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Friday, February 24, 2006

Heard A Funny Story

I heard a Russian joke the other day. We were in Dzerzhinsk, a city about 30 miles from Nizhny Novgorod. We were attending a church meal where all the ladies of the church got together and cooked “pirogue”, a Russia pastry that can be filled with meat, fish, cottage cheese or anything else. This is not one of our favorite foods as they are deep fried and the pastry is thick and not what you expect when you think, McDonald’s apple pie.

That night as we sat at a table we were the only Americans in a group of Russian believers. The pastor who was there said, I heard this story on TV. A Russian journalist was interviewing an American. One of the topics of the interview was food. The journalist asked the American woman, “How often do you eat meat”? “Oh”, replied the woman, “only about 3 days a week”. “Only three days?” asked the journalist incredulously. “Yes” replied the woman. “Well, what do you eat the other days” asked the journalist? “Oh, we eat chicken or fish or turkey” replied the lady.

Get it?

All the Russian at the table laughed hilariously.

If you’re an American you, like us, probably didn’t get the joke. The joke is that Americans are so rich and eat so well that they don’t think of eating fish or poultry as eating meat, only beef and pork counts as meat. At least that is the view of Russians. Why is this funny? Well, Russian humor is “black” humor. They see the irony in things that are not really funny and laugh at them. Most Russians that we know only eat meat for a few meals during any week. Why? Because they can’t afford meat on the poor salaries they earn. They think it grimly funny that Americans are so blessed with material goods and don’t even recognize it.

Think about it the next time you eat a nice thick steak.

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