There’s a Genesis song called “Misunderstanding” in which Phil Collins (remember him?) croons “Oh, there must have been some misunderstanding.” While this song is about some lady flaking on Phil Collins (who would do such a thing?) I think the above-referenced lyric is an apt phrase to describe the picture below. Look at it closely.

I found this sign in front of a display of popsicle-making kits at the Safeway here in Aqaba. Just a simple misunderstanding between the translation department and the folks who printed the sign, right? It’s a mystery.

I was looking at the display in earnest because I’m interested in making my own popsicles (free from added sugar and artificial colors –you guys know how I do). That’s when I saw the sign. And I did what any good citizen would do. I snapped a picture of it with my iPhone. You’re welcome.

These little “misunderstandings” are part of the joy of living in a foreign country. In fact, we see these tragically hilarious mistranslations here in Aqaba almost daily. There’s the “Five Minute Restaurant” and a brand of canned pineapple that reads: “Tourist Pineapple. Best Without Taste.” Then there’s the Facebook Mini Market and my personal favorite, Happy Passion for Rental Cars. That last one is a real car rental joint here in town. Apparently, all they do is rent cars.

But back to the ass juices sign. Plenty of Aqabawis speak English, so why does no one point out the glaring error on the display sign? Are they embarrassed? Do they just not care? I care!

So why haven’t I pointed it out to management, you ask? It’s a good question. I probably should. But frankly, I’m amused by it and I’d like it to stay exactly as it is.

It’s akin to seeing someone with something stuck in their teeth or a visible booger. Do you say something? I usually do, but only to people I know. How awkward would it be if some stranger came up to me and was like, “Excuse me, ma’am but you have a bear in the face cave.” Not only would it be embarrassing, it would also be weird if a Jordanian used that expression because Bret is the only person I know who says it. Face cave, get it? The bear is the booger.

Aaanyway, the truth is,  I don’t have the heart to tell the manager of Safeway that maybe the reason no one is buying those popsicle making kits is because they’re turned off by the words “ass juices.”

What do you think? Do you tell people when they have food in their teeth or a blob of mustard on their cheek? What if they accidentally wrote the words “ass juices” on their lemonade stand sign? Would you let them know?

Don’t think of this as a post about ass juices. Think of it as commentary on the nuance of language.

Happy Holidays!

6 thoughts on “Misunderstanding

  1. Ohhh that made me laugh Marje. Especially because at first glance it looked like Lancer ass. In that case, I definitely wouldn’t say anything to the Safeway manager. It would ruin the fun. We all need to be amused here and again. Besides, no one person is the butt of the joke. On the other hand, I would try to tell someone if they had a bugger or something in their teeth. That’s just common decency.

  2. Marj…so funny. Don’t think I’ve heard the bear in the cave, but you’ve definitely always told me if one is hibernating in my face. That’s what daughters are for:) Why don’t you come home for Christmas…..? Mom

  3. LOL!!! it is not a mistranslated word.. Juice in Arabic is pronounced Asseer (عصير).. my guess is that there was some character limitation when printed; and only the Ass part was printed; without the rest of the word; that; rather than being translated to Juice; was typed in English letters with the Arabic pronunciation.. Hilarious nonetheless! But I would point that out the the manager if I were you ^_^

  4. @Balsam: I think someone beat me to it. They changed the sign. It now reads: “Assorted Juices.” So, I guess “Ass” was short for “Assorted.” I would have told the management eventually.

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