Thursday, August 4, 2011

lost in translation

You have to appreciate the Bilingual humor that so often comes with practicing medicine in a community clinic… consider, when one decides upon the final characters for a chinese tramp stamp, before signing on the dotted line, I highly recommend bringing along a friend fluent in Chinese. This can be ever to helpful to prevent accidental life long imprinting of “idiot” or “fatty” instead of the tranquil “longevity” symbol theoretically offered. The same concept is true when purchasing brightly colored T-shirts at a local thrift shop…they may cost $1 in the bargain bin, but unless one is versed in the language imprinted on the T shirt, proceed with caution.

I have fond memories of a lovely Oaxacan patient who came to the clinic in a tight white baby T imprinted with bling bling gold and rhinestones spelling out “That’s right, I’m the bitch” across her tiny chest. This soft spoken Indian woman had NO idea what she was projecting to the world, and my kind MA took a few moments to explain this to her. Crestfallen, the sweet patient opted to leave wearing her shirt inside out. This experience was brought to memory today when I saw an older Hispanic gentleman perusing the halls of the clinic, shade of his sombrero barely obscuring the “Michigan Flip Cup Champ” T shirt he proudly sported. Something tells me this Senor has never played a game of flip cup in his life, but who knows.. maybe he’s developed new skills in a new land?

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