I don’t want to politicize this blog, I just wanted to relate this little tale briefly, because it was a major event in the course of my travels.

My roommate and I went down to a field near our house to play some pickup soccer. We got there to find a bunch of guys in their late 20s and early 30s playing a very impressive match. They let us join in with the usual jeers and everybody had a good time.

We were taking a (much needed) break between 10 minute halves, sitting around on the sidelines just chatting, when they asked us where we were from. “Estadounidenses, somos.” I responded – we’re Americans.

“Estados Unidos?” they repeated, reasonably shocked (they don’t get many American visitors…the entry visa process is a real pain). There was a microsecond pause as they coordinated telepathically, launching into the same joke simultaneously.

“OOoohhh Meeester Bush! No me tires. Boom! No me mates! jajajaja cuidado las bombas! jajaja no me golpes! BOOM! jajaja”

As if you need a translation:

“Oh Mister Bush! Don’t shoot me (some put hands in the air, others mime holding a machine gun)! Boom! Don’t kill me! hahah lol! watch out for the bombs, guys! haha don’t blow me up! BOOM! (mime being blown apart from the chest) hahaha! lolz!”

It was no big deal to them. It really was just a joke to them. They still let us play, they treated us the same as they had before, and invited us to play again with them next time.
But to be honest, the whole exchange made me sick to my stomach. It wasn’t their fault – they were just purveyors of the cultural humor with which everybody else has been too polite to entertain.

This needs to end.