A local college here has an English language immersion program that brings students from all over the world to be dunked in America, from K-Mart to the Kardashians. I have met college kids from Spain, France, Qatar, Thailand, Brazil, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Germany, India, and several other countries. The common denominator: Foreign kids don’t tip… tipping a taxi driver seems to be a uniquely American custom. And even American college kids don’t stand out as good tippers…
So I pick up 4 female students at a college night event at a bar… two are Americans and two are Asian, from China I would guess… I dated a girl from Taiwan for some time, and I can tell the difference between Korean, Japanese, and Chinese when I hear it. These girls are pretty drunk, just wasted enough to be funny, rather than obnoxious. Lots of laughing and yelling on the way back to the campus… and then about halfway to their destination, the wasted Chinese girl in the front seat says to me, “Can I ask you a question?
“Sure, ” I say.
With a completely straight face, she says, “Do you like penis…?”
Howls and screams of laughter erupt from the back seat. I said, “Do I like penis? Well, I’m kinda fond of mine… why do you ask?”
She says, “I LOVE penis… I was eating penis at the bar tonight and they are all laughing at me…”
The three girls in the back seat are shrieking with laughter… I say, “Wait a minute… you were eating penis at the bar?”
Gales of laughter from the back seat. “Why are you laughing at me???” the girl in front yells.
One of the girls in the back explains that she’s trying to say PEANUTS, and while her English is pretty good, she just can’t seem to get the “T” sound into the word because of her Chinese accent. It is coming out like “peenuss”.
“Yes,” she says… “Peenuss.”
The girl in the back says, “Pea-NUTS… PEA-NUTS…” But try as she might, the best the drunk Chinese girl in front can do is “Pee-NUDZ”. And since the girls in the back are not letting her in on the joke, I thought I would jump in.
I say to the Chinese girl, “Well, America has a long history of eating peenuss… in fact, the 39th President of the United States was a peenuss farmer. He was a terrible President, but he sure knew his shit about peenuss…”
(screaming, raucous laughter from the girls in the back)
“And we had a famous American scientist and inventor named Carver that REALLY knew peenuss… he came up with a hundred recipes and ways to eat peenuss, and he invented something like two hundred other things you can do with peenuss besides eating them. You can make paint, diesel fuel for cars, plastics, even explosives from peenuss. Did you know that you can make peenuss explode, like a bomb?”
(choking, gasping sounds from the back seat)
“In America, we have this game called baseball… do you know it? Many people think the best place to get some peenuss is at a baseball game… they roast them right there at the ball park, and you can get them still warm from the roaster… hot, salty, mouth-watering peenuss are great with a beer during a baseball game. In the southern United States, a lot of people like to boil peenuss, and they cook them with Cajun spices, but personally, I’m not crazy about the taste or texture of boiled spicy Cajun peenuss…”
The girls in the back are having trouble breathing, and tears are rolling down their cheeks… “But you know what is really great…? My sister makes the best peenuss butter pie… it has that great nutty flavor, but it is really creamy and smooth… just melts in your mouth…”
“Stop it!” one of the girls in the back screams… ” My ribs hurt… I’m gonna pee my panties…!”
So I drop the girls off at their dorm, and one of the American girls pays the fare, tips me better than a college girl ever tips, and says, “You are the most awesome cab driver ever!” She gets out of the car, and all three of them are giggling and wiping tears of laughter.
And the drunk Chinese girl says in a thick Chinese accent, “Why are you all laughing at me…?”