THAT MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD
Anecdotes about foreign countries
In this chapter a few anecdotes are featured in which Russians display their understanding (or misunderstanding) of the world beyond the boundaries of the USSR. Reading these jokes, a Western reader may make his own conclusions as to how authentic was the image of the outer world in the minds of the Soviet citizens.
Despite a very limited scope of the material presented in this chapter, and despite its being in the form of jokes, even this short excursion into the Russian mind may provide certain glimpse at how the Russians, or, more generally, the Soviet people viewed the West. I guess that the conclusions would comprise two opposite impressions. On the one hand, the creators of these jokes seem to display sometimes an astonishingly penetrating insight into the Western ways, as a rule much exceeding the understanding of Russia in the West, but on the other hand in certain ways these jokes also reveal some quite distorted notions about the life in the West.
Still, these are just jokes and they should be judged as such, without attributing to them too large a significance in regard to the Soviets' view of the outside world.
5.1 An old lord married a young innocent girl. After the wedding, the lord and his young bride went to bed.
Ten minutes passed without any action. Then ten more. After ten more minutes, the wife said, "Gentlemen, one of you will have to stand up."
5.2. A young British attorney came to his office all in bruises and scratches. "What happened to you?' a colleague asked.
"Oh, it's some bloody story. Yestereve, I came home from the club, and what I see in my dining room! There was that frog. Just a small female frog. I took a seat at the table, when she said in perfect English, 'If you're a gentleman, shouldn't you offer me a seat at your table?' Surprised as I was, being a gentleman, I did as she asked. I took a swig of brandy, and she said, 'No brandy for me?' Well, as a gentleman, I poured brandy for her, and the bloody frog drank it in one gulp. Then I had a slice of a pudding, and she said, 'What about me?' What would you do? Of course, as a gentleman, I shared the pudding with her. Then I undressed and went to bed. The bloody frog said, 'What about me?' So, I took her into the bed. As soon as she was in the bed, she at once transformed into a young lady, and completely naked to that! At that time my wife unexpectedly walked in. I told her all the story, but she wouldn't believe me!"
5.3 A Londoner went for vacation in the country. As he was walking on a rural road, he saw a horse tied to a pole. A sign on the pole said, 'For sale, best offer.'
As he passed the mare, the horse said in perfect English, "Sir, please help me. I am here for many hours, and I'm hungry and tired, but nobody wants to buy me. Please, buy me, I'll be faithful to you."
"Damn be, you speak English!" the man said.
"Oh, yes, Sir. I speak five languages, including Chinese and Arabic, not to mention French and Italian. A have a PhD degree from Oxford."
'Amazing!' the man said, and went his way. A few yards down the road, he saw a cottage and a man working in the front yard.
"'There's that amazing mare,' the Londoner said.
'Yes, it's my horse, and she's for sale.'
'And how much d'you want for it?'
'Before talking the price, let me ask you, did she say that she speaks Chinese and French, and that she has a PhD degree?'
'Yes, she did.'
'As an honest man, I have to warn you, it was lies!'
5.4 A man walked into a London pub and asked the bartender to make for him a beer with a slice of butter. The bartender complied. The customer took the mug, walked to the wall, climbed up the wall, then walked on the ceiling, drinking his beer, then moved to the opposite wall, and finally returned to the floor where he finished his drink. As the customer left the pub, the bartender said, 'Damn, there are all kinds of weird people. Never in my bloody life did anybody request a beer with butter!'
5.5 A cowboy was riding in a prairie. He ran into an Indian who was sitting at a fire and eating roasted meat. The cowboy dismounted and joined the Indian who pointed at the meat without a word. The cowboy took a big piece of meat and gnawed at it. When he satisfied his hunger, the cowboy decided to talk a little. He said, "You now, lately your Chief became nasty, I don't like him any more."
"If you don't like him, don't eat him."
5.6 Early in the morning, two Finns set out to a forest for firewood. On the way to the forest, one Finn said to the other, "There is a hare running."
Twelve hours later they returned from the forest. When they passed the same place, the other Finn said, "Yes, a hare."
5.7 Telephone rings in the mansion of Lord Glenarvan. The butler takes the call. 'Yes, Sir.'
'It's me, Parker. Please go to my wife's bedroom and tell her that I'll be late from the club.'
'Sorry, Milord, her ladyship is already asleep.'
"Then wake her and tell her, Parker, and I'll hold the phone."
The butler comes back and says, 'My Lord, her ladyship's door was locked, and when I knocked, your voice said 'Go to hell, Parker."'
'Bloody hell! Parker, pick a rifle from my collection and shoot the bastard at once.'
A few minutes later, the butler is back and reports, 'My Lord, I tried my best, but as I was about to shoot, the man jumped through the window into the garden and fled.'
'What garden? There's no garden next to my bloody house.'
'Then, Sir, I am afraid you dialed a wrong number, Sir.'
5.8 A group of Soviet tourists were shown a cemetery in an American town. They walked between two rows of graves reading the inscriptions on the gravestones. One read: "Under this stone is laid to rest John Gardner who lived one hundred one year because he always used only the sausage made by Great Cow Inc. of Minnesota." The tourists move further and read another inscription, "Here rests Sara O'Toole who lived one hundred ten years because she always drank only the milk supplied by The Sunset Dairy Industries of Maryland." They walk further and on one more gravestone they read, "Under this stone there is nobody because his father always used only the incomparable Sweet Love brand of condoms made by The Sweet Love Co. of California."
5.9 A Pole went to a bank in Warsaw to deposit 300 zloty. He seemed to hesitate, so the teller asked, "Why are you so nervous?"
"You see, what if this bank will go bankrupt?"
"Don't worry, your deposit is insured by the gold bullion of the state of Poland."
"But what if the state will go bankrupt?"
"Don't worry. Your money are guaranteed by the entire Socialist commonwealth of nations headed by the Soviet Union."
"But what if the Soviet Union will go bankrupt?"
"Wouldn't you be happy to donate 300 zloty for such an
5.10 Once a servant walked into Lord Hamilton's room and said, 'Sir, your wife is about to give birth. She has contacted an astrologer who predicted that in the event it's a boy, she will die. If it's a girl, the father will die. And in the event of twins, a servant will die.'
Lord Hamilton covered his knees with a plaid and said, 'Go back to her and help with the birth.'
After a while the servant returned and reported, 'It's a girl, My Lord.' And the servant dropped dead.
5.11 A Soviet scientist came to England with a visit. On the evening of his first day in England, he went to a restaurant. A waiter approached him and said, "Sir, here is a note for you."
"The table at the window."
"But there's nobody at that table."
"Right. They gave me this note and left."
The note was in English. "Translate it," the guest said. The waiter read the note, his face became pale and he said, "Sir, it's an ultimatum. You have just five minutes to leave. Please, leave at once."
The scientist paid hastily and left. He returned to his hotel and asked the man at the front desk to translate for him the note. The man read it, his face displayed fear, and he said, "Please, Sir, you must leave our hotel at once! Hurry, please!"
The scientist hurriedly collected his belongings and left. In the street, he approached a bobby and asked to translate the note. The policeman read it, opened his mouth, and then said, "I am sorry, Sir, you must leave England immediately. Please, don't argue, you have just a few hours to leave the country."
Frightened, the scientist rushed to the nearest port, purchased a ticket, and boarded a ship bound for Russia.
When in the open sea, he made acquaintance with the captain who knew English. The scientist showed the note and asked to translate it. The Captain became pale. He changed the course of the ship, headed to an uninhabited island and told the scientist to leave the ship at once.
On the island, the scientist encountered numerous hardships, and barely survived until, three years later, another ship came by by accident and took him aboard. He returned to Leningrad, where he enrolled in the University to study English. After a while, already capable of understanding English, he remembered about the mysterious note, and found it on the bottom of a drawer. All characters on the note turned out to be obliterated by rain.
5.12 A Soviet engineer stood on the Nile's shore next to the Assuan dam. He saw a crocodile in the river.
"Why the devil are you here?" the engineer said.
"Just bend closer to me and I'll whisper to you why."
The engineer bent, and the crocodile sucked him into his stomach in a fraction of a second, together with boots, pants, and decoration on the engineer's chest. Then the crocodile turned toward the sun and warmheartedly said, "Why, why! I live here, that's why."
5.13 The Queen of England was angry. She said to lord Hamilton, "Sir, last week you dared to say in the parliament that all English women are for sale, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did, your Majesty."
"Then you mean I am also for sale?"
The Lord remained silent.
"Come on, Sir. How much would you pay for me?"
"Three pounds, your Majesty."
"You see, you are already bargaining."
5.14 Mister Smith's wife, a young and beautiful woman, died. As it fits a British gentleman, Mr. Smith did not show his grief, stoically going through the motions. At the cemetery he remained restrained in the display of his emotions, while some other young man cried desperately and told everybody how much the deceased meant to him. After the funeral, Mr. Smith approached the young man and said, "Don't be so upset, I am going to marry once again."
5.15 In an African country, the President invited many young men to his palace and said, "It's time for my daughter to marry. All of you are entitled to take part in the competition. Whoever will swim across the river full of alligators, back and forth, will get my daughter and will be my beloved son-in-law."
Many young men were eager to marry the president's daughter and thus to ensure a high position in the government. However, as they looked at the river where hundreds of alligators waited for a feast, none of them seemed to be ready for the required feat. Suddenly, one of the bridegrooms-to-be dived into the streams. When in water, he feverishly swam across the river, avoiding the alligators, then back, and crawled to the shore to the applause of the audience. The bride threw herself to the hero's chest, crying, "My hero, I am yours." The young man pushed her away and said, "Just show me the bastard who kicked me to the alligators."
5.16 How the men who are not acquainted, behave on a train?
Two Englishmen in a compartment would not exchange a word from London to Glasgow.
Two Frenchmen will describe the physical points and passions of their lovers.
Two Germans will find out the family trees of each other back to the 17th century.
Two Russians will throw mud at each other with gusto, without asking for each other's name.
5.17 A wedding is in progress in America. Suddenly an emcee runs in and announces, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the wedding is off, as the bride has been deprived of her chastity by one of the guests."
The guests start walking out. In a few minutes, the emcee is back, and announces, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the wedding is proceeding as planned. The honor of the bride has been reinstated, the scoundrel has apologized."
5.18 Two Russians came to an Arab country. They went to a restaurant. They were impressed by the rich menu and decided to order a menu item named "Milk Arabic style."
After they ordered, a woman appeared who unbuttoned her blouse and squeezed her milk into two cups.
Drinking the milk, Arabic style, the Russians mused, "What if we ordered beer, Arabic style?"
5.19 An American walked into a gun store and requested a gun.
"And how many rounds, Sir?" the attendant asked. The customer walked to the phone. "Is it the branch of Bank of America? Would you be kind enough to tell me how many guards you have in your branch?"
5.20 In one foreign country, diplomats were invited to the queen's palace for a banquet. In the course of conversation with the envoys, the queen suddenly had hiccup. When it happened the first time, the French ambassador, as a real gentleman, said, "Excuse me, your Majesty and you, gentlemen, it was me."
After a while, the queen had hiccup once again. The French envoy looked at the British ambassador, who understood the hint, and said, "Sorry, your Majesty, and you Gentlemen, it was me."
After a while the queen had hiccup the third time. The British and the French envoys looked at the Soviet ambassador. The latter stood up and hurried out of the room. Some twenty minutes later, the Russian diplomat came back and said, "Your Majesty, and you Gentlemen, I just talked to Moscow. The Soviet government accepts the responsibility for the recent accidental hiccup."
5.21 In an airport, a drunken Russian started pestering a very short Japanese. "Let's go, I'll show you!" the Russian boasted.
They walked out, and when they came back, the Russian had a few bruises on his face.
"It was just a small Japanese thing," the Japanese said. "We call it dziu-do."
The Russian drank more vodka, and resumed pestering the Japanese. "Let's go, I'll show you!"
They walked out. In a few minutes they returned, and the Russian had a few more bruises on his face.
"This was just a small Japanese thing," the Japanese said smiling politely. "We call it karate."
The Russian drank more vodka and again approached the Japanese. "Just let's walk out, there I'll show you!"
They walked out. The passengers heard a thud. Then the Russian walked in and said, "It was just a small Japanese thing, the bumper from a Toyota."
5.22 A cowboy on a horse passed a farm and saw a very pretty girl. "How can I make love to her?" the cowboy thought. He went and painted his horse blue. Then he rode by the farm, but the girl did not pay attention to his blue horse. Then he went and painted his horse green, "Now she must notice me," the cowboy thought. "If she will ask me why my horse is green, I'll say at once, let's make love." He rode by the farm. The girl said, "Hey, you, why you keep riding by, boy? Better let's make love."
"What the big deal, love? Look better what a horse I have!"
5.23 Picasso came to London. At the railway station, his wristwatch was stolen.
"Do you suspect somebody?" the police inspector asked.
'Yes, there was that young man who left the train right after me."
"If you could draw his likeness, Mr. Picasso, it would facilitate our task very much."
Picasso made the requested picture. It was copied and the copies sent to several police stations. Soon afterwards, the police arrested as suspects a lady of 80, a gorilla in the Zoo, a bulldog, and two rhinoceroses.
5.24 A group of tourists came to Paris and took a bus tour. The guide explained, "Ladies and gentlemen, look to your left. You see the world famous Eiffel tower. If you look to your right, you see women for sale."
At the next stop the guide said, "Look to your left. You see the world famous Louvre palace. If you look to your right you see women for sale."
At the next stop the guide said, "Look to your left. You see the famous Grand Opera. If you look to your right you see women for sale."
One of the tourists asked, "Excuse me, but do you have in Paris decent women?"
"Oh, yes, Sir, but they would cost you a bundle."
5.25 A Russian tourist in Paris went to a brothel. The prostitute asked him, "Shall we leave the lights on?"
"Yes," the man said. He spend with the woman a couple of hours, and when he was about to leave, the receptionist handed over to the surprised man a bundle of dollars.
Back in Russia, the man told the story to his friends. Soon the man's supervisor went to Paris as a tourist. The supervisor found the brothel, and asked for the same woman. When in her room, she said, "Shall we leave the lights on?"
"No, I'd rather be in dark."
When the supervisor was about to leave, the receptionist gave him one ruble.
"Why?' the supervisor demanded. "My subordinate was here and got a bundle of dollars."
"Yes," the receptionist said. "Him we broadcast for two hours via TV, but you only for twenty minutes and only via radio."
5.26 A Russian came to Paris and went to a brothel. He said to the Madam, "I would like to use your services, but it should be in an unusual way."
"Then I recommend our Susan, she wouldn't be shocked by anything."
The Russian went to the Susan's room. In a few minutes Susan ran out shrieking, "No, only not this."
"What did he want?" the Madam asked.
"That's awful! He wanted to pay with rubles."
5.27 A French magazine announced a competition for a best short story entitled "My Morning." The main requirement was for the story to be really very short. The first prize was given for the following story, "I wake up early in the morning, have my breakfast, and then go home."
5.28 An Englishman requested a room in a French hotel.
"Sorry, Sir," the proprietor said. "We have only one room, but it is very small, right under the roof, and without heating."
"I guess I've no choice," the Englishman said.
Next morning the proprietor asked, "How was your night, Sir?"
"I am sorry we forgot to warn you that in that room there was a dead French woman."
"Really? I thought she was a live English woman."