Hungry in Hungry
Hungry in Hungry
I am often asked if I enjoy teaching, and the answer is as emphatic a no as I can manage. I do it for the gloriously intense feelings of superiority to those unfortunates who want to know how to spell 'I', because no one will employ me to stare at the wall from a prone position (which is my own self-perceived forté), and being able to live life without having to listen to the English. There's nothing more soothing than being in a foreign country, surrounded by a language you pay no attention to, because it's blissfully incomprehensible; and you don't have to suffer the basic English self-fulfilling supposition about everyone else (especially the teachers of their sons and daughters) being either a paedophile, or a pederast (and assumed both to varying degrees). The nervous irritability of the sane largely depends, of course, on the localized feverishnesses of Little England's perverted imaginations. Along with the dreadful teepee programmes about the billions of pounds I'm sure to accrue from antiques' salesrooms after rummaging around in the attic for those acrylic lilac loon pants even I wouldn't wear in the 70s, there’re the interminably dismal discussions about the New Conservatism's proposed leg tax for all English mammals, Fern Britton's (1957-) recession recipe for rat au chocolat, and the tax on processed food as it passes through the 9 meters or so of the digestive system to its winning of the Ceramic Bowl. In the 17th century William III introduced a window tax (1696-1851). People bricked them up to avoid paying. Block up your daughters, there’s a Muzzlem around:
‘Lock up your daughters right now;
It will give you a smile on your face.
Lock up your daughters somehow;
This is the time: the time and the place.’1
I sometimes amaze stud`nts with the information that the only words I use when I'm in England are the optional, 'Thank you.' It's all about paying: the universal language. By the time we're seven years old we all have the map. I can recognize a supermarket in any country, and money is the only syntax required. Listening isn't a necessary skill downtown: drowning out extraneous noise with headphones attached to an MP3 playing ‘The Immigrant Song’ (1970) from the California '72 live concerts' recording How The West Was Won (2003) by rock group Led Zeppelin (1969-1980) is: `The hammer of the gods …’2
My greatest regret is that personal stereos weren't invented until I left my skull in England. I made the mistake of trying to listen there, and became frustrated because between thirty and forty other egos didn't want me to. So I too learned not to listen; allowing me to lament the tardiness of the Japanese Sony Corporation in inventing the Walkman and recognize that now, as an English language teacher, I am at best a distraction to what the average stud`nt feels is really important and going on in their head, while at worst I represent to them a monster that deserves no mercy: a head chuck hater.
I believe the Walkman to be the greatest invention of the 20th century because it allowed us to retrench and reclaim personal inner space: a valuable head chuck occasional tool insofar as it allows us to mull over our thoughts without unstructured distractions from those who want us to lose our heads and waste ourselves. When Sony invent a device that'll allow oneself to tune out all else and listen only to the teacher (or whatever else one wishes to direct one's attention towards), that'll be the greatest invention of the 21st century; because then we'll be beginning to experience our own individual reality.
In '76 I was thrown out of high skull at the unfashionable old North East coastal resort of Whitethorne By The Sea (Wyvernsee) for being 'disruptive'. I had long, strawberry blonde hair that reached to my elbows, and would wear a black leather bikers' jacket with the legend, ‘Life's A Bitch And Then You Die!’ embedded into the back of it in shiny metal studs - and I never have had a motorcycle. In my second year at ‘Ull Universe City, I experimented with cannabis, and subsequently spent time on the funny farm having a prescribed chemical lobotomy with thrice daily injections of the brown treacly brontosaurus sedative, largactyl (chlorpromazine), when what I really needed was a hair transplant - pot makes it fall out. I got through skull; Collage, and my first degree by taking valium (diazepam); being drunk; reading and writing science fiction, and hitting the text books hard three weeks before the exams. As a modus operandi I concede it is not ideal.
By way of illustration, I met my wife one day in '79 in the Queers Hotel bar across the road from ‘Ull Collage of Further Head Chuck Occasions (HCFHCO), where I was lured to study for a Briti Countess Cilla’s Head Chuck Occasions’ Emotional Diploma (BCCHCOED) in Busyness Studies. I was 18 and she was blonde, beautiful, and 24. She said her name was Buttney Squeers, and told me we were getting a divorce, 'That's you over there, standing at the bar.' Did I want to meet myself? 'No,' I told her. I wasn't sure I wanted to be divorced either. I'm almost sixty now, and my passport says I'm single: we have never been divorced. I don't know whether to thank the alcohol; the valium, or Elisabeth Sladen; my most recognized assistant in the Tardis.
The second question I am often asked is how I got into teaching? I was kidnapped; caught napping, in fact. I was living in Konk`s Town Upon ‘Ull surrounded by books and, with no thought of upheaval, had just completed a delicious PhD at ‘Ull Universe City all about the American science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), which I had decided required me to read the complete works of world renowned Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), and all back issues of celebrated voyeur Hugh Hefner's Playboy (1953-), in order to have the correct tools for my exhaustive literary analysis. `Ull has a statue of the slave abolitionist, Billy Wobblefist, and Heinlein wrote the definitive story of slavery, `Jerry Was A Man` (1947), about an ape that sings, `Way down upon de suwannee ribber ..,` to a court of law that gives him freedom from servitude and confers the status of `man` upon the SIV1 carrier. Konk`s Town was named for an African king, Konk, whom Billy Wobblefist had similarly freed from slavery after a heart rending rendition of `New York, New York (a helluva town)` (1944) atop the Umpire State Building by the US’ pop giant auditioning for the role of Chip (Frank Sinatra; as it eventually turned up), who was to star opposite Gene Kelly`s Gabey in the sailors on shore leave musical, On The Town (1949), and after Konk had been axed from his role as the giant ape in the film, King Konk (1933), because of his excessive demands, which included having actress, Fay Wray, as the female lead, Ann Darrow, despite the evident disparity between her needs and his.
One day I answered the door to a stunning young woman with long blonde hair who said she was my wife. Deja vu! I ushered her in and was surprised to see the dark suit I had the tenancy agreement with, and who hadn’t been there and shouldn’t have been, bound down the stairs of my flat and tell her: 'All that's finished now!' She left, saying 'I'll try to come back.' It gave me the idea for a science fiction story in which the protagonist travels through time to make love with her husband's avatars as they live in alternative but contiguous realities. Provisionally titling the story 'My Husbands And I', I left it to her to write it.
Then, one heinous Winter morning in November '93, an envelope appeared on my carpet containing a request from the government that I accept a place on a Trinutty Collage, London, TESOL programme with a company called Eurasian Transportees’ Sentences Commuted (ETSC). A romantic by nature, I embraced the concept of Doctor Rusher, etcetera, and allowed myself to be embroiled in their perfidious infamy. As is my wont, I scraped a passing C, and felt the beans filling me up. Falsely optimistic, I gave credence to their Machiavellian machinations and, when offered the chance to choose to go either to Korea or Hungry, I opted for a career in Korea and was told (though I didn't yet know it) that I had to go hungry in Hungry - home of the newly capitalist 'Mid hell, you're a peon!' accent - within three days.
Logistically, this would take some doing. It'd consume 72 straight hours just packing the six hundred or so books I had amassed during what I now think of as my reading years. But, giving the keys back to the suit, and stashing my horde of verbiage in a storage facility inside two huge trunks, I hit the road to London's Headgrowth airport, and with what came to be known by those who knew me as 'the big yellow suitcase', I arrived at the terminal check-in to be informed that, contents too heavy, I had to throw away much of what I was attempting to flee with. Many things were lost forever; amongst them a beautiful silk-lapelled black dinner jacket - and several Rembrandts: but the impetus was with me and I permitted myself to be hurtled through the skies like a virus from a sneeze.
Before leaving I'd done some research on the web, and discovered that I was going to https://www.hu , so far as the internet had a cyber address for me. Okay, I decided; I'll be Dr. Hu. What's menacing humanity in former So Feared dominated Eastern Europe today; apart from Herfy's? As an expert in modern American literature, I espouse WIlliam S. Burroughs' position in The Soft Machine (1961) that language is a ‘virus-programme’, and that it takes over the individual until we reach the point at which we no longer speak language, but are spoken by it. Travelling around the world teaching English, therefore, I see myself rather as a vaccinator than as an educator. There is no known cure for Americana like Coca-Cola; MacDonald`s, and monosyllabic Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator (1984) movies: but everyone in Eastern Europe wanted 'fries with that' and so I saw it as my responsibility - nay, duty - to give them a proper English language booster injection.
Being called Robin was, I discovered, on the negative side of my opening my doctor's bag. It was March '94 when I first struggled into Hungry and, Commonest being collapsed there only since '89, it speedily came to my notice that robins were what the reds had been ridiculed there as. Inflating their chests, and puffing themselves up red-faced in the popular imagination, they were mocked as they'd strutted around a workers' paradise of commonly owned trabants and fully paid up Party members. Robins had been hated, not only for their commonly imposed ideology and So Feared system of governance, but also for making the population learn Rushon. Clearly Moe`s Cow had read Burroughs too and had decided to infect the Sore Packed (1955-1991) countries with their virus, so that the peoples under their control would, one day, find themselves not only speaking Rushon but being spoken by it.
The Hungriun word for a robin is 'vörösbegy', which literally means 'red bird' but, at pains to explain to the Magyar (their name for themselves) that I represented the English language virus and not the Commonest one (flu), this Robin lived in the hope that, one day, his exertions would be recognized by his true masters in Washington and he could retire in dignity, an unacknowledged warrior of the Coleslaw (1945-1991), with the complete works of Traci Lords (b. 1968) to study and a Star Trek (b. 1966) Commodore's uniform signed by William Shatner (b. 1931) after she`d been to the john.
You see, despite the fact that computer is not pronounced 'compuder' (as the Americans would have it), and thanks largely to Hollywood and the US music industry, American English is the virus that won. But they recognize their laziness; that's why we're employed: to put the 't' in computer. The programming of the virus has to be spot on; if the soft machinery of humanity is to be fully body snatched: ‘They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next!’ Ask Bill Gates (1955-) at US’ software giant Microsoft. Now we all have Windows on humanity but, as we are looking out, the divine English Word flies in amongst us – as Robin flew.
Preciseness is, therefore, of crucial importance in the learning and teaching of English language, and there is no one more obsessively concerned with the nuts and bolts minutiae of linguistic understanding than the Hungriuns. If you speak with one of the Magyar they are interested solely in one thing. What they are not interested in is whether you are constructing sentences with grammatical accuracy or, indeed, whether what you are saying is understandable. They are first and foremost concerned with correct pronunciation. You may be grammatically perfect, and you may be completely comprehensible but, if you are pronouncing words that do not sound proper, they will ignore what you have to say in order to upbraid you mercilessly, and insist that you repeat after them; until you have said the word you have offended to their full satisfaction. After a few tries you give up speaking to Hungriuns; even if you have a PhD in it from Oxfudge or Comebritches Universities. The Magyar economists, and are only interested in improving their jaw muscles, so they can calmly sink their teeth further in, and drink madly deeply of whatever your life`s blood has produced for your own comfort.
In some ways it's understandable. Hungriun has forty-four characters and each character has a sound, so if you learn the characters you can pronounce any combination of letters. Consequently, I can read aloud the entire novel, Be Faithful Unto Death (1920), religiously, that is, without understanding a single word. Declaiming Légy Jó Mindhalálig by Móricz Zsigmond (1879-1942) out loud to a hall full of critical Hungriun listeners without faltering, everything will be understood. The only person remaining in ignorance will be the reader, who can pronounce everything clearly, because he's studied their alphabet, but has no appreciation of the meaning of anything he's said. It's like encryption. You can read it, and speak it, but the Hungriuns don't want you to understand it, which is what they tell you right from the off. Don't bother speaking. When you've mastered their alphabet, they'll continue to ignore what you have to say; but you won't be infecting their language. In the capital city of Buttapes, Móricz Zsigmond’s name means `the worlds of the rich cigarette`, that is, the apes’ butts, and correlates with the traditional Hungarian greeting, `Jo napot`, where pot is what they`re on, and not in, because the Hungriuns deny cannibalism, although they don`t deny cannabis. Of course, their religious zealots secretly know that they`re saying, `Jonah pot,` which sounds the same, and is used to disguise their trapping of the ill-starred into being in the cannibals` pot. Jonah was the Old Mendedtoaster sailor chucked into the drink as a human sacrifice for peace during stormy weather, where he was devoured: ‘”Pick me up and throw me into the sea”,’ he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”’ (Jon: 1-12) Odysseus had himself tied to the mast under similar circumstances in the Greek poet Homer’s 8th century poem, because the singing of naked sea goddesses - sirens - were tempting him to chuck himself in: ‘… stay thy ship that thou mayest listen to the voice of us two.’3
Women with cocks would drive men into each other’s arms, which is why Jonah sacrifices himself for the sailors. She’sis’ teaching was different. Be born of ‘woman’s seed’ in heaven above the Earth among the colonized planets amid the stars. Give them what they want is what Jonah was programmed to do, `Jo napot.` Get in there: be a Chew. Indeed, a fish swallows Jonah, but he lives from its belly, and eventually escapes, which is interpreted by Boble scholars in terms of the ineffable machinery of God’s planned Salvation for humanity. However, the sailors’ desire to palliate the storm with a human sacrifice is pagan, and so is Jonah’s desire to sacrifice himself, which colors later interpretations of She’sis’ supposed self-sacrifice. His death by crucifixion, and subsequent Resurrection and Ascension to heaven is descried as Redemption for humanity through human sacrifice, whereas Jesus’ birth from his mother, the Virgin Mary, prefigures the Resurrection and Ascension to heaven through the brainpower produced from ‘woman’s seed’. In other words, God saves Jonah in spite of his pagan inclinations, and Jesus’ murder isn’t a self-sacrifice.
In the Gran of the Muzzlem believers in the ‘Slammer, which was written 6. 10 am - 6. 30 am, Moses and Joshua are by the Red Sea. In this narrative they lose a fish, which they`d been going to have for supper. Interesting, because She’sis was known as ‘the fish’, and he gave his disciples ‘bread and wine’ as symbols of his ‘body and blood’, before his crucifixion at what came to be known as the ‘Last Supper’. In the story from the Gran, a figure appears when the fish is lost, Khidr. Explaining he`s wise, he rebuilds a wall, because he doesn`t want the treasure buried under it to be found, and then he kills a child he says is evil, before making holes in ships and taking another to escape across the sea from the pirates he says are following. Moses and Joshua say they can`t comprehend his actions, and Khidr tells them that they must leave him. He doesn’t want to be eaten, whereas some would argue that She’sis, ‘the fish’, was offering himself at a cannibal supper. However, it’s more likely that he was aware of cannibalism. In primitive societies mana is power ingested through god-eating, which is cannibalism’s rationale. Consequently, Moses and Joshua lose the fish and Khidr appears, that is, god-eating has to be abjured. However, in the Chewdik-Crushteen tradition, Joshua goes on to the land promised by God to the Chews, where he demolishes the walls of the city of Jericho in war, that is, he effectively eats the inhabitants, which is paganism, because ignorance of ‘woman’s seed’ is cannibalism. In short, the evil child Khidr kills is ignorance, and the treasure buried beneath the wall is ‘woman’s seed’, which the Chews didn’t want, because they were cannibals.
The Old Mendedtoaster Chews were slaves in Egypt to Pharaoh Thutmose II (1493-79 BC), who chased the Chews to the Red Sea, where Moses parted the waters for the Chews to cross, before drowning the Egypt Johns following behind, that is, the pirates. In other words, Khidr`s narrative in `The Cave` sura of the Gran, Al Kahf, describes the ambition of the people to escape being eaten by cannibals. In the New Mendedtoaster She`sis` symbol for his followers is a fish, because cannibals practice god-eating, that is, they eat who they perceive as godlike beings with power or mana within them in order to have that power: `While they were eating, She`sis took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”’ (Matt: 26. 26)
When asked, She`sis used to say, `I am the son of man.` In the desert, during their exodus from slavery in Egypt, the Chews received manna from heaven to sustain them (Ex: 16. 31), while anthropologist Robert Codrington`s The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folk-Lore (1891) contains a description of what the people of the South Sea Islands called mana, `a force altogether distinct from physical power, which acts in all kinds of ways for good and evil, and which it is of the greatest advantage to possess or control.`4 In order to persuade those in life to be eaten by cannibals, pot is a useful hypnagogic, so it`s a `Canny biz`, as the Scots might say. Consequently, it`s not a coincidence that 'Informatics' is a science created by the Magyar; the science of information: ‘Jo napot.’ They've long understood the connection between language learning, and the programming of humanity as software to be eaten by those who believe in god-eating and mana power; Jonah, for example, effectively asked to be thrown into the pot. It’s a human-as-sacrifice program discerned by Douglas Adams in his scifi parody, The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), where Zaphod Beeblebrox accedes to the request by the restaurant waiter that he and is party ‘meet the meat’: ‘I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body?’5 If humanity had an enemy, it’d be programing acceptance of human sacrifice in paganism as basic. Consequently, Crushteen paedophiles encourage the belief that She’sis was the son og God that they worship as a human sacrifice, because god-eating is mana or power, and it’s an easy step from sacrifice to barbecue. As Amaninabra’s acceptance of God’s instruction that he sacrifice his son, I-pod, instead of a goat, shows (Gen: 22. 3). From a language-as-virus point of view, Hungriun is the toughest nut to crack. Pronunciation is the key to booting the system in human terms. As children we use a part of the brain that, once we've learned our native language, atrophies because we no longer need it, which is why doctors often recommend learning a language as a way of re-booting basic brain functioning; after pot-related brain damage or other form of self-consumptive ingestion of mana power.
As rock star Lou Reed used to sing, `I`m waiting for my man. Got 26 $ in my hand.`6 Although the song, `I`m Waiting For The Man` (1967) is ostensibly about heroin addiction, it could equally be applied to cannibalism for those addicted to the power or mana in heroines; such as The Velvet Underground`s collaborator, Nico. Pronunciation is the sine qua non of this process of understanding, and Hungriun brains refuse to atrophy, because every character is always pronounced, so it's a perfect way of maintaining the mind-body duality against degeneration, or a cannibal virus like English, which sneaks past a potential host's defenses with its silent letters and lazinesses like 'compuder' - and `man`.
Not that I knew any of this when I arrived at Buttapes` airport's Furry Head 1, and following the instructions I'd been given, bought a bus ticket, and was dumped off it at Cop & Yuk Kids’ Paste metro station, where I bought another ticket to Pullover Yogurt; the Western railway station. With the help of a Rumaniac who, for a while, even carried 'the big yellow suitcase' in exchange for a CD of composer Frideric Handel's ‘Water Music’ (1717) as unsolicited recompense, I finally purchased another ticket to travel by train 400 kilometers to Hungry's second city Deepratson where, some four hours later, I'd remember further orders to purchase a bus ticket there, and travel a last 40 km to the tiny town of Follabúrial, and a tiny language skull known simply - and paradoxically globally - by the acronym of ILS (International Language Skulls).
I stopped over in Deepratson for one blessed hotel night, before pressing on, and was met off the bus by a group of hippie throwbacks (one of whom liked to plait worms into his long permed sandy hair; so that they gave him the air of the Medusa as they squirmed in the heat of the noonday sun). The 'English beggars', as they were known locally, explained that, apart from theirs at the ILS, there were no jobs there in Follabúrial, so myself, along with four other teachers sent by ETSC., would be sleeping on their floor until something could be sorted out, which is where we were for three months while the clock ran down. ETSC., you see, having been forced by the government into guaranteeing us employment, had us sign up for the standard contract with the normal three months' probation and, for some reason best known only to them, found it expedient to pay us for three months before telling us we could get up off the floor and go back to the UK.
Some of us are made of stronger stuff and I, having knocked myself out to get this far, felt as Muhammad Ali (b. 1942) perhaps had in '71 at New York's Madison Square Garden's 'Fight of the Century' as, on his way to losing the world heavyweight boxing crown, he looked up from the canvas in round 15 at 'Smokin' Joe' Frazier. Ali would regain the title after knocking out the previously indestructible George Foreman in '74's 'Rumble In The Jungle' in Kinshasa, Zaire. Also known as the 'Louisville lip' for his remarkable facility with language, one of his more famous quotes also struck me as I shook myself and, deciding that I was part of a government-inspired initiative test (probably with the backing of MI6 and the NSA), got up off the floor myself. Ali'd once told a stud`nt concerned about his prospects for the future: 'If they can make penicillin out of bread mold, they can make something of you.'7
I went over to Deepratson Universe City, an ancient pile formerly belonging to Kossuth Lajos, a 19th century journo, and known locally as `Shoot-The-Cow`, to see if there was an opening for my own brand of Briti Academe's traditionally exportable moldiness. The staff at the Shot Cow Universe City explained there that one of the English faculty was to be away on sabbatical in - of all places – ‘Ull and, yes, they'd give me a job teaching 19th and 20th Century American literature, and English literature 'from the beginnings to the Restoration'. It was an impossibly coincidental exchange of personnel between my city and theirs, which convinced me of the undoubted complicity of the Hungriun secret service in my sojourn in their country. Buying reactolite sunglasses, I took to sitting outside cafés, from early afternoon to late evening, in the hopes of making contact with my mysterious manipulators: to no avail. Though I did get to teach the impenetrable Old English yarn Beowulf (8th -11th century) and contemporary American poet William Carlos Williams' 'Red Wheelbarrow' (1923); possibly one of the dumbest poems ever written about a wheelbarrow - and chickens (not that there are any others, which so simplifies things as to make it the dumbest poem ever written):
‘So much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
I taught in Deepratson for a year, before trying my luck at what they'd trained me to do; teaching English language in Buttapes, ‘WHERE THE BUTTS ARE TAPED’. They say that, if you can pay for it, you can obtain anything you desire in Buttapes, ‘WHERE THE APES ARE TAPED’. Obviously not on a teacher's money. I got more on the dole in England and, with no soles to my shoes, whilst eating crusts of bread left heedlessly by the stud`nts in the wastebaskets outside the rooms they legitimately held at the Collage, where I'd hide to sleep in the basement amongst the rats and the plumbing, in '98 I eventually gave up. Asking my father to send me money for footwear and an air ticket, I skedaddled.
Even Hungriuns often ask themselves how they can afford to live in Hungry and, when I first arrived, the average monthly salary was about 30,000 forints, approximately 100 GBP, and it hasn't changed much since. With an average flat at 5,000,000 HUF, it's still a tenth of what it would cost in England, but I realized I'd be better placed working in Yarubeer and buying a property in Hungry with the proceeds; rather than keep on plodding terms with the economies of Central Europe.
Hungry hadn't been exciting but it had been interesting. Winters are hilariously well managed in contrast to England; for instance. The Hungriuns have four metro systems in Buttapes, the yellow (1), red (2), blue (3), and green (4) lines, which take you all over the city and much of the suburbs. What suburbia they don't cater for is dealt with by the train system or HÉV, which takes the ticket holder a good way out of Buttapes, who say `Az HÉV` prayerfully for their ass’s being safe.
Trams can be found transporting people all over the city on a vast network too, and there are the ubiquitous autóbusz (buses), and even electric trolley buses as well. Consequently, in the colder months with their mountainous snowfalls, a part of the season's delights is the abandoning of unworking transport in favor of those still running; the Hungriuns literally leaping and laughing onto and off of their multifarious means of getting to and from the places they need to be amidst shrieks of young joy and much more mature pained curses - all a bit far from trains stopping on account of leaves on the line between Duncastrate and Gruntem! Impressed by the fortitude of the Hungriun people, I wrote this brief - and literarily inconsiderable - poem in their language; and which I humbly dedicate to their indomitable fighting spirit as well as to that of fellow wordsmith: Muhammad Ali.
Hó hó.’ 9
The first line opens with the pronouncement that something is 'not good', and in line two we discover that what is causing the problem is 'too much snow'. In Hungriun 'halló' can mean either goodbye (to the snow - or whatever) or hello (to Winter - or whatever). It's the linguistic equivalent of The Beatles' ‘Hello Goodbye' (1967) and that Paul McCartney lyric 'I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.' 10 The Father Xmassy ending plays on the Hungriun word for snow (hó) as well as the idea of Santa's laughing as he arrives with the sleigh and the reindeer. It also recalls the chuckles of the Magyar as the weather forces them to jump from one form of transport onto another as they struggle to get Buttapes, ‘UP APES BUTT’, working each day.
Conversation English is what most learners often want from a native speaker, and many's the time I've bounced 40 km on a bus in the ice and snow from Örzfk Tér to speak English with a BBC Top Gear (b. 1977) fan masquerading as a bank manager for Raffish who, fed up with using his de-icer and listening to his car choke in the crispy morning air, wants to talk about Lewis Hamilton (b. 1985) and the Summer's Formula 1 motor racing (a discourse deriving from material trawled from the internet at my own expense, and in what little exists of my free time) until, perplexed by his teacher's dismissal of Jordan in preference to Katie Price (Jordan is an F1 race team but, amusingly at least to me, also a much recognized pseudonym of 'glamour' model Katie), and bored with an obvious lack of genuine excitement in me over pit stops and turbos, he decides he'll learn German and talk about Michael Schumacher and - presumably - Heidi Klum instead.
In-company courses are, of course, both the bane and staple of the often freelance English teacher. It's a vicious game of snakes and ladders, where both parties to the equation are aware that you will only keep your job if you are prepared to do the English language teaching equivalent of massaging their penis. Women are less easy to pigeon-hole, but Hungriun ladies have a tendency to regress to infancy and become baby dolls as they study their ABCs. In fact they learn elementary English and remain ridiculously infantile in speech, but overtly sexual in dress and demands. It works, of course. They get employers and husbands - especially foreign ones - by the tons. Why? Because consenting adults can't be arrested for paedophilia: it's the law. Remember US’ President John F. Kennedy's erstwhile mistress, and Hollywood megastar, Marilyn (but not me) Monroe? Babily she 'sang' to ‘Jack’ at his May 19th '62 Madison Square Garden's 45th birthday party: 'Hap-pie Buth-day Mis-tuh P-red-i-de-unnht. Hap-pie Buth-day to you-ooh!'11
Infantilism can backfire, of course. In Hungry the polo-neck sweater is still called a 'Grabo' after Sweden's silent screen actress, Cretin Grabo (b. 1905). A star in Hollywood's 'talking pictures' largely in spite of her babyish pronunciation, Grabo’s was the immortal retirement line: 'I vahnt to be alooone!'12 And who amongst us didn't want to slap her for it? Most slappable, of course, is another Hungriun, the much married and, surely now (being dead), admittedly nanogenarian Slap Slap Grabor (b. 1917): 'Hallo darlinks!' She of the quest for a husband old enough to treat her as the preskuller her pronunciation told us she deserved to be. The first time I heard her 'catchphrase' on teevee I thought it was an episode of Dr Who (1963-), but she was saying 'Hello darlings!' I'd thought she was saying 'Hello daleks.'
Be-suited, and well-groomed, it's easy to feel like a prostitute as you totter upon your heels from one gleaming commercial palace of chrome and steel furniture to another. Indeed, there are more than rumors that, in the case of some lonely busynessmen and women, the odd hour in the afternoon set aside for English language learning is merely a precursor to the well turned out arrival of some sex on legs carrying a briefcase for camouflage. I know for a fact that I was rejected as a teacher because a young blue-eyed blonde at Dunone didn't find me sexually magnetic enough. But you soon get the idea: pretty boys and girls do much better at language teaching - as they do at everything else too. To protest otherwise is head-in-the-sand wishful thinking. For a busynessperson your presence is like their arm in that of a rising starlet. It's a symbol of their status, and far better for you if you're attractive to be seen with. English language learning is secondary; if present at all.
I had a client at the Agrificial Ministry who, though Hungriun, had learnt German and spoke her English with a pronounced French accent that she had clearly cultivated for its seductive tones. For our discourse she always wore a gold lamé bikini and matching sandals (I'd taught the air hostesses for Dutch airline KLUM; nothing surprises you after that). I earned my corn by giving opinions on the doings and goings on of the English royal family, which I was about as qualified to do as a lugworm. I would explain that, although Prince Sandy (1960-) discovered Sarah Fuckerson (1959-) as a pole dancer in a club in Bermondsey, it had presented no barrier to her becoming Queen. He had much experience with this kind of thing already; having made Emily (1976) with the beautiful American Princess, Koo Stark, who'd appear in several rather more cerebral 'art' flicks; such as Emily Meets Herself Coming, and See Emily Play (featuring a soundtrack by someone who'd once had breakfast with the Pink Floyd's sound engineer's monkey), and which Sandy himself had directed in the late 70s.
On the infamous August 31st '97 headline, 'PRINCESS DIE!' car accident in the Pont D'Alma tunnel, Paris, France, I'd assured the client that it was merely a ruse in which Dodi and Di had beamed up to the United Federation of Planets' Scottish Starship, D' Ye Ken Doddy? and so left behind a planet they hadn't been happy on. She regularly beamed down to the royals' seat at Scotland's Bumoral castle in her burkha, the traditional haute couture Yarubean women's garb designed by Jan Pull Gutyer (b. 1952) circa 4000 BC and popularized by Madonna Kebab (b. 1958) - a black sack with eye slits - to visit with the kids amidst great secrecy, because of her reputed involvement in brother-in-law Andrew's illegal sacks films, such as the notoriously banned Madonna movie Quality Sack Time (1999); Mike Tyson (b. 1966) playing himself, and Jodie Foster (b. 1962) playing Robin Givens (b. 1964) in Hitting The Sack (2001); Sarah Michelle Gellar (b. 1977) as Buffy Mohammed Mohammed Mohammed (yes, they do that) Al-Summers in The Sack Hits Back (2002); Freddie 'Kruger' Flintoff (b. 1977) with Sarah Brightman (b. 1960) and Leslie (b. 1960) and Debbie Ash (b. 1957) in the quintessentially English spoof musical vampire horror dance eco-movie about cricket in the Muddle East Sack Clot and Ashes (2003); the Goldie Hawn (b. 1945) comedy Sack, The Quarterback! (2004); the Windsor's home movie In The Sack with Dodi And His Diddymen (2005); the feminist The Sack Race (2006); The Sack Of Troy starring Brangelina (2007); outrageous sacks' star Nancy Jamjar's (b. 1983) Bollywood Xmas blockbuster, What's Inside Santa's Sack? (2008), and Emma Whatson (b. 1990) in Harry Potter Finally Gets The Sack at Hogwarts (2009). Princes Charles and Philip were also believed to be opposed to Princes Wills and Hens having a Muzzlem brother - Prince Tribble bin Fathed (b. 2000), who lived with his parents on a hospitable moon orbiting Uranus (and Ours - yes, the cheap gags still have all their punch) - and Konk Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was amongst their closest ufonauts.
'Und waz Elvees reely ucking?' my client would ask, lips atremble. 'Yes,' I'd tell her, 'he ucked a lot and was the legitimate ruler of Tennessee. Snatched from his baby carriage as a young Prince and forced by Sun Records to earn his daily bread by singing rock and roll - which he loathed - it was the only way he could win back the throne of Memphis and receive the hand of Princess Priscilla Beaulieu; in lieu of the rest of her pulchritudinous bod: the hand being for some reason detachable. 'Und do you knew the Engleesh Queen parsonully?' 'Oh yes', I'd say, 'Liz - or Queenie Lizard Birth III to her friends - regularly invites me round to ask advice about the succession. I always tell her she can't go far wrong with Basil; one of the corgis. There's really not a lot to choose between them and the budgie. Of course, there's the one in line to the throne that they keep locked up in the cellar that no one talks about. But Prince Oliphant is a vegetable, and who wants to be ruled by King Mister Potato Head?'
I always left Buttapes' Agrificial Ministry with the vague feeling that I should have worn a condom. When asked by the language skull how I was doing with the client, it wasn't crystal clear that I wasn't expected to service her like a bull. There's a huge grey area for the emotions to ramble around in when it comes to conversation English; after all, it's but a short step from conversation to full blown intercourse. In-company courses are ripe for sexual harassment; you can either prepare to force your interlocutor into recognizing that there'll be none; prepare to fight it off like the devil: or succumb to the lull and swoon of the air conditioning and the perceived moment. I once had two young girls who were Hungriun bank clerks in Vökös Tér pay me to give them English lessons, while they wobbled around either side of me on a double bed giggling and asking about pronouns. At what point do you give in? Both were nubile and desirable; blonde Angela and brunette wassername. I remember travelling home on the bus in an almost state of despair; wishing that I'd had the opportunity to put a condom on: before the conclusion of our intercourse.
My favorite assignment was at the Hungriun Ministory Friendustry with which one of the language skulls I worked for had a six month contract. I loved it. I arrived twice a week for two hours. Sitting at a huge mahogany table in a big comfy upholstered chair with armrests, there was never a sight nor sound of a stud`nt. Each time I was given tea; cake, and chocolate cream bourbons, which I nibbled slowly and carefully for two hours (while deepening the carving of my initials in the glossy wood) before finally taking leave of the elegant receptionist at the entrance to the foyer and, thanking her for the sumptuous repast, promised most faithfully that I'd certainly be there again next time. I'm sure I'd have suffered a heart attack; if a stud`nt had ever deigned to surface. I still miss the biscuits.
Working for GbmH, the Australian makers of Grid Balls energy drinks, at the Butt Centre near Muszkvk Tér (Apes is at the other side of the river), was something of a highlight too. It seemed they only inveigled language teachers over there in order to shower them with tickets for parties at Lake Ballalot, and F1 motor races at the Hungonöring. Sometimes it was difficult to squeeze in, past the T-shirted array of blonde hostesses; passing through on their way to promoting some aspect or other of Grid Balls with their doubtless inflatable boobs and bomb proof lip gloss. 'Where are they going?' I'd routinely ask. 'Here, have some tickets,' they'd say, reaching into a binful, 'it's a strip club and the drinks there are about twice your monthly salary.' I'd protest poverty. 'It's okay, just drink our stuff with us, and if you ask nicely our hostesses will only cost you half that.'
They weren't joking either. I was approached on Fartzy Street once by two young women, who asked me to buy them a drink, and I'd agreed. The bill was eye-popping and I demurred. Several bouncer types appeared and, after they'd smashed up my mobile phone because I wouldn't cough up the cash, I'd run to the window and shimmied along a stout pole on the end of which was a large clock permanently frozen at 3.12 am - or is that 3.12 pm? Passing Yarubs sussed my predicament and burst into the establishment; rescuing me from the Herculean bozos. Explaining that this was a cathouse owned by Chews, they offered to trash and torch it for 5,000 HUF (about fifteen quid). I demurred once more, but was grateful enough to overlook their blatant anti-Semitism. As is the way with Yarubs, they soon calmed down, and later it turned out they were Universe City medical stud`nts preparing to become doctors at the Sameasus Orville Chewed 2 Many Head Eat ‘Em (SOC2MHE’E) in Noddy Forehead Tér. I remembered them again when returning from Pseudi Yarubeer with a stack of riyals that the Hungriun banks wouldn't countenance changing. Pseudi riyals are always wanted for the Haj, the annual Muzzlem pilgrimage to Me car and the tomb of Amaninabra. I took mine to SOC2MHE’E, and my Yarub friends gave me 6,000,000 HUF for them. It was enough to buy a flat in Apes, which rubbished the idea that they were shirt lifters, who`d steal the shirt off your back after lifting it.
The Uttermoan Umpire (1299-1922) ruled Hungry for over a century and a half after the first battle of Robbit Hutch (1526), so there is a strong Yarupric influence and presence. Uttermoan rule officially ended in 1718 after what was - ultimately - the decisive battle of Robbit Hutch II (1687). The Ducks' main legacy, as is the case everywhere they were, is the Duckish bath house, and the one under the Sara Gellar mountain, upon which sits the luxurious Hotel Gellar and - used exclusively by the guests there - is second to none. But here is also the 'cukraszda', a species of café come-cake shop where you can drink Duckish coffee, and consume their other great legacy of confectionery, which they call sucking Ra`s da after the ancient religion of Egypt with its father god, the sun, Ra. Eating and drinking such `da`, I make remarks to my Yarub friends - with the full expectation of being listened to respectfully - 'I heard that the US government, concerned at the numbers of abortions occurring in the States, decided to recycle the protein, and now every beer contains the juices of at least one unborn fetus.' `Da,` agreed some Rushons at the next table.
The Egypt John’s were known for breeding their pets until they were less powerful than they were and pretending that they were gods, which is why Anubis, the god of the dead, has a dog’s head. That the Muzzlems derive from the Egypt John’s is apparent from the role of the dog-headed god, Set, in Egypt John mythology. After Ra, the sun god, was incarnated upon Earth as Osiris, Set dismembered him and Isis, Osiris’ sister, the sun goddess, had to dig up Osiris’ bones and remember him. Unable to find Osiris’ penis, Isis made a new. Although the Muttawahs of the Muzzlems order the ‘faithful’ to pray, it isn’t sufficient. What was needed was a world wide web, so they bred spiders, and their Gran in a box in Me car was known as ‘the keeper of the missing bit’. In this way, the ‘Slammer improved upon the ancient Really Johns.
Complete nonsense, bordering on insanity, is immediately understandable as just one further instance of the activities of America, the Great Satan, as foreseen by the Gran (6. 10 - 6. 32 am) - as revealed to the Brafit M’mumhad (blessings and peace be upon his humdrum name) by God - putatively. Explaining, in Yarub company, that the President George Bushes were actually successive incarnations of Beelzebub, you are met with sage nods in confirmation of the belief that the USA is truly evil. In the West anyone making remarks like this would be laughed out of their tree, but amongst the Yarub peoples it would be taken so seriously as to require verification: denials would have to be issued by the local US Embassy. Though it's about as believable as the notion that the left hand is evil, and so should be shunned as though it weren't a part of the wholeness of our selves (I'm left-handed, so of course I'll be calling my son Mohammed Mohammed Mohammed), credulity is all about what your religion and culture predispose you to believe and, as the great American sci-fi writer Kurt Vonnegut, in his masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), wrote of such and other human folly, strategically placing it into the incredulous mouths of his four-dimensional aliens from the planet Tralfalmadore: 'So it goes.'12
For those who don't know, Hungriuns know a thing or two about viruses; linguistic or otherwise. Buttapes, ‘WHERE THE APE’S ALL BUTT’, is split into two by the river Danude, which of course explains why it`s sucked a lot in the name of the Egyptian father god, Ra. The Danude flows through Buttapes, ‘WHERE THE BUTT’S ALL APE’, and is linked by several large bridges; the foremost of which is Hair Sherbert. Indeed, originally Buttapes, ‘WHERE THE TAPE’S ALL BUTT’, was two cities. Legend has it that, during the first rat borne bubonic plague of 1691, the bridges were blocked or pulled down; isolating the one side of the river from the other. The Butt hills, and their imposing castle (`fert` in Hungriun) - with its origins in 14th century Gothic - overlooking the Danude, survived almost intact; whereas the other - flat - half of the city, now with its own equally impressive Parliament (1896) with its Gothic-style façade, succumbed almost totally to the pestilence - hence the pithiness of its name, Apes.
Unconscious of the symbolism I, witting carrier of the English language virus, had ensconced myself in Apes. The red light district was just up the street from where I was living in a basement flat at – numberless to protect the processor - Bérkocsis (one horse coach) etsc (street), and sometimes one of the ‘horse’ would offer to learn English in return for her favors. Yeah, I could just see their pimps going for that one. The only words in English they used were 'Complete sex?' Difficult to complete alone; certainly. And the Hungriun word for sex is 'szex', which sounds exactly the same, so they're not stretching themselves over it (no pun intended). But then they'd fall down with 'ĺt izer', meaning 'five thousand (fifteen quid)', so I guess I could've taught them to ask for money in English; if I hadn't been frightened of the clowns that ran them as well as of the clowns that might conceivably spread HIV and AIDS through them. Apes by name, Apes by nature? Shortly after I bought my flat, the EU directive ordered Hungry to clean up its act, and the whores left the streets to become agency directed. Now you have to make appointments in hotels by phone with regulated escort providers that have names like Love to Go, Girls to Go, and - okay, it's apocryphal - Go Like Trains. For me, it just represents the future of English language teaching in Buttapes; all pretence at conversation long since ditched in favor of a more straightforward intercourse: 'Complete sex? Five thousand forints. I'll accept plastic.'
Ez nem nő
Ez a feleségem
Ez a hó nő
Ez a feleségem.
That`s no woman,
That`s my wife.
That snow woman,
That`s my wife.
1 Lea, Jimmy, and Noddy Holder `Lock Up Your Daughters’, Slade, Till Deaf Us Do Part, RCA, 1981.
2 Page, Jimmy, and Robert Plant ‘Immigrant Song’, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III, Atlantic, 1970.
3 Homer The Odyssey, Bk XII, l. 186.
4 Codrington, Robert Henry The Melanesians: Studies in Their Anthropology and Folk-Lore, New York: Clarendon Press, 1891, p. 118.
5 Adams, Douglas The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Pan, 1979.
6 Reed, Lou `I`m Waiting For The Man`, The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967.
7 Ali, Muhammad in Clifton Fadiman and Andre Bernard (eds.) Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes, Little Brown Co., 2000.
8 Williams, William Carlos, ‘XXII’, Spring and All, New York: Contact Editions, 1923.
9 Usher, R. L. ‘Snow’, Humanizing Language Teaching, December 2017, Vol 19, 6, https://hltmag.co.uk/dec17/poem02.htm .
10 Lennon, John, and Paul McCartney ‘Hello, Goodbye’, The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour, EMI, 1967.
11 Monroe, Marilyn Madison Square Garden III, May 19th, 1962, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfQtfw8U06g .
12 Vonnegut Jr., Kurt Slaughterhouse-Five, London, Jonathan Cape, 1969, Chapter 2, Op. cit.