Friday, August 25, 2006

"Do You Speak any Foreign Language?" "Only English!"

By John W. Lillpop

Northern California is a wonderful place to live for a variety of reasons. Diversity and multi-cultural political correctness are not among the reasons.

For example, a simple chore like shopping for groceries can turn into a diversity nightmare for anyone with the arrogance to have been born in America and who speaks English—and only English.

Ask a store employee where kidney beans are, for instance, and the barely intelligible response will usher you off to the meat department. There I found swine kidneys, on sale at $3.44 a pound.

What a great buy, that is! Except I wanted kidney beans for a chili, and can barely stomach the idea of eating the kidney of a swine, or the kidney of any dead being for that matter.

Whizzing right along, one encounters shopper after shopper glued to cell phones, many shouting very loudly in Arabic or Spanish. The strangest, and most frightening, shoppers are those who shout alternatively in Arabic and Spanish.

Obviously, I look forward to checking out my groceries and returning home as quickly as possible.

But, alas, the checker is blathering on and on into her cell phone in Spanish, pausing every few seconds or so to scan an item or two. At each pause, the checker glares intently at us shoppers; she is obviously miffed that all these inconsiderate mall freaks are interrupting her important telephone conversation.

Things get a little better with the next shopper because he speaks Spanish, so he is in and out in short order.

Just before I reach the head of the line, a young man who speaks perfect English replaces the Spanish-speaking checker. “Victory,” says I. Score one for the Good Guys!

My victory celebration is short-lived, however, because the shopper right in front of me is an older man who speaks very broken English, that monster language created by the influx of aliens into California from Mexico.

So, the young checker with perfect English has the formidable task of trying to explain to a Mexican immigrant that one cannot use food stamps to purchase liquor. And as that comedic exchange takes place, the line of anxious shoppers grows and grows.

It all works out, finally, and as I relax in my favorite recliner, I praise God that I am safe at home where good English communication is still possible.

At that moment the phone rings and I smartly answer “Good evening. This is John Lillpop speaking.”

My heart sinks in despair at the response. “Que?” asks the caller.

“Do you speak any foreign languages?” she asks.

“Only English, my dear, only English!”

John W. Lillpop is a recovering liberal