It started with a silly children’s joke, taught to me (in Spanish) by my friend Jim. Jim is an American living in Baja who figured that in order to really learn the culture and fit in, he needed to be able to tell a joke in Spanish and to discuss politics.
The joke goes like this: “Que tipo de vitaminas tienen los frijoles? (What type of vitamins do beans have?)” The answer, as with many jokes that my Mexican friends are fond of, is a play on words, “P2,” which, pronounced in Spanish is ‘pe-dos,’ in English, ‘farts.’ (I told you from the beginning that it was a silly children’s joke!) In Spanish instead of writing ‘hehehe’ or ‘hahaha’ it is spelled ‘jejeje’ and ‘jajaja.’ It’s okay to laugh–farts are funny in any language and across cultures.
That’s where world peace comes in. (I’m pretty sure this may be the only time that farts and world peace are talked about together…?)
Last night my friend Katy and I were at dinner at Jose and Vita’s house. (Katy is visiting from San Francisco. Jose and Vita are Mexican friends who live here in La Mision.) Vita made delicious chicken enchiladas. I learned a new Spanish word–‘guisado’–which is what you do to the corn tortilla after you dip it in the enchilada sauce and as you are cooking it in the oil. Guisado means stew, or braise. Apparently this is the key to getting good flavor in the tortilla/sauce part of your enchilada–Mexican cooking tip, free of charge.
As we sat around the table, stuffed from the enchiladas, we were chatting and the conversation turned to my newly learned joke. Jose wanted me to tell it to Vita, so I did. It got a laugh, as it has every time I’ve re-told it in the week since Jim taught it to me. The thing is, farts are funny in any language. As we were pondering this, Vita said (translated) “The farts don’t know any borders, any boundaries–they don’t know race or language–all people fart, it is the same for everyone.”
What if, we began to wonder, there were a gathering of world leaders, the presidents from all the countries, and right when they were in the middle of tense discussions all of a sudden one of them farted. “They would all have to laugh,” said Vita. “It would change the entire conversation.”
So, there you have it. Over chicken enchiladas, and on account of a silly children’s joke, the solution to world peace. Now we just need to get the world leaders some of Vita’s delicious refried beans…