Sunday, March 13, 2011

Funny for some

I am listening to a Bill Bryson book on my iPod called "I'm a stranger here myself" and I have come to the conclusion that, to enjoy this book at its fullest you really need to have spent some time living in both the UK and the USA. The book is a series of articles that he wrote for a UK newspaper (The Daily Mail) and it focuses on observations of his life in the US and the differences between that and his previous life in the UK (he is an American who spent 27 years living in the UK, where he met his English wife). Some of the articles are pretty funny but possibly would not be understood by all readers. An example is one entry he wrote about the agonies of visiting the hairdresser/barber. He leaves the barbershop looking like, in his words, a lemon meringue with ears. When he gets home his wife asks him what on earth he has done to his hair. He explains that he told the barber he wanted to look "like a banker" to which his wife replied, "well at least you rhyme". How many Americans would understand that I wonder...this would probably explain why, when I told a couple of my work colleagues that I was reading a Bill Bryson book they replied "why?", and proceeded to describe how they had read his books and found them boring.

It seems to me that one of the big differences between the Brits and the Americans is that the Brits love gardening and can probably give you the botanical name of most flowers in your backyard, whereas the Americans are obsessed with their health and can probably tell you the pharmaceutical name of every pill and potion in your medicine cabinet...

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