I hooked the speakers to my laptop and let Dave Brubeck rip his way through the room.
At exactly 13:10 the following joke landed in my inbox:
A LETTER WRITTEN BY A JUNKIE TO ZAVEN (OF THE FAMOUS TALK SHOW 'SIRI WINFATAHETT')
I am a crack dealer in Basta(1) who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. One of my sisters, who lives in Jounieh, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana in their small garden and are currently dependent on my other two sisters who are prostitutes in Maameltein.(2)
I have two brothers. One is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Roumieh(3) for murder of a teenage boy in 1994. The other brother is currently being held in the Trablos(4) Jail on charges of neglecting his three children.
I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in Jiyeh and, indeed, is still a part-time "working girl" in a brothel.
My problem is this: I love my fiancee and look forward to bringing her into the family and of course I want to be totally honest with her.
Should I tell her about my uncle who voted for Michel Aoun?(5)
(Worried About My Reputation!)
I had heard this joke before it was about George Bush. I still found it to be hilarious even though I did not agree with its political connotations. It was nonetheless a very good joke.
The person who sent me this is a fellow Lebanese blogger and she had compiled a mailing list of about 30 recipients and sends stuff regularly. I did not ask her to add me to the list nor asked her to take me off especially that I did not agree with most of the political content of the emails sent. I accepted her messages under the freedom of speech mantra I am trying so desperately to spread around me.
BUT!!! I was bored. So at exactly 13:48 I send out the following reply to ALL the people on the mailing list:
I failed to mention that both my brothers (the murderer and the child abuser) will vote for Geagea(6) as soon as they go out of jail - As for my "Ho" sisters and fiancee, they are die hard tayyar Mustaqbal(7)Voters ...
Nice Family BTW ...eh hayda Lebnen (This is Lebanon) (NOT)
Merry Xmas to you all ...
I am currently reading Malcom Gladwell’s book the Tipping Point which basically covers the issues of word of mouth epidemics in groups. I thought what better venue to put some of what I am reading to practice, throw some bait out and just sit and wait for someone to bite.
I did not have to wait for long. Eleven minutes later I got this reply from the person who inspired this post, her initials are AS (yes it is only one S, but as you will read on you will realize that the second S is virtual!!!)
Chou osstak bitdallak natira 3al mafra2 la “Sender”
Ba3dena don’t you ever reply to someone that you don’t know (“Sender” plz Bcc next time)
And you “min Beirut” ma hay2tak min libnan bil assass.. Bi khssouss Aoun and Geagea wman yantami illa al mou3asskarayn, “Grow UP people” you are destroying our country… fikoun thilllo ba2a 3annna w 3an libnan
In summary she is blaming me for picking on “Sender” because of a reply to another email about a month ago. But goes on and says you don’t seem to be Lebanese and regarding the political bickering between the opposition and the government it is destroying the country and that we should leave her and the country alone.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic. So I jacked the music even louder and wrote her back:
1-Whatever is between me and “Sender” is none of your business. If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen!!!
2-Ba3dena I am free to reply to whomever I feel like, if you don't like it you can either reply back or hit delete or ask “Sender” to take YOU off the mailing list
3-If you don't see the humor in all this then it is too bad for you - I think it is hilarious and I am having a blast ...
4-Don't worry ana min libnan (I am Lebanese) as much as you are (I will leave it at this, don't take up the issue again - friendly advice)
5-Did you take your Lexotanil(8) today ???
Brubeck was playing his very famous Take Five and I thought this was so appropriate. I was so full of anticipation to get the reply. In the mean time others on the list were replying with some really lame, politically correct statements which I really don’t want to bother you with and which I ignored in the first place. “AS” had me mesmerized for the afternoon.
It took her half an hour to respond. She wrote:
You consider yourself funny?
I think “Sender” will take YOU off her mailing list
You know you are such a jerk
And I can do better then delete (add you to my block list as I do for junk e-mails)
By the way, I never heard about Lexotanil! Maybe you are an expert in it?
GOD protect Lebanon from you and the likes of you!
Whoaaaaaaaa!!! Oh yes …talk dirty to me baby !!!!
I immediately replied:
I love you too ...Hayeteh..... ;-)
May you find an exit to all that build up anger ... I think I provided some help today...if you feel like unloading more please don't hesitate...besides my perpetual work in promoting free speech I also help in providing a crying shoulder for people in need of venting off.
And yes I am an expert on many issues in life and apparently you are in desperate need for my expertise. Doctors who prescribe medicine are not themselves sick but are attending to the well being of others!!!
PS: you are a government clerk ... what are you doing wasting my tax money on useless exchanges...please engage in your hobbies on your own time not the taxpayers'.
PPS: I thought you were capable of a civil exchange but you resorted to insults ... that speaks volume about you and your character ... I shall put an end to this conversation ... I only engage people who have made it past the 18th century.
I shall remind you of this saying of Dante:
The darkest places in Hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.
Have a happy and a prosperous life.
She did not reply.
Now I think I hit three birds in one stone here:
1- I got the satisfactory feeling that whatever books I am reading have actually a way to apply them in a real life situation. The chapter I was at speaks of getting responses!!! Not necessarily angry ones, but hey I did get her to exchange a couple of them with me.
2- It has been a while since I last engaged in my favorite hobby of getting under a woman’s skin. Back when I was married I used to drive my wife crazy with wise ass arguments and discussions. I miss that to tell you the truth. And don’t get me wrong she used to enjoy them as well and it always ended in ….(you know!!!)
3- I think “Sender” finally grasped where I am coming from regarding freedom of speech because as I was checking my emails this morning I was happy to know that I was still on her mailing list.
(1): A poor area in Beirut
(2): The Lebanese infamous red light district
(3): The largest Lebanese jail
(4): A city in the North of Lebanon
(5): A leading opposition figure who is famous for loosing it at times
(6): A convicted criminal and warlord who happens to support the government…for now
(7): The political movement of the late Rafic Hariri. They have been marred in financial scandals although no convictions have been issued …Yet.
(8): Number one tranquilizer medicine on the Lebanese market.