Author Archives: Jordan

Blonde Joke

My friend, who is a blonde female, told me this joke: “So, uh, one day A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer.  She says she’s going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.  The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce.  The car is parked on the street in front of the bank, and she has the title and everything is all good.  The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.  The bank’s president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then goes to drive the Rolls Royce into the bank’s underground garage to park it.

Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and interest, which is about $15.  The loan officer says, ‘Miss, we are very happy to have your business, and this  has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled.  While you were away, we checked you and found that you are a multimillionaire.  What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?’

The blonde replies, ‘Where else in the city can I park my car for two weeks for only $15 and expect it to be there when I return?’

My friend and I both agree that this a counter-current to the general trend of blonde jokes. Usually demeaning (playfully) of blondes and depicting them as naive, ignorant, or the like, this one conversely shows the blonde winning out over the bank employees (even the president). We see yet another example of the common person triumphing over those who traditionally would have come out on top. It is very much a “Legally Blonde” moment, an instance when the once-oppressed rise above any previously constricted confines to challenge and negotiate their place in society.

Folk Belief

It is common in the Catholic Church to make the sign of the cross when praying and other important, specific instances during mass. Nowhere in doctrine does it specify that one has to make the sign of the cross when passing a Catholic church or emergency, though my grandmother does. She replied when I asked her about her doing this with, “It is what Catholics do – we…or I guess my family at least…have always done this…we show that we are Catholic as a reminder not to other people, but to ourselves.”

I can agree with this, but will also point out the variation and deviation from doctrine involved in religious practice that is present. It may be another example of seeking agency against the structure of a dominant religious denomination. Either way, as with belief in ghosts and aliens, we see people choosing to act as they wish and believing what they want, even if it is in contrast to or modified from the norm. Again, I will suggest it is an attempt of individuality and identity creation.

Baganda Tale

“One day Hare chose to host a dance. Elephant was one of the guests he invited, and Hare danced with him, though it was obvious that Hare was a better dancer. Elephant was upset about this and asked Hare how he could improve his dancing ability.

‘You are too large to be able to move well,’ replied Hare. ‘You should let me cut some of your meat off your hips so will be lighter and able to move better.’

Elephant took some time to think about this, but then agreed because he wanted to be able to dance as well as Hare and the other animals. Hare sharpened his large knife and cut away at Elephant’s flesh. When he was done, Elephant thanked Hare and went home.

The next morning Elephant was feeling horribly, so he called his friend Cow to help him. ‘I must get my flesh back from Hare, for I will die without it. Please go and fetch it from Hare.’ Cow agreed and set off for Hare’s home. When he arrived, he noticed Hare was cooking. Cow asked him to return the flesh from Elephant’s hips, but Hare brought out a plate of meat to Cow and asked him to quickly eat first. The meat was really Elephant’s flesh, but Cow did not know this. He thought it was delicious and asked Hare were he could get more.

‘I know a hill where many of this kind of animal graze. We shall go there together and hunt enough to prepare a feast.’ Cow agreed, and the two set off for the hill. Hare spotted a large bush at the bottom and instructed Cow to hide in it while he went to the stop of the hill to chase the animals down towards Cow where he would jump out and catch them by surprise.

‘When you hear a small rumbling, keep your head in, but when it is loud, stick your head out.’ Cow waited as he was told, and then heard the rumbling. He held his head in the bush until it got louder, and louder, and louder. He quickly stuck his head out from the bush and was killed by a large boulder rolling down the hill.

Hare found Cow’s body, took it home, and cooked it. Meanwhile, Elephant was worried that his time was short and thought it best to send others to retrieve his flesh. All met the same fate as Cow. Finally, Elephant asked Leopard to talk with Hare. Leopard was presented the same meal as all the other animals and also asked to go hunting for more meat with Hare. However, Leopard was too smart for Hare, and instead of sticking his head out from the bush, he let the stone roll past and then pretended to be dead. Hare carried him back home and began to prepare another meal. As he was about the cut into the body, Leopard leapt up and accused Hare of murdering the foolish animals.

Hare ran as fast as he could, crossed a river, and then ran back across to meet Leopard just approaching the other side. Leopard couldn’t see that it was Hare, since he was wet and looked completely different. Leopard asked if he had seen Hare.

‘No, I haven’t, but I have heard that leopards are being hunted today. Ten have already been killed.’ Leopard was scared by this and ran to take refuge at Elephant’s house.  But by the time he got there, Elephant was dead.

My friend and I agree on this tale’s interpretation: this tale reveals the effects of trickery and wit. Unfortunately, the story ends with these two characteristics being victorious over nobility and friendship. Like many Baganda narratives, it demonstrates the importance of reality to their society and not always assuming that life will unfold according to plan. It additionally hints at the idea that we should accept ourselves for who we are and not try and alter nature for our own benefit. This is seen with Elephant, and how his discontentment with himself and desire to dance as well as Hare and the other animals ultimately led to his death, as well as the death of his close friends. The narrative thereto contains the values of natural ability and beauty versus seeking to refine oneself to fit into a perhaps exaggerated idea of what is beautiful or idolized.

Passover Tradition

The following is from a student partaking in Passover: “Well, last night I went home for the second night of Passover. And, uh, I was there with my cousins and my parents. We have a tradition, um, each year where we sign a pillowcase with our date, initials, and a message. Uh, if you’re not familiar with Passover, you’re supposed to recline for the holidays. Basically the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, and God picked Moses to lead them to freedom in Israel – so they are no longer working slaves, they can relax and recline. I’m not sure who started the traditions, but it goes back to before I was born. I think other families do this as well, but I’m not sure. The message is like something that was big that year – just like a general, big event that you’d want to mark. It would be something from the very recent past or immediately upcoming future.”

This demonstrates that which is valued by the individuals partaking in the tradition and their relationship with those who were a part of it before. It acts as a connecting factor with the past, the performance aspect legitimizing the celebration and in doing so enabling those now to feel a part of the struggles felt by their people so many years ago.

Swedish Proverb

Vanda kappan efter vinden

Turning jacket after the wind

Used in English: “I’m not one to turn my jacket after the wind.”

“It’s like used in reference to politicians who change their views in order to look’s a criticism, it’s not a good thing. Also, it has relations to like, uh, religion, and not being firm in your convictions by changing what you believe depending on the circumstance.”

The given interpretation makes sense, and with it one can see the valued characteristics of an individual held by those who employ this proverb. It suggests that conviction is a prized quality, and one is admirable and respectable by sticking with what they innately feel is right and acting with integrity rather than changing themself to conform to what it trendy, popular, or will make them better off.