I sat down this morning to have a rant about swine flu...we have had a parade of patients all coming through the doors,all saying..."Oh yes,I did see on the TV that we were supposed to stay at home ...but I just wanted to be checked anyway!"
And then I read Bongi's posting and fell about laughing...partly because its very funny...and partly because a colleague complained about me passing flatus in the Rest Room yesterday.In my defense,I do have diverticulitis...it was a Thai green pork curry...I thought I was alone...and actually...I don't really care anyway.
But the different cultural requirements, can indeed befuddle and confuse even the most open-minded South African.
I did an advanced 'maternal and child health' placement in a Canadian hospital last year which had a zero-scent policy...as do most Canadian hospitals apparently.So...you may not wear cologne (or perfume) to work.Neither may you use scented shampoo or soap or even fabric softener...
Now Canadians do in fact sweat,contrary to what they think...they also consume as much junk food as their American neighbours...
And so...on my first morning in the Labour Ward,my olfactory senses were almost overcome by the combined sweaty smell of the staff and the patients...imagine if you will that you are performing an autopsy...on a very large man...who consumed 27 bratwurst and 56 over-ripe Camembert before he died...and then he fell into the Garlic River for a week...
Fortunately,as an old hand,I always have a jar of Vicks vapour-rub to hand.
And the response of the (no doubt) smug and self-satisfied European to Bongi's burp made me think that I should post my all-time smart-arse guide to apologising to foreigners,for those of you who are better educated and better behaved than I am.
What to say if you offend :-
- a German:- "I'm sorry...now perhaps you could apologise for WW I and WW II as well....oh...and don't forget the Holocaust...BTW...I do speak fluent German if that helps...'Hello,I'm an Allied officer....this is the third time we have beaten you....give us your women' ".
- an Italian:-"I'm sorry...now perhaps you could apologise for WW II...BTW...I am an Allied officer and you can surrender to me".
- a Frenchman:- "I'm sorry...now perhaps you can apologise for surrendering during WW II...oh...and for needing our help in WW I as well" .
- an American:- Actually...since VietNam and Watergate and Monica Lewinsky and Gulf war 2...it would be just too post-ironic to apologise.
- a Canadian;- They are to polite to complain although you may find them sitting in the corner saying "Eh" to each other.
- a Belgian:- Well...since they appear to have only contributed the homo-erotic adventures of Tintin;organised paedophilia and flavoured beer to the world,you actually never ever have to apologise
- an Australian:- Don't worry...they'll just burp right back at you.
- a Kiwi:-"I'm sorry...I'll try and speak slower.
- the Rest of Europe:-Really...who cares?
- the British:- "I'm sorry...now please just hold still whilst I finish stitching you/paying out your dole money/representing you in court....and on and on"
All complaints to the usual place...
Image as usual from http://www.jupiterimages.com/