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JUMP BACK | BE FORWARD

As I approach the end of my 30s and likely the end of my life, I have decided to run an occasional series in which I impart to the young people of today some of the wisdom which has allowed me to obtain my glorious human station. Parents, feel free to read these to your children; if you are a young person yourself of less than thirty years, have someone read it to you.

ADVICE FOR YOUNG PERSONS #1: Always blame your bad behavior on the cultural standards of a pre-selected foreign nation.

If people think that your obnoxious carryings-on are the result of having been raised by the standards of a foreign nation, they will be less likely to call you on them for fear of inspiring offense and/or a lawsuit. When selecting a foreign culture upon which to blame your unsuitability for decent society, I suggest one that is relatively unfamiliar to most people, and difficult upon which to check. My own choice is Malawi. So, for example:

"You know, in Malawian culture, it's customary to for hosts to wait three cycles of the moon -- or 'months' -- before asking a houseguest to get a job and stop stealing their newspaper."

"I'm sorry! But in Malawi, girls are considered sexually mature at 12, and are often asked to pose for photographs of this nature by local department stores and groceries."

"No, I'm not offended, but I have to say, my Malawian parents didn't raise me to make such a big deal about a little heroin abuse."

"Oh, come on. That's just a western concept. Back home in Blantyre, there is no such thing as so-called 'armed robbery'."

God bless us, every one.

Comments

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krinndnz
Dec. 11th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
Your choice of examples is particularly amusing to me. I have an aunt who was in the Peace Corps and spent a few years in Malawi. She did pretty much exactly this to me and my siblings one time when we were young and (even more) credulous. I believe it was something about disobedient children and missing fingers.
thaitea
Dec. 11th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
You know, back in Knossos people gave all their family heirlooms to their houseguests. It was an expression of humility. They also baked pies for them.

Hey, this is easy!
carbonunit
Dec. 11th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
I like this! It's basically a more ethical version of "blame your parents" in that a whole culture is amorphous and can't be implicated.

When I was 16 I was involved in a scam similar to this. I was a member of a cathedral choir, and we went on a tour of the UK, singing in the mother cathedrals of the Anglican church. One night we arranged a trip to the local pub. Our hosts were a little wary of letting a choir of boys aged 14 to 18 years drink beer, but we were all "Come on, it's been 3 weeks since we've had a drop! We're Australians! Bloody oath, I'm dry as a dead dingo's donga!" and so on until they let us.
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ludickid
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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