Monday, December 01, 2008

"I Got B.O."*

Who wants to hear a Cajun story? Ooh, ooh, I do! (Cajuns—they're so funny.)

It was many decades ago.** My uncle was working for the census, conducting door-to-door polling in rural Louisiana. He knocked on the door of a house. An old Cajun lady answered. He began his series of questions.

"Can you tell my your name?"

"I got B.O."

"Well, um… I'm sorry to hear that. But I really just need to know your name."

"I got B.O."

"Yes, I see… Well, that's not on my questionnaire, so if you could just tell me your name."

"That is my name—Agathe Billiot."***

The light bulb flickered on, and all became clear. Cross-linguistic homonym-ilarious—whooh!

* No, not me personally, though I have been known to get a little musty from time to time.

** This was many years before my existence, and all particulars beyond the core story are embellishments of my own imagination. But then all Cajun stories should have a liberal dose of imaginative embellishment. (Is like de cayenne spicing up da crawfish of de narrative.)

*** For the non-Franco-phonic amongst you, allow me to explain: "Agathe" (the French analog of "Agatha") is pronounced something like "Ah-got", and "Billiot" is rendered something like "Bee-yo", so when you say it all together it sounds a whole like "I got B.O.", particularly when filtered through a thick Cajun accent. (Ain't no funny like a funny that requires lengthy expository footnotes.)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:42 AM


    Once upon a time, I went on a youth camping trip. As we youths were getting settled in at the site, one male youth, raised in Mandarin-speaking China, came over to a group of us and said, "Hi guys. I'm a little short on TAMPAX. I'm going to go to the camp-store and see if I can get some more TAMPAX. Anyone else need TAMPAX?" After we all stuttered a bewildered "no", off he went.

    After patiently awaiting his return, he came back with purchase in hand. What did he have? TENT PEGS. (TENT PEGS sounds just like TAMPAX with a Mandarin accent.)