Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Punny Humor of Egyptian Hustlers

My friend Jayne just got back from a semester in Egypt. The following selections are taken from a couple of her e-mails. They are intended to shed light on the growing crisis that is developing in the Middle East: the war on humor. She sent some pics to go along with the story. The first is of Talaat Harb Square- where most of her treacherous tale takes place. The other pics are of Egyptian signs- one that is funny but not trying to be, and one with graffiti that is intended to be funny but is misspelled and awfully unfunny.

the only story worth telling this week involves egyptian hustlers (of hotels/trips to the pyramids/hash) with connections to minnesota (which my friend austin calls "the forgotten state"). i know a bunch of the hustlers that hang around talaat harb square because my friend lives really near by and we ate dinner a lot during ramadan at this papyrus shop that they all operate out of...so they always talk to me when i walk though talaat harb square, and they're almost all super shady.

anyway it's less of a story than an occurance/observation. the first time i met one of them he was like "i lived in minnesota for a while. we call it "minneSNOWta" ". which totally caught me offguard coming from an egyptian hustler- and i love puns so i laughed a lot. then a few days later this other hustler started following me and telling me his life story and how he has this friend from minnesota and they call it minneSNOWta because it's so cold.

so i reeled on him and told him i knew his friend. because how many egyptian-minnesotan hustlers can there be? and he tried to deny it. then last night i ran into them both together and one was like this is my friend he's from , at which point i interupptted him to tell him that his friend is from minnesota which they call minneSNOWta. and they totally freaked out. and then my friends that i was meeting showed up and the hustlers told the pun again. in front of me. this story doesn't really have a punchline except that i feel that a good pun deserves a lot more respect than those two were delivering. i'm sure you agree.

i ran into the same two hustlers again today when i was walking with my friend sarah and the minnesotan. one told her that he was from minnesota which he likes to call minneSNOWta. he has no shame. and the other one (i still don't know either of their names) told me that i was naturally very sweet after i explained to him that the reason i grimace every time i run into him is because i know it will be at least 15 minutes before i can extract myself from his slimy tentacles of inane banter, stupid compliments, and awkward requests ("do you have a picture of yourself when you were a baby?"). when i last emailed you i still thought they were amusing. now i think they need to go back to minnesota and leave me alone. [i just ran into the really annoying one today in zamalek, which is the super wealthy really really western island in the middle of the nile. i was in a coffee shop and he was with this really good looking guy in a nice suit with no tie who kind of reminded me of an egyptian david beckham. i thought the one place i would be safe from him would be zamalek because it's so unsketchy usually. madness]


Anonymous Joe Lennon said...

i was there last week!

very strange how paths cross around the world.

4:43 PM, December 27, 2005


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