Commonplace Thoughts of a Residual Welshman: You Kiddin’ Me?

In Philadelphia and the area around that great city, where I grew up, if you want to express that you are flummoxed, you simply pose the question, “You kiddin(g) me?” The Philly accent is an essential ingredient for the question to reach the full bloom of efficacy.

This is the very question one might be compelled to ask when reading about Barcelona soccer legend Ronaldino, who is reportedly marrying two women at once in Brazil, where, though polygamy is illegal, it would seem that in 2012 a three-way civil union was approved, and thus, if the marriage was not a religious act but merely a secular act, it may actually be legal. You kiddin’ me?

I mention the possibility of Ronaldino’s three-way marriage in part because just two weeks ago I wrote about the changing face of marriage and then, within a few days of having written that, Ronaldino proposed (apparently twice). Did he get down on two knees to do so?

You kiddin’ me, right? But wait, there’s more. When asked about what floor he wanted to get off on, a man on an elevator made a “joke” by stating “Ladies’ lingerie.” I will admit that that is not a funny joke, but it is not funny I submit, not because it is politically incorrect—I know lots of politically incorrect jokes that are funny, and in fact maybe even most of the jokes I know are at least a little bit politically incorrect—but rather it’s not funny because elevators don’t stop at floors with titles like “Ladies Lingerie”. They stop at numbered floors or, in the most interesting cases, “mezzanines” or “lounges.” So he could have said, “I’d like to stop at the Sky Deck Lounge—it’s Lady’s Night!” and although I am not sure that such a statement would have improved the joke at all, at least it would have made some sense for an elevator stop. But, no, Mr. Richard Ned Lebow, who had no doubt been better known for having a truncated middle name than for being politically incorrect, obviously didn’t think about how elevators don’t stop in shopping districts (though perhaps escalators do) and thus he should adjust his impromptu joke. He just said it.

And the proper response from one Simona Sharoni, who happened to be along for the ride in that elevator coach, should have been, “You kiddin’ me?” and she should have thought to herself that she was more offended by the incoherence of the joke than the remote possibility that the mention of women’s lingerie in an elevator could offend anyone. But she did not, and she filed a complaint with the International Studies Association, for both were attending the annual conference of that organization.

But instead of Ms. Sharoni, who is a professor at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, simply formulating the correct Philly response, she—obviously not from Philadelphia—decided that the best course of action was to “Report It!” which is now a slogan on many college campuses. Perhaps she has simply bought into that mentality, and let me say, that it is absolutely the right thing to report some things, like professors who proposition (or worse) their students, students who stalk other students (or anybody, for that matter), and illegal activities in general. I’m not against reporting things. But, you kiddin’ me? Reporting a bad joke? What, you kiddin’ me?

But that is not the piece de resistance of this blog. Rather, it is a turn of events that occurred in Kunming City, China, where a family got a “dog” from the side of the road and brought it home to rescue and adopt it. The dog turned out to be a bear, and not just any bear, but a very rare, endangered species of bear (wild Asian Black Bear).

Dog or Bear?

“It gets bigger in time,” the adoptive father said. They tried to give the bear to a zoo, but the zoo keeper apparently required a birth certificate. Eventually they worked it out and now they won’t receive the full “punishment” for rescuing the bear. You kiddin’ me? I say that on two counts: The dog turns out to be a bear?! They get punished for rescuing the bear? You kiddin’ me? What could be weirder than that? A three way marriage? Ladies lingerie in an elevator?

You kiddin’ me?

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