“Merci beau cul?” When pronunciation matters…

what a nice day
What a nice day! I should put on my sunglasses and take stock of my life…

It was a Sunday afternoon. Red automn leaves were scattered on the ground and the wind was getting chilly. The park was still open and a few people gathered there to bask in the last sun rays of the day.

She was walking but was miles away, thinking about her future plans.

He had just sat on a bench in the park to rest after a long day’s work.

As she drew in closer, a gust of wind suddenly blew and she dropped her handbag right in front of him. He saw her and nicely picked it up to hand it back to her.

here it is milady
Here is your handbag, milady…

Smilingly, she said “Merci beau cul”. And then, things went south

Did I get this right ?

I, for one, loved to hear that “Merci beau cul” (Thank you, you nice piece of ass) in lieu of “Merci beaucoup” (Thank you very much). The first time I heard that, it was from an American lady. I know it may be quite hard to master the French “u” for an English native speaker and use it properly at the beginning.

Nonetheless, that mix-up between the French “ou” and “u” made me smile quite a bit. Who wouldn’t? Especially after such a nice compliment

Seriously? She said that?

Kidding aside, that mistake also enabled to enlighten me on my own mother tongue and its difficulties. When you’re a native speaker, you might put pronunciation or accents on the back burner and deny their importance, but when you meet with few similar howlers or mix-ups, you tend to reconsider and realize that small mistakes might have a big impact.

For instance, there is one word I am particularly careful about and that is “household”. Even though I know I pronounce the “h” properly, on this one, I tend to stress my first “h” a lot more than usual because it might otherwise sound a bit like… well you know 😉

Not the same effect here, indeed…

Well, thanks all the same!

I am rather curious about the expressions you are struggling with!

I am sure you have similar stories when practising a foreign language or speaking to a foreigner. Indeed, we all do!

So feel free to let me know!

Resolutions ? Come off it, I want nothing!

This is it, we’re in 2021.

Everybody has wished you a Happy new Year and you’ve resumed work.

Same old beginning of the year with the the same old resolutions:

  • losing weight
  • eating better
  • working out more or on a regular basis
  • saying hi to that beautiful single neighbour
  • saving the planet (some claim to…)
  • going to bed earlier…etc

This time, Covid got into the mix and you’re here reflecting on how to live differently.

For some, it’s great to be able to work from home (like the Grinch), for others depressing since they need human contact (like… the lemmings). Well, the good thing is that with future lockdowns, you may want to go to bed earlier. xD

Kidding aside, people are trying to sell you new things you don’t need, desires you didn’t have, dreams you won’t realize, fears to get you indoctrinated or any other thing just to get you hooked. Well, nothing new under the sun so far…

I bought that thing, did that, went to that place… So what? Where’s the difference?

I am still me, a more experienced me, but still me. I haven’t found any happiness in any of it but wasted more money, more time, have got less space in my room and want more things than before.

Desires never end. But as the Buddha may say “it’s all an illusion”. You just don’t need those things.

Just accept yourself. Be who you are and know thyself!

Rather than doing new things, observe your reactions! Break out of your mental illusion. Get out of the matrix, Neo!

Clear your head before you add up new things in it, whether they be new project or anything…

Besides, people can’t tell you what’s good for you. You know what’s good for you! or not yet…

Really? What’s good for me? Noodles?

You want to improve yourself? Why? If you’re really into that, do what you must then and if you’re supposed to, you will!

But if you don’t succeed in doing so, don’t be too hard on yourself or envy people!It meant you were not supposed to. Either you learn or you win. At least you tried!

So, if things don’t happen the way you expect them to – as a matter of fact, they hardly do – just let them go!

Reality is always right. Life is the best teacher. Better be down-to-earth. But what makes you think you had better do this or that, improve this or that?

So let me break it down to you and let’s all try to see the possible disadvantages of such resolutions:

  • Getting slimer: unless you want to avoid having a heart attack (which everyone should), stop caring too much about your weight. Nobody cares but you! You’re a bit fatter than you think you should? Remember this: “In warzones, when fat people get slim, it might mean slim people might be dead already” … Dark humour here, but still cogent… Plus, given the covid context (no toilet papers and pastas), it might even be an advantage…
  • Eating better: Good one for the health too but don’t be too stringent and allow yourself some time for a good old pizza and a nice movie. We may all die tomorrow, so who cares after all? (This “we may all die tomorrow” excuse works for every situation)
  • Working out more: Well, yeah do that but don’t do it too much… Keeping a bit of fat is nice for wintertime… It’s nice to let off steam though.
  • Say hi to that beautiful stranger: It turns out you may become a great couple until you realise she is not right in the head and you move on, a bit more hurt than before you met her… So, being single protects you from drama queens and trauma with nutcases, huh?
  • Saving the planet: That’s a very nice thought but you may put Superman, Batman and the Green Lantern out of work. Where’s your compassion?
  • Going to bed earlier: well, resting is important and a good night’s sleep allows your body to rejuvenate itself. So it’s a good piece of advice. Don’t overdo it though. Resting doesn’t mean getting lazier.

Ok, I haven’t only found many disadvantages here but my main goal was to show you that things are not always what they seem. Being a do-gooder or a baddie both suck, because extremes suck.

Just accept yourself. Listen to your own voice, your own experience because it’s unique. You’re just great already!

Don’t even listen to me! If you came this far, that proves you don’t listen when I say “don’t listen”, which in itself is good… Or listen to the people who tell you to listen nobody so that in the end, you just listen to yourself!

Besides, we already know now that the ultimate answer is 42, so why bother?

What matters is what you do with your own time in this life.

Just be real. People don’t like it? Don’t argue, it’s useless. Don’t waste your time.

People are too different and nobody truly understands each other. We don’t even know ourselves! How could we know others?

We just try to get along in this maze we call life and live together the best we can.

Harmony matters a great deal though, so being oneself doesn’t necessarily mean being narrow-minded.

The greatest piece of news in all that is that you have to do or be “nothing” more!

Plus, when you look for nothing, nothing can affect you…

But maybe this “nothing” truly is the hardest part

In Taoism, people say that everything is in nothing… so when you look for nothing, you might find everything… who knows… 😉

Rather than wanting or being more, you might just want to have less or be less (bless‘ed) – this pun is awesome !

You’ll fill your life with a bit more of “yourself” to explore. You are never out of time when you take it for yourself and Youssef (he used to sell kebab just around the corner but went belly-up due to Government restrictions on restaurants).

By the way, I think I heard your “self” advising you to press the “like” and “share” buttons, unless it was Youssef or a noise coming from the railway station. Guess we’ll never know…

Anyway, to conclude, let me wish you all nothing! At least, you won’t be disappointed…