Wednesday, September 03, 2008

el caballo en el trapeador

One reason I desperately need to learn Spanish is to revel in the word play of Mexicans. My Mexican friends at church constantly try Spanish puns on me. And they go right over my head. I feel like the Margaret Dumond of Jalisco.

Fortunately, they are bilingual -- and are just as anxious to share their unique humor in English. It must be a joy to feel free to play with words in two languages.

Add in the fact that Mexicans do enjoy a good joke. On my last visit, I saw several manifestations. The first was the picture above. As I walked by, I immediately saw the joke at a glance, but the more I looked, it started to fade away -- like a mirage.

It is obvious someone allowed the mop head to flop over, and then created the appearance of an eye, along with a very functional bridle.

I smile every time I see it.


Islaholic Trixie said...

I had to take a second look. At first it looked like a person wrapped up in colored toilet paper to resemble a mummy!!

Anonymous said...

the first time i saw that picture it reminded me of a mummy. it still does.

have a great day!


Steve Cotton said...

Great minds seem to think alike. But I guess that is the joy of art. Or, in this case, merely a display of household mops.

Bob Mrotek said...

Here is a tip for your Spanish. Yes, the word "fregona" means "mop" but I think you will find the word "trapeador" more common in Mexico, at least where I live. I'm not picking on you either. I think that you are doing just fine :)

Steve Cotton said...

Bob -- Thanks for the suggestion. One of the things I need to watch is that I have been picking up slang terms from some of my Mexican friends. And that, of course, happens in English. My uncle always referred to a mop as a swab -- but it could also be the act of mopping, or the sailor himself. I suspect that was from his Navy days. But it would certainly confuse someone trying to learn English.

CancunCanuck said...

Hi Steve,
Oh, watch out for the "albur", the double speak of Mexico. My Hubby is "El Rey del Albur" (according to all his coworkers, he's really quite adept with it). Usually he'll use seemingly innocuous words but when used in a certain order or manner, they take on a sexual second meaning.

After five years, most of his jokes still go right over my head, much to his pleasure.

"Trapeador" is more common for mop. Hubby calls me his "Fregona", like "kitchen wench" I guess. It's not one of my favourite nicknames around here. :)

CancunCanuck said...

Ahhh, clarity. I actually just asked Hubby why he calls me "Fregona". Not kitchen slave (though that is a definition), he said for him it's more like "You annoying pest, don't bug me", LOL! From the verb "fregar", "to annoy".

Steve Cotton said...

Trapeador it shall be. For some reason, I thought there was a distinction between a dust mop and a wet mop, but that is getting far too subtle for my pun-starved mind.

Anonymous said...

i just saw cancun canuck's comment where she defines fregar as "to annoy." i'm always happy to find a new definition for a word that means something else to me-that way if and when i move to mexico i will know the difference. in cuban spanish fregar means to wash dishes. ah, for the many meanings of words. don't worry, you'll do fine with your spanish. it just takes, practice, practice, practice.


Michael Warshauer said...

Here among our Michoacán neighbors, "una friega" means a bother or a troublesome task. I always avoided the verb, "fregar", as it was understood to have a vulgar secondary meaning. However here they call the kitchen sink el fregador.
Quizás que me estuvieron tomando el pelo.

I used to delight in inventing Spanish puns, but most of them flopped with my audience or ended up with me in red-faced embarassment.


Steve Cotton said...

Michael -- My desire to be clever may turn me into the next Redd Foxx, when I only wanted to be Bob Newhart.