm not cheating on you. I have a mistress. Like the Europeans." His wife was very impressed with him. "Wow. My husband has a mistress, he snorts la cocaina, and he pisses into Italian vases. How European."
Two and a Half Frenchmen
If you've travelled around the world, you know that there are many different types of local rudeness.
Like New York rudeness. In New York, people are usually rude in order to save time. If you walk into a store in New York and return an item, the guy working there will say, "You want to return this? OK. Here's your money. Get out of my face, and have a nice fucking day. Next customer."
French rudeness is much different. The French aren't trying to save time. In fact, they'll spend extra time in order to be rude. If you walk into a store in France and return an item, the guy working there will look at you condescendingly for ten seconds, and say, "You want to return this plate? For ten Euros? You came in here and waited in line for ten minutes to return a ten Euro plate?" Then he'll turn to his coworker. "Pierre. Look at this American. He wants to return a plate. For ten Euros. Yes, yes. This American. The one standing in front of me. The one who looks like a prick." Then he'll light a cigarette, stare at you for another ten seconds, and continue. "Why do you want to return the plate? What's wrong with it? It's not good enough for you and your refined American tastes? It's not good enough for your Big Macs and your Egg McMuffins? You know what I do every morning? I go to McDonalds's, I order two Egg McMuffins, and then I spit on them and throw them away. Because I'm a man of taste. I'm a man of culture. Egg McMuffins. Disgusting. But you, Mr. American, Mr. Egg McMuffin--you're too good for this plate. A plate that's worth more than your filthy American life. What are you going to do with the ten Euros? Are you going to use the money to buy a Two and a Half Men DVD? What season are you on? Season six? You look like you're on season six. The second you walked in here, I thought, 'He looks like a season six son of a bitch. Not a season five son of a bitch, or a season seven son of a bitch.' You know what I do every day when I get home from work? I turn on Two and a Half Men, and I spit on the screen. Two and a Half Men is like the McDonald's of television. Garbage. And America is like the McDonald's of the world. Garbage. And you are one of the countless number of people sitting in that McDonald's known as America, and you're stuffing your face with two and a half Big Macs. But you--you have to return your plate, get your ten Euros, and buy your DVD. Why do you care about money so much? In France, we're not obsessed with money like you. If we see a hundred Euro bill on the ground, we don't stop to pick it up. We just go about our way and sing, 'Alouette, gentille Alouette / Alouette, je te plumerai.' In America, you guys will kill each other for money. What will you do after you get the money and buy your DVD? Will you celebrate? Will you drink some cheap American wine with your celebratory bacon cheeseburger? American wine. You call that wine? It's like grape spit. Look at you--you American son of a bitch. Maybe you want to return the entire country of France for America. I've never been so insulted before in my life. You know what? I'll give you the money back. I'll give you the ten Euros. As long as you acknowledge that you're an American pig. You do that, and you'll get your precious money. ... What? You're not going to do it? Well then get out of my face! Next customer. Actually, stay here. I want to lecture you for another hour."
Of course, in some parts of Europe, the people are the opposite. They're unbelievably polite. England is a good example. In England, people wait in line for cabs. And you're expected to give your place in line to the person behind you. "You go first. I insist."
They actually tried that in New York. They introduced lines for cabs. But the people in line kept on stabbing the people in front of them. In New York, if you try to get a cab, that means you're declaring war against the entire city.
In England, people are polite, and in France, people are rude. Whenever the two countries go to war, [insert slightly offensive, moderately funny joke here]. And whenever an English man is married to a French woman, [insert moderately offensive, completely stupid joke here].
The rudest Frenchmen of all are French waiters. In most of the world, waiters and waitresses have to as least pretend to be friendly. But in France, they have a different custom. Waiters are supposed to be rude. Especially when dealing with Americans. This is what happens when a French waiter gets home from work. His wife asks him, "How was you day, honey?" And he responds, "Great. I had 23 American customers--and I gave them the authentic French dining experience. One said to me, 'Can I have more water?' So I slapped him in the face and said, 'Go fuck yourself!' Because that's what he wanted. Authentic French rudeness. Why else would he be an American and eat at a French restaurant? And would you believe he had the nerve to only tip me 14%? Unbelievable. As you might imagine, I got an Egg McMuffin and threw it at his fat American face."
French Nutrition Labels
My favorite Frenchmen are French chefs. They're very serious about food.
Just imagine a French chef who has a romantic evening with an American woman. He takes her back to his apartment. And then the next morning, he says, "Rebecca. You're a fantastic woman. I had an unbelievable night with you." And he continues, "Shall I make you breakfast?" [Rebecca:] "Yeah. Do you have any Pop Tarts?" [French Chef:] "What do you mean Pop Tarts?" [Rebecca:] "Pop Tarts. You know. Toaster pastries." [French Chef:] "You realize I'm French, right?" [Rebecca:] "Yeah. Of course." [French Chef:] "And you realize that my name is Pierre?" [Rebecca:] "Yeah." [French Chef:] "And I'm a chef. You realize that as well?" [Rebecca:] "Uh--yeah. You're a French chef. Named Pierre." [French Chef:] "And you're asking me for Pop Tarts?" [Rebecca:] "Uh huh." [French Chef:] "You want Pop Tarts?" [Rebecca:] "Yeah. Pop Tarts." [French Chef:] "You want to eat them, or you want to spit on them before your actual breakfast, and then laugh at American cuisine and American culture?" [Rebecca:] "Uh... I want to eat them." [French Chef:] "Just to reiterate, I'm a French chef. Pierre. I can make you anything. French toast. Belgian waffles. An omelet. Whatever you want." [Rebecca:] "It's OK. You don't need to cook anything for me. Just put a couple of Pop Tarts in the toaster."
How would a French chef respond to that? "Pop Tarts?! ... Get out of my my apartment before I kill you with my waffle iron! It's over between us. ... I can't believe I made love to a woman who eats Pop Tarts. This is worse than the time Pepe Le Pew romanced a member of the wrong species. The next time I romance a woman, I'm going to make her breakfast first. From now on, it's breakfast and then romance. Not the other way around."
Have you ever seen a French nutrition label? It doesn't even bother mentioning vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and protein. It lists three things: calories, wine, and cheese. Because that's what nutrition means to French people. "I'm a Frenchman. I need to get my daily intake of calories, wine, and cheese. Otherwise, I'll die. Or even worse, I'll be unsophisticated."
If they have a wine shortage in France, it'll result in a civil war. Over there, the President has two main jobs: make sure there's enough wine, and make sure there's a proper ratio of red to white wine. "Sacre bleu! Grey Poupon! We have a 7 to 1 white to red wine ratio. This is going to be a problem. I need to contact Congress, a.k.a. the Grape Growers Association." That's politics in France. For 23 hours a day, French C-SPAN shows a bunch of grapes growing on a vine, and some guy singing, "Alouette, gentille Alouette / Alouette, je te plumerai."