MUSTACHE TALK / FAMILY MATTERS
José Ángel García Landa
1982-83, online ed. 2005, 2020
(Note: I wrote these skits for my English language course in the early 80s, when the world was younger. Here they are as a reminder of the kind of material my teachers had to deal with).
1) Family Matters
H. By the way, do you realize it's almost six weeks since we last went to the country? It's crazy, isn't it, how the days pass. I, for one, need some fresh air. I wouldn't mind a long excursion this weekend. And the children are through with their exams, so it's just the right time.
W. So it is, darling.
H. Of course, I know you wouldn't mind going to the park around the corner instead. You never made the difference between a park and a real wood, but I do. Yes, that's it. We'll go camping in the woods. You may stay here if you want, anyway. I know you don't like adventure. You're so home-loving and gentle. You know, that's why I married you. Opposite poles attract each other. And I bet no-one can say, without heavily distorting the facts, that I haven't made you happy, huh?
W. You know it's so, darling. Oh, here's the postman. I see he brings a letter from your cousin. Will you read it?
H. I'll inform you of its basic contents. My cousin, his wife, his eleven daughters and his stepmother are arriving here on Friday. No more open air, no more excursion to the country, no more camping in the woods. But I'm happy because I do love my cousin and his family, and his stepmother too. Moreover, it grieved my heart to think of you, alone in this empty house, haunted by the remembrance of your loved ones gone camping in the woods. It did grieve my heart for a moment, you know.
W. You know I know, darling. I like your cousin, too, though I don't like his stepmother at all. I think his father did ill in marrying that woman, especially being a man with twelve grandchildren to provide for.
H. Please don't go gossipping about those sad matters. You weren't a bit of a gossip before our wedding, my dear one. Ah! My cousin is coming. What could we contrive, to make him aware of the three feelings this news has aroused in me, namely
1) an immense joy, his unexpected visit being the cause,
2) A pang of frustration, his " " " " "
3) A secret relief, " " " " " " ?
W. I think I've got the answer, Helen. You'll cook a big chocolate cake (which is your cousin's favourite dish); then you'll stick a cherry into a fish croquette (this last being loathsome to your cousin's palate, while he relishes cherries); finally, you'll bury the croquette (still with the cherry in it) deep in the chocolate, and you'll give him the lot to taste. He'll surely experience the very same fits of pleasure & pain that racked your mind only minutes ago.
2) Mustache Talk
I lifted my eyes from some photographs and engravings of Nietzsche I had on my desk and yawned. Not that I was bored: I was simply exhausted after serveral hours of work. I waved to Martin, a member of the Nietzsche's Mustache Fan Club, who was just passing in front of my door. I didn't like him specially, but I would have talked to anyone then. I was preparing a work on the lower left section of the mustache, and I informed him of my latest discovery: two slightly reddish hairs planted one beside the other!
I knew this wasn't a subject that aroused any special interest in him; he followed a new school that studied general problems like the smoothness or the gloss of Nietzsche's whole mustache, rather than separate sections. But I was quite surprised when he told me I had no idea of what I was working on. According to him, I lacked a general knowledge of the facts, an overall view. He wondered whether I knew anything about Nietzsche's nose, or his lips. I replied that there were many specialists working in those fields; I explained that if I had to study the whole of Nietzsche's mustache and the surrounding facial areas as well, I might spend more than a lifetime. I added that it would be the work of greater men than I to draw general conclusions from the data that I and so many other Nietzschemustachiologians drew from extant material.
He must have thought I was referring to him, for he blushed, and he told me with an air of secrecy that he himself was a dilettante in those unexplored fields. I feigned som interest not much; I already knew the sort of guy, the typical would-be genius who hopes you'll see in him the brilliant man he himself affects not to see. He then asked me if I had ever wondered why Nietzsche ever grew a mustache on his face. I smiled and declared myself too ignorant to solve such lofty matters. But surely he knew the answer?
Well, one could never say, but he had studied something about Nietzsche's jaws... I drew forth a puff of admiration. The pedantic ape! In short, he believed that Nietzsche's incisors were hypertrophied out of all proportion; he also suffered from canine protrusion and probably had his lips all twisted and covered with buboes and callosities. His mustache was only a curtain!
He looked at me full of expectation, his eyes wide open and sweat all over his face. I mumbled some words of approval and said something about having to finish some more work before lunch. He smiled savagely and said he understood. He made it towards the door. I couldn't stand it any more, and let escape a snort of laughter. He turned in rage and shrieked a crude word at me. I retorted in similar terms, and threw an asthray at him; it broke his left parietal bone.
I don't like those metaphysicians.