Tuesday, May 17

5/17/04 – Antipope Clement XV vs. Zito

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. Jose would like to come clean about something. Last year, he claimed that the Melendezette had taught him to taunt Ichiro with Japanese language shouts of “Hey Ichiro, your mom is hot.”

This is not true. It is no more true than Pudge Rodriguez being the Most Valuable Player in 1999 or Titanic being the best film of 1997. It is may be even less true. Those things at least have a little trophy vouching for the lie. Jose’s got nothing. What Jose should have said is that the Melendezette TRIED to teach him to say that. She tried, but much like Trot Nixon when it comes to left handed pitching, Jose just can’t learn. Jose’s actual Japanese ability is limited to saying “watashi wa beeru o nomemasu” -- I drink beer. This statement is not a lie, but it is a mediocre taunt at best.

Jose should have come clean about this sooner, especially since the Sox are now done with Seattle for the year, but this is better than never… marginally. Besides, as it turns out, it wouldn’t have mattered if he had taunted Ichiro on his mom’s hotness anyway. Ichiro wouldn’t have understood it.

Last weekend, Jose hosted two guests from Japan, his best friend from when he was eight years old, who he had not seen in 14 years, and his friend’s wife. Since the Sox were playing Seattle last weekend and Jose’s friend is a big baseball fan, Jose regaled him with stories of his alleged taunt of Ichiro. His friend did not understand at all, and with good reason. First, what the Melendezette had tried to teach Jose means “Hey Ichiro your mom is cool” rather than hot. (Note: The Melendezette told Jose this at the time, but he didn’t want to hear it… he wasn’t going to say it anyway, so what difference did it make?) Second, it simply did not make any sense in that context to a Japanese person. Why would you say someone’s mother was attractive if you had never met her? If you had met her and she was hot, why would this be an insult? Even after an extremely lengthy explanation of the American tradition of insulting someone by remarking on the attractiveness of his mother, he still found it incomprehensible.

“He would not have understood,” Jose’s friend responded with certainty.

Apparently, the Japanese lack our rich cultural heritage of mother jokes. It’s a shame. Instead, they must settle for kabuki, chanoyu and pachinko.

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