I have a couple days off from work and since the weather is not cooperating, I’m getting started on painting my bedroom. This means moving bookcases and books around. I have a lot of books I don’t ever read and really don’t need, so I’m starting a donation box, which will probably sit in my cellar for a while. But I can’t bear to give away Barron’s Dictionary of Spanish Slang and Colloquial Expressions.
I was in need of a Spanish dictionary once and grabbed this innocent looking tome too because I thought it might be useful. It isn’t (not for me, anyway) but it’s one of the most unintentionally funny books I’ve ever come across. It appears to be a serious dictionary, but because every fourth or fifth entry has something to do with sex, drugs or bodily functions, I can’t open it without my eye falling on some bizarre example sentence that I can’t imagine ever needing to say in English, much less in Spanish. For example, page 198 teaches you to say in Castilian, “Three junkies died last night when their lab blew up.” Page 293: Nicaraguan for “Because of her bad mood, I believe that lady is on the rag.” Page 252: “A gang of hookers came down the street — of all colors, sizes, and, I suppose, prices.” And those are just the PG-13 rated ones.
A few times, I have found this book useful as an emergency laugh generator. Every time I think I’ve discovered the filthiest entry, I can open it to any random page and find something even more outrageous. Which is why it’s so funny, and why I’m never getting rid of it. (Although in more sober moments, I have to wonder what the author’s conception of Spanish-speaking people really is…)