Pity the poor translator

One doesn’t work in the translation industry for decades without having some strong feelings about seeing bad translations.

Once when I was in an oriental market, I picked up a packet of dried squid for snacking on.

I already know what you’re thinking. Shut up. 

I think it’s a product of Taiwan, but I’m not sure, because it looks like it’s destined for both the US and Japan.

On the package, it says (spelling errors are transcribed as found):

“This product is under strict ouality control with perfect packing and quality when leaving the factory. Please keep away from damp, high temp or sun expose. If found any defectives when purchasing please retrn the product by airmail to our Administration section and inform the purchase for our improvement we shall give you a satisfactory reply. Thanks for your Patronage and welcome your comments.”

If “ouality” is such a priority, why don’t such asian exporters ever run their documentation or packaging under the eyes of a native English speaker? I could think of a number of reasons:

  1. They’re cheap
  2. Their own estimation of their English ability exceeds actuality
  3. They know the product will sell just as well even with lousy translations
  4. They don’t give a rat’s ass
  5. All of the above

Me, I’d be embarrassed to sell a product in a foreign market with errors like this – but it’s a problem of long, long standing. Translation is often given short shrift in business plans. Too many managers think, “Oh, my secretary Miss Yin speaks English, she can do the translation and I’ll save money.” With the concept of “face” so prominent in Asian cultures, it surprises me that they don’t understand this sort of cost-cutting makes their enterprise look bad. On the other hand, perhaps the average American consumer doesn’t care either.

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere when writing about translation, but I wish I had kept a copy of an ad that appeared on our bulletin board in the early 80’s when I was working for a now-defunct translation software firm. It showed a manager reaming out some poor drone, and the caption was “Because you let your brother-in-law do the translation, our ad says that our new camera exposes itself automatically!

People in the translation industry are certainly aware of the problem, and resolving it would certainly create a lot of work for a lot of people… but would also deduct from the bottom line of the manufacturers, and that has always seemed to be the driving factor.

Automation has affected a lot of industries for good and for ill. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, many trades have been relatively untouched except for better tools and a proliferation of codes and regulations. But thanks to CAT tools* and the Internet, the translation industry has been radically transformed from a field where educated professionals could seek out high-quality clients and agencies vied to find high-quality translators into an absolute circus where millions of people in third-world countries offer abysmal services for 3¢ per word and agencies expect the lifelong journeymen and journeywomen to meet these kinds of prices (with concomitant reductions for repeated text, of course.)

The professional translators who have been willing to buy the tools and deal with the agencies to stay in their field have my undying respect; I got out of the circus years ago as a way to make a living.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


*Computer-Assisted Translation tools. This is the only CAT tool I still have:

20161209 Sensei Helping.jpg

And, frankly, he’s not much help in the work arena, but he does a world of good for my heart.

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HOLLYWOOD DICTIONARY

VERBS

  • To schmooze    ‑ befriend scum
  • To pitch       ‑ grovel shamelessly
  • To brainstorm  ‑ feign preparedness
  • To research    ‑ procrastinate indefinitely
  • To freelance   ‑ collect unemployment

NOUNS

  • Agent          ‑ frustrated lawyer
  • Producer       ‑ frustrated writer
  • Writer         ‑ frustrated director
  • Director       ‑ frustrated actor
  • Actor          ‑ frustrated human

COMPOUND WORDS

  • High concept             ‑ low brow
  • Entry level              ‑ pays nothing
  • Network approved         ‑ has made them money before

FINANCIAL TERMS

  • Net            ‑ something that apparently doesn’t exist*
  • Gross          ‑ Michael Eisner’s salary
  • Back End       ‑ you, if you think you’ll ever see any
  • Deferral       ‑ don’t hold your breath
  • Points         ‑ see  “Net” or “Back End”

COMMON PHRASES

  • You can trust me              ‑ You must be new
  • It needs some polishing       ‑ Change everything
  • It shows promise              ‑ It sucks
  • I’d like some input           ‑ I want total control
  • Call me back next week        ‑ Stay out of my life
  • Try and punch it up           ‑ I have no idea what I want

Notes:

* Sir Alec Guinness, despite his lack of love for the cheesy dialog in Star Wars Episode 4, made out like a bandit as his agent negotiated a deal for 2.25% of receipts. (There are stories that he was promised 2.5%, but didn’t quibble over it when the offer was confirmed in writing.) It’s estimated that his and his estate’s take over time was between 50 and 75 million.

A good article about why there is never a “net” profit can be found at TechDirt. If you’re an actor/actress and you’re offered part of the net, negotiate for a ham sandwich instead. At least you’ll get something.

Final Exam for Know-it-Alls

This has been around for a long time, but I thought I’d put it here so I don’t forget where to find it.

If you think you know everything, this is the final exam for you.


 

FINAL EXAM

Name: _________________________________         Date: ______________

Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all questions.  TimeLimit: 4 hours.

HISTORY

Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific.

MEDICINE

You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have 15 minutes.

PUBLIC SPEAKING

Twenty five hundred riot crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

BIOLOGY

Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.
MUSICWrite a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.

PSYCHOLOGY

Based on your degree of knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Rameses II, Gregory of Nicea, Hammurabi. Support your evaluations with quotations from each man’s work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.

SOCIOLOGY

Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

MANAGEMENT SCIENCE

Define management. Define science. How do they relate? Why? Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming an 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals, each terminal to activate your algorithm; design the communications interface and all necessary control programs.

ENGINEERING

The disassembled parts of a high powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili.  In ten minutes a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel is appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.

ECONOMICS

Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist controversy, the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view. Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.

POLITICAL SCIENCE

There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its socio political effects, if any.

EPISTEMOLOGY

Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position.

PHYSICS

Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.

PHILOSOPHY

Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE

Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.

*** EXTRA CREDIT ***

Define the universe; give three examples.

Just change one letter…

Following were the winners of a New  York magazine contest in which contestants were to take a well‑known  expression in a foreign language, change a single letter, and provide a  definition for the new expression.

HARLEZ‑VOUS  FRANCAIS
Can you drive a French motorcycle?

EX POST FUCTO
Lost in the mail.

IDIOS AMIGOS
We’re wild and crazy  guys!

VENI, VIPI, VICI
I came,  I’m a very important person, I conquered.

COGITO  EGGO SUM
I think; therefore I waffle.

RIGOR MORRIS
The cat is dead.

RESPONDEZ S’IL VOUS PLAID
Honk if  you’re Scottish.

QUE SERA SERF
Life is feudal.

LE ROI EST MORT. JIVE LE  ROI
The king is dead. No kidding.

POSH MORTEM
Death styles of the rich  and famous.

PRO BOZO PUBLICO
Support your local clown (or politician, your call)

MONAGE A TROIS
I am three years old.

FELIX NAVIDAD
Our cat has a  boat.

HASTE CUISINE
Fast French  food.

VENI, VIDI, VICE
I came,  I saw, I partied.

QUIP PRO QUOA
Fast retort.

ALOHA OY
Love;  greetings; farewell; from such a pain you would never know.

MAZEL TON
Tons of luck

VISA LA FRANCE
Don’t leave your chateau  without it.

AMICUS PURIAE
Platonic friend.

L’ETAT, C’EST  MOO
I’m bossy around here.

 

ZITGEIST
The  clearasil doesn’t quite cover it up.

E PLURIBUS  ANUM
Out of any group, there’s always one asshole.

NOMO ARIGATO
No thanks to you.

VIVE LE DUFFERENCE
Long live  golfing.

Note: The next two violate the “one letter” rule, but they’re here anyway.

COGITO, ERGO SPUD
I think, therefore I Yam.

VENI, VIDI, VELCRO
I came, I saw, I  stuck around.

About those Confederate monuments…

There are basically two schools of thought floating around the public’s consciousness about confederate monuments right now, especially in light of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  1. These are monuments to slavery, hatred, bigotry and the losing side of a war. They should be destroyed, or at the very least put in museums.
  2. You’re rewriting/destroying history. They should be left in place.

Now let me tell you a story:

In 1968 and 1969, I spent a year at Gettysburg College.

Old Dorm

Pennsylvania Hall, also known as Old Dorm, was built in 1837 and was used as a signal station and field hospital by both Union and Confederate forces. It was gutted and restored the year I was there, and underwent additional restoration in subsequent years. The entire campus is steeped in the history of the Civil War.

Decades later I returned to visit the campus, and had more time and more mobility to visit the historical sites, museums, and the battlefields.

20090518 - Michael Contemplates Gettysburg

In May of 2009, my son contemplates a battlefield.

The silence that hangs over those fields, where about 8,000 people lost their lives and over 57,000 were listed as casualties, is haunting. In Lincoln’s words, “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” Standing on that quiet land, listening, one can almost hear the tumult and terrors of war – and it’s important to note that Lincoln did not single out either Union or Confederate soldiers in his appellation “brave men.” Those who fought and died, regardless of how just their cause or how willingly or not they served, deserve to be remembered. They belong to the annals of our nation.

The word nigger appears 219 times in Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, but it was a product of its times and remains a classic piece of literature – an ode to the evils of slavery – just as it stands. I’ve seen “sanitized” versions of the work, which has long been one of my favorites, and they just feel wrong.

When I visited Albania numerous times in the early 90s, shortly after the fall of Communism, I found a land in which almost every reference to Enver Hoxha had been purged, except for the national museum in Tiranë. And I understood that national sentiment as well. After 41 years of brutal repression, very few Albanians had any desire to “remember” that part of their history, that they had so recently been relieved of.

In our case, the civil war is now 150 years behind us, but the history of slavery in the USA was almost 100 years longer than that, beginning on 31 August 1620, when John Rolfe recorded that “there came in a Dutch man-of-war that sold us twenty negars.” And the ripples and ramifications of slavery extended well into my lifetime; although I personally never saw scenes like this one, I was 14 the year of the Selma to Montgomery marches, 15 when Bobby Seale and Huey Newton founded the Black Panthers, and am watching the social media storm swirling around the Black Lives Matter today. If black lives really mattered, there would be no need for such a movement.

The record shows that most Confederate monuments were put up during the eras of Jim Crow segregation and the civil rights movement. They were put up, many with financial support from  The United Daughters of the Confederacy, to influence the narrative of the Civil War; the message was that the Civil War was not an issue of slavery but rather an issue of states rights.

On one hand, historical revisionism is a slippery slope. Humans are imperfect, and there will always be unpleasant truths in our past that must be acknowledged and remembered if we are not to repeat them. On the other hand, while my experience has been one of white privilege I can at least begin to imagine the gut feelings of those who have been impacted by the legacy of slavery at viewing – or even thinking of the existence of – monuments to people who fought, killed, and died to keep their people in bondage.

There are no monuments in Germany venerating Hitler or Göbbels or Eichmann. According to Joshua Zeitz, writing for Politico,

“The generation of Germans that came of age in the 1970s and 1980s confronted the country’s Nazi past and forcefully repudiated it. It took several decades of hard self-reflection, but a reunified Germany emerged from the Cold War as one of the great mainstays of democracy and human rights.”

Even though America stood for freedom and self-determination during the many wars of the last century, at home our own legacy of keeping a large part of our own population in miserable servitude for centuries remains not only unrepudiated but continues to be celebrated under the guise of another kind of historical revisionism.

It’s not enough to remove bronze and stone monuments to human wretchedness and cruelty; the underlying attitudes of the antebellum South and the Civil War remain enshrined in the hearts of too many people and too many textbooks. But it’s a step that we owe to the descendants of those who sweated under the loads and suffered under the lash and who have endured second-class status since their forefathers were emancipated, a step that must be taken if we are to eradicate those attitudes.

And what of private Buford Liles who marched off to war believing that the cause of the South was just and who never came home to wife and children, and all the privates and sergeants and fighting men like him who laid down their lives? A nation that has turned its back on the inhuman excesses of the past and that strives to build a society that works for everyone, with no one left out, can honor the bravery of these men and women, and all the victims of that wretched conflict, in memory without celebrating the flawed cause that moved them.

A contemplative visit to a peaceful battlefield would suffice.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

“My hat, it has three corners…”

I learned this song as a child, as many of us probably did at camp or elsewhere.

My hat, it has three corners,
Three corners has my hat.
And had it not three corners,
It would not be my hat!

Or, in German:

Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken,
Drei Ecken hat mein Hut,
Und hätt er nicht drei Ecken,
So wär es nicht mein Hut.

It’s sung to an old Italian folk tune, “The Carnival of Venice“:

Only recently, thanks to a Facebook post by a respected friend and colleague, did I learn that the tune has a lot more attached to it than one simple verse.

The starkly minimalist play by Samuel Beckett, “En Attendant Godot” (Waiting for Godot) contains the following song in French, which is endlessly iterative:

Un chien vint dans l’office
Et prit une andouillette;
Alors à coups de louche
Le chef le mit en miettes.

Les autres chiens en ce voyant
Vite vite l’ensevelirent
Au pied d’une croix en bois blanc
Où le passant pouvait lire:

Un chien vint dans l’office…

A dog went into the kitchen
And stole a piece of bread;
The cook came out with a ladle
And beat him till he was dead.

Then all the dogs came running
And dug the dog a tomb,
And wrote upon the tombstone
For the eyes of dogs to come:

A dog went into the kitchen… (repeat forever)

There are other translations of this song as well; some claim that the German version is the original, which Beckett appropriated for his play:

Ein Mops kam in die Küche
Und stahl dem Koch ein Ei.
Da nahm der Koch den Löffel
Und schlug den Mops entzwei.

So kamen alle Möpse
Und gruben ihm ein Grab
Und setzten einen Grabstein,
Auf dem geschrieben stand:

Ein Mops kam in die Küche…

(Like most folk songs, there are numerous versions with slightly varying words; there is a bawdy German song, non-iterative, that begins “Ich bin ein junges Weibchen” that uses the same melody as well.)

And here’s the Hebrew version:

אל המטבח בא כלב
ועצם שם חטף
אז הטבח חבט בו
הרג אותו עם כף

כל הכלבים אז באו
וקבר לו חפרו
ומצבה הקימו
עליה הם כתבו:

אל המטבח בא כלב…

El hamitbach ba kelev
Ve-etzem sham chataf
Az hatabach chavat bo
Harag oto im kaf.

Kol haklavim az ba’u
Vekever lo chafru
Umatzeva hekimu
Aleiha hem katvu.

El hamitbach ba kelev…

It is interesting to note that all of these versions can be sung to the same tune, although it is not always used in every interpretation of “Godot.”

The concept of the eternally iterating song poked my memory, and I recalled that when I was a young child, my mother and I would end up rolling in laughter after doing this one for what seemed like hours:

Twas a dark and stormy night!
Three robbers sat in a cave!
“Tell us a story!” said one,
And this is how it begun:

‘Twas a dark and stormy night…

Mother was an actress, and a good one – so every iteration took on a different character when it was her turn.

Finally, there’s this gem written by writer/composer Norman Martin in 1988:

Be grateful. Be grateful, I say, that I didn’t choose to post the 10-hour version!

Many thanks to my colleagues in the translation community for the various versions (whom I shall not name unless they tell me they wish to be identified!)

The Old Wolf has spoken.

150 quotes overheard in LA

Here’s the scoop on LA, in 150 amusing overheard quotes. I found this at Bored Panda, which they lifted from the Instagram account Overheard LA, where you can see more of these.

As usual it’s broken up into 15 pages so they can serve up an obscene amount of ads, and everything is in image files. So here it is in plain text:


Guy staring at ambulance in front of Whole Foods;
“Somebody must have accidentally ate gluten.”

Customer: “You close at 6:30, right?”
Barista: “Yes, but we close emotionally at 6.”

“He’s 31, but like North Carolina-31, like, 2 kids and a mortgage. 31-year-old dudes in Los Angeles are just learning how to cook a **** chicken.”

Bouncer: “Sorry. I need to see an ID.”
Girl: “I told you… I’m 30. Why would anyone lie about that?”

“I think I want her back, dude.”
“Did she get a haircut when you broke up?”
“Yeah.”
“You’re out of luck. She doesn’t want you back.”

“What’s wrong, why are you so quiet?”
“Nothing, I’m fine. I’m just saving my personality for when everyone else gets here.”

(Reminded me of this gem from Dave Berg, click it for a larger version:)
Dave Berg Georgie

“And then he texted me as soon as he got Wi-Fin in Mexico.”
“That’s all I want… To be someone’s first thought once they get Wi-Fi.”

“I want to go on a trip with you at some point.”
“Like acid or travel?”

“Every psycho I’ve ever dated was a Leo.”
“Every psycho I’ve ever dated believed in Astrology.”

“Excuse me, can I read your palms? You just have beautiful energy and I could feel it from across the parking lot.”
“That’s my anxiety disorder.”

“Honestly, why are the older generations so judgmental, they were Millennials once too.”
“No… no that’s not how that word works.”

“My mom won’t let me go to your house anymore because your parents watch Fox News.
(Little Boy to Friend)

Cashier:  “How are you today?”
Customer: “Ok.”
Cashier: “Life isn’t supposed to be lived ‘just ok’.”
Customer: “Look, I just came here for some coconut water, not a **** life coach.”

Babysitter: “What city do you live in?”
7-Year-Old: “Santa Monica!”
Babysitter: “Good job! Do you know which state you live in?”
7-Year-Old: “Confusion.”

“I’m dating a guy that’s 6’7″.”
“Is he hot?”
“He’s 6’7″. It doesn’t matter. I don’t even think I’ve seen his face yet.”

Customer: “My name is Bri.”
Cashier: “Brie, like the cheese? Nice to meet you. I’m Mason, like the jar.”

Woman: “I need to buy new pants because the other ones are too big now.”
9-Year-Old: “You don’t need new pants, just more cake till the old ones fit again.”

Cashier: “And how is your day going today, sir?”
Guy: “I’m sorry, this is like my 87th interaction today and I just don’t have it in me.”

“Oh my gosh, sorry, traffic was so bad.”
(5-Year-Old running into ballet class late.)

“How did you get 105% on your final?”
“Oh, my teacher gives us extra credit if we follow her on instagram.”

(Note: “extra credit” reminds me of the story about the OB/GYN who got tired of the rat race and decided to change careers, so he went to auto mechanic school. The final exam involved taking an engine apart and putting it back together again. After the end of the course he received his grades in the mail and was surprised to find out that he had been awarded 250 points out of a possible 200. Not displeased but curious, he called his professor and asked why he had given such a high grade. The instructor responded, “Well, I gave you 100 points for taking the engine apart correctly and 100 points for putting it back together correctly, but I had to give you an extra 50 points for doing it all through the tailpipe!”)

“I mean, she just seems like such a good person to date; she’s not an alcoholic, she’s bnot severely mentally ill, she has a cool dog…”

“What’s the first thing you look for in a girl?”
“Less than 900 followers on Instagram.”

Male Flight Attendant: “Does anyone have a Galaxy Note 7? Bueller? OK good, because the only thing flaming on this plane is going to be me.”

“Sometimes I think I want to have a baby and then I just think I am not even responsible enough for white jeans.”

Nurse: “What is your occupation?”
ER Patient: “I’m an actor, dancer, model, and stylist but right now I work at Chipotle.”

“I wanted to do something cultural, so I took him to the Getty and he actually touched a **** painting. He was like, ‘Is this real?‘ Alarms went off, security came to us, I was so embarrassed. He’s from Florida, so it was his first time at a museum.

“Can we break up somewhere else? This is my favorite Whole Foods.”

“Of Course LA is a tough place to live. It’s a city full of people who were too good for their own hometowns.”

“We had to fire the nanny… my husband found her on an escort site.”
“Why was he looking up escorts?”

“Dating in LA is mostly just explaining your tattoo meanings and food allergies to each other like ‘Hi, I’m gluten intolerant and this is the Japanese word for abundance…’ And that happens on a loop until we all decide to just move back in with our parents.”

Babysitter: “What do you dream about at night?”
7-Year-Old: “I don’t dream, I only have nightmares about this economy.”

“I buy myself an extravagant five every month when I get my period to remind myself what I’d be giving up if I ever got pregnant.”

Cashier: “sign?”
Customer: “Sagittarius.”
Cashier: “I meant I need your signature.”

“First it’s pilot season that award season, now it’s festival season. I feel like LA just creates special seasons to make up for the fact that we don’t have actual seasons.”

“Everyone is getting engaged.”
“Whatever, yesterday the guy at my bakery gave me a free chocolate croissants and it felt like an engagement.”

“Don’t waste your peers on that boy. LA is a desert, you need to stay hydrated.”

“How’s dating going?”
“I’m researching personality disorders. I wanna see how many I can catch and identify, like Pokémon Go but with human men.”

German Friend: “I’m going to Idaho for the holiday.”
American Friend: “Idaho? What is that?”
German Friend: “The state. I-d-a-h-o.”
American Friend: “I’ve literally never heard of it.”

“Why to stop following me?”
“Because your posts annoy the **** out of me. It’s like, we get it, you had a kid.”

“I need to start saving people’s numbers. I accidentally had lunch with the wrong person the other day.”

Dad: “Are the shirts bisexual?”
Salesperson: “You mean unisex?”

“God I love protesting. Expressing myself and getting my 10,000 steps. It’s a win-win.”

Girl: “Gluten-free please.”
Cashier: “Are you allergic?”
Girl: “No, I’m just an asshole.”

“He’s hot, you should speak to him.”
“No, my future boyfriend should still be at work at this time.”

Girl to Friend: “even in a turtleneck should look slutty.”
Stranger: “At least she ain’t got an ugly heart like you.”

“Pretty sure were never getting back together.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Her dog blocked me on Instagram.”

Teenager: “Hold on. I have to Insta that.”
Father: “Yes dear… Continue howling into the void.”

“You’re late. You said you were going to be here in five minutes.”
“That’s an expression, not an actual measurement of time.”

“Every new friend I make is another person who might ask me to drive them to the airport in the future. And I don’t need that.”

Woman: “Excuse me, how long is this march going to go on for?”
Police Officer: “About four more years, Lady.”

“You need to start saying ‘yes’ to things.”
“I did that for a year and I ended up in Miami sleeping on a blowup mattress in a man’s kitchen.”

“I can’t believe my phone doesn’t autocorrect rose to rosé. I feel like it doesn’t even know me.”

“Your son is adorable, how old is he?”
“Oh no, we don’t do age… We are all infinite beings walking on this Earth.”

“My therapist told me I have to read a book called ‘Codependent No More.’ Will you go with me to buy it at the bookstore?”

“I had one line.”
“Wait we talking about coke or acting?”

“You know how I’m getting my period? Getting acne on my face and when I was watching the Tour de France this morning I had to fight the urge to cry at the people running beside the bikers motivating them.”

Judge: “State your profession.”
Potential Juror: “Spiritual advisor. And to clarify, I already know too much about the case to serve as an impartial juror because I’m a clairvoyant.”

Girl to Stranger in tight parking space: “my God how did you park in that spot? That’s amazing! What’s your birthday?”
“Uh, September 22nd.”
“Libra! Yes! Make sense.”

“I took like a five hour nap today.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s just called sleeping.”

“Sorry, I’m late. There was so much traffic… Also, I left the time we were supposed to meet.”

Girl: “Aren’t you gonna take a picture of our food?”
Guy: “I don’t do that anymore.”
Girl: “I’m so proud of you babe.”

Son: “I’m going to go to the pier, get a guitar, take my shirt off and play for people.”
Dad: “yeah, don’t be that guy.”

“Like, it used to be people wouldn’t approach you in bars. Now they won’t even approach you online. The entire species of humans will only be continued by high school sweethearts in the Midwest.”

Customer: “remember that used to be a medium popcorn size?”
Arclight Employee: “just like there used to be a middle class.”

Yoga Teacher coughing: “Sorry to disrupt our meditation but I have a Chia seed stuck in my throat.”

Drunk Woman: “What meat alternatives do you have?”
Cashier: “Ma’am, this is McDonald’s.”

“Oh my God he’s Facetiming me. What do I do?!”
“ANSWER IT.”
“I CANT. He hasn’t seen me without a Snapchat filter yet…”

Guy at the LA Pride March:
“If Hillary was president we would be at brunch.”

“You moan more eating this ice cream than you do when we have sex.”
(Guy to Girlfriend)

“He needs to readjust his priorities. He takes two days to respond but two seconds to come.”

Girl to Homeless Guy:
“Hey, can I run into McDonald’s and get you a burger?”
“Um… I’m actually a vegetarian, just get me some large fries, an iced tea and an apple pie instead.”

“I’m over all this hippie health ****.  If I order a sweet crêpe, I want a sweet crêpe. Show me chocolate. Don’t give me apples and tell me it’s dessert. I know **** apples.”

Camp Counselor:
“When it’s your turn, stand and say your name. No Instagram names, human names.”

McDonald’s Clerk: “Here’s your card and here’s your receipt.”
Woman: “Oh, you keep the receipt, I don’t want to remember this tomorrow.”

“She’s 23 and he’s 49. He refuses to eat out with her on Father’s Day because the waiters always think he’s her dad.”

“Yeah he’s definitely rich.”
“How do you know?”
“He had Fiji water in his fridge.”

“He parallel-parked his car on the first try like it was no big deal. He doesn’t even have a rearview camera… That really turns me on.”

“I mean he drove me to LAX on a Friday night… So yeah, I’d say things are serious.”

“True friendship is knowing that your friends would pick you up from LAX, but you care about them too much to ask that ride.”

“Please tell me you didn’t forget to bring the Xanax.”
“Baby, I’d forget to bring YOU before I forgot the Xanax.”

TSA Agent: “Ma’am are you carrying on any medications?”
Older Woman: “How else do you expect me to fly commercial?”

“I used to be considered a catch; a middle-class American male with a good job… But LA girls only date actors, musicians, rich douchebags and **** Australians.”

“We’ve had so much break-up sex that were back together now.”

Quote LA isn’t meant to be lived in, it’s a giant amusement park; you just stay as long as you can before you have to go home.”

“LA isn’t meant to be lived in, it’s a giant amusement park; you just stay as long as you can before you have to go home.”

“I can’t date him his name is too weird.”
“What you mean? His name is Carl.”
“No, his dad is Carl. He’s Carl Jr.”

Lead Singer: “Anyone from the South?”
*Girl in audience cheers loudly
Lead Singer: “where you from?”
Girl: “San Diego.”

“I’ve decided that I want a wedding, just not a marriage.”

“Aw he is so cute! Can I pet him?”
“Please don’t assume her gender pronoun. Cashew’s very sensitive to ignorance.”

“Why wouldn’t we meeting at a vegan restaurant for dinner? Is she vegan?”
“No, she just likes unnecessarily expensive things.”

“Dating in LA is like shopping at IKEA. You go, find something pretty, put it together and hope it doesn’t fall apart.”

Lawyer: “What gear were you in at the moment of impact?”
Witness: “Lululemon leggings and Nikes.”

Customer: “Can I speak to a manager?”
Employee: “Emotionally, he’s not available right now. Is this something I can resolve?”

“How my gonna pick up chicks? I’m a Taurus. Everyone wants the sexual Scorpio or the mysterious Gemini. What am I gonna say… ‘Hi, I’m a Taurus. Stubborn, materialistic, and possessive?'”

“He drove me home and parked in front of the Permit Only sign, then looked at me and said ‘You’re worth the parking ticket.'”

“I think I’ve been in LA too long; I ordered a $5.75 latte and thought, ‘Wow that is really cheap.”

“iPhone 7? No case?”
“I want that kind of wealth.”

“My ex connected with me on LinkedIn. I endorsed him for ‘being a cokehead.’ ”

“You’re watching Harry Potter on the second date? Don’t you think that’s moving a bit too fast?”

“The first time I did acid, I unfollowed all the Jenners and Kardashians on Instagram.”

“I think I’m done with my ‘How hot and fit can I be and how many people can I seduce’ phase. I wanna, like, read books and know albums by name and be funny and ****.”
“I mean, yeah.”

Mom: “How was your day today?”
Five-year-old: “I don’t ask you about your business so why would you ask me about mine?”

“Do you wanna come with us to happy hour after work?”
“Honestly, those people aren’t worth the calories.”

“Can you give it to me the way my daughter gets it?! Doggy Style?”
(Mother at In-N-Out trying to order Animal Style burger.)

“Where are you staying for Coachella? Are you camping?”
“Ew no. I’m staying at a suite at the Marriott, but I won’t wash my hair that way I look like I’m camping.”

“How do I get his attention?”
“Text him ‘I had a dream about you last night’ and then follow up with ‘whoops, wrong person!’ ”

“Were not dragging anyone off.”
(Delta agent. LAX gate 54.)

“I slept with this really horrible hipster, I think it was just because he was tall. No one in LA is tall. It’s all small men with big dreams, you know what I mean??”

“Want to go to Starbucks?”
“No, I’m getting my coffee at McDonald’s this week to help save money for all the Coachella drugs act by on Friday.”

“I compliment her dress and she brags how she got it at a flea market for $9. She has to tell me this every time like she’s some **** archaeologist.”

“It’s just annoying because I’m so LA and I don’t give a **** about anybody, and he’s from Atlanta so he has that Southern hospitality and just wants to help everyone.”

“Does he have money?”
“Well, he always gets guac on his Chipotle, and never fails to order a large popcorn at Arclight. So I guess you could say he’s pretty well-off.”

“What brought you LA?”
“I came here to work on my Instagram.”

Girl: “I think I want to be a Lululemon housewife.”
Guy: “I spent my Saturday morning marching for you.”

“You passed out on Friday and came back Sunday… You’re basically the Jesus of Coachella.”

Woman to Starbucks Barista: “I’m not sure what to get, what would you recommend?”
Woman in line behind her: “are you **** serious?”

“So my doctor said no more Xanax, just an adult coloring book.”

Woman: “Is that lettuce fresh? It doesn’t look fresh. A few there on the top look off.”
Kid behind woman: “Yo, this is **** Chipotle.”

Woman to Apple genius: “My read receipts won’t turn off. I’m trying to play games with men and I don’t want them to see where I read their texts.”

“Welcome to LA, where everyone dates themselves.”

“Dried mango is the beef jerky of Los Angeles.”

“I love LA but I feel like I’ve just walked into an Instagram feed.”

TSA: “What do you need help with, sir?”
Surfer Dude: “I didn’t bring my passport.”
TSA: “Where you going?”
Surfer Dude: “Hawaii.”

“I have the opposite of FOMO. I literally look at his photos to remind myself how grateful I am we’re not together.”

“Ugh space my least favorite weather is wind.”

“Hey do you have cigarette?”
“Haha no, sorry. You’re in Brentwood not Chicago.”

Student: “What major would I love?”
Counselor: ” ‘Do what you love’ is great advice for making 30K a year.”

Pilot over loudspeaker: “So bit about myself… First of all, I’m a Libra.”

Woman pleading to TSA agent throwing out her frozen juices: “Do you have any idea how much a juice cleanse costs!?… Also, I can’t get this in Wisconsin.”

“I’m always late because I have to have an UberBlack pick me up from where my UberPool drops me off so that when I arrive I look important.”

“I’m NEVER buying anything from REVOLVE again!”
“How come?”
“Because I’m basically paying for those blogger bitches’ vacations!”

“Alcohol gives me the courage to be the person my vision board says I’m going to be.”

“In LA we wait for everything. Wait on the freeway, wait for men, waiting for our careers to happen.”

“I swear there’s a neighborhood in LA for every stage in your life. Like, when I’m ready to settle down, I’ll just move to Pasadena.”

*baby hysterically crying*
Random Woman: Is she a Taurus?”

“I didn’t appreciate middle school while I was in it. Being skinny for no reason and having a Bar Mitzvah to go to every weekend. Those were the days.”

“The East Coast takes Adderall like the West Coast takes xanax.”

“Roses die, tacos don’t.”

“In LA, weekends begin on Thursday.”

“It’s like hot yoga outside.”

“Should I get a French Bulldog or a Chanel purse? Because they pretty much cost the same.”

“The 110 is like the 10’s **** little brother.”
What about the 405?”
“The 405 is the 110 and 10’s drunk uncle you constantly avoid because you don’t know what he’s capable of.”

“OMG mom I’m totally fine, I’m only 34. When I’m ready to settle for being housewife I’ll drive down to Orange County and swipe for a day, but until then I know what I signed up for by dating in Los Angeles.”

Customer: Do you have any bars?”
Barista: “Uh … Like Xanax?”
Customer: “No, like granola bars.”

“The word ‘bougie’ comes from the word bourgeois.”
“But bourgeois means middle class?”
“Yeah, but the middle class was lit back then.”

Yoga Instructor:
“Release any rage you have built up like Rob did yesterday.”

Dad: “Is that a line for the soup kitchen? It’s a sad how many homeless people there are.”
Daughter: “That’s Supreme.”

“Stagecoach is like Coachella for Trump supporters.”

“Lorde was at brunch today?”
“Disick?”


Having lived in LA, some of these are funny to me – but it was a long time ago. I suspect the up and coming generation will resonate with more of them than I did.

The Old Wolf has spoken.