The first time I went to Sevilla I met this guy, José Luís.  No, it wasn't like that.  You could say he was a friend of a friend.

If you want to skip the story

Just scroll down to the bottom of the post for today's letra and a really cool video.

So José Luís is one of those people who is constantly telling jokes.

Well, constantly saying funny things is more like it because they're not jokes, not exactly.  Some people call them jokes, but they're not what I have ever understood to be jokes.  I guess because I'm American.  And not just that, but I'm from Oregon.

José Luís is always saying funny things and making himself, and other people if they get it, laugh. 

You could call him witty, but it's more than that.  It's witty in a Sevillano way.  Ingenioso.  Agudo.  That's what the dictionary is calling it.

Anyway the first time I met him I was with Toshi.  We went to have a copita, and, naturally, José Luís couldn't stop saying funny things.  Nobody, especially not José Luís himself, could stop laughing at just about everything that came out of his mouth.

That's the way I remember it at least.

I on the other hand was not like everyone.  I tried to pretend-laugh as much as I could, but it was hard considering I didn't understand about 97% of the so-called jokes.  I didn't want to laugh when it wasn't time to laugh.  And I didn't want to seem snotty for not laughing.  So, I tried my best, beginning my laughter as quickly as possible after I noticed the others laughing.

But it didn't work so well, especially since half of the time José Luís would look right at me as he told the jokes that didn't seem like jokes.

Some possibly helpful background:

I am not gifted in joke-telling.  Not in any language.  Period.  I am not good even at getting jokes, until the next day or until someone explains them to me.  I've kind of been struggling with this my whole life.  And most of my trying-to-get-jokes-training has been in punchline style jokes.  So, you can imagine how difficult getting humor in a another language and another culture is for me.  Add to that that this story happened about fifteen years ago when Spanish was still relatively new to me.

So back to the story...

José Luís told this one "joke."

Which I'll now tell to you.

It goes like this,

"Laura de Orejón."

Yes, that is the whole joke.  That's it.

What does it mean in English?  Nothing really, it doesn't translate because it's a play on words.

Literally it means Laura from Big Ear.  Orejón sounds like Oregon.  So it's funny.  Haaaaa.

So he told this joke, and I laughed.  Kind of.

I tried to laugh like I meant it.  But I was not convincing.  I didn't really get it.

Oreja, ear.  Orejón, someone with big ears. I think I got that.  But I was waiting for the rest.  Only, as you can see, there was no more.  No punchline.  Which is kind of typical there.

But I didn't know this.

So there I am, trying to figure out why it warranted uncontrollable laughter.  Trying to figure out what more there was to an orejón.  Trying to figure out how it could be so funny over and over and over again.

Because there's one more thing you should know about José Luís.  It is his custom to tell a joke not just one time but several.  Each time laughing hysterically of course.  And then occasionally adding to the joke.  For example, "What do the people from Orejón look like, Laura?"   Little things like that.

The end of the story and today's letra

José Luís thought he was offending me.  Over and over again.  Because I wasn't laughing enough.  Over and over again.  It wasn't until years later that we cleared that up.  

My understanding of Spanish is better now.  I finally get it.  I think.

Okay, so now you can read today's letra, and find out why I'm even talking about this.

It's a Tangos de Málaga.  You know we like those around here.

Tangos del Titi

Ya vienen bajando por las escaleras
pimiento, tomate, orejones y brevas
pero dime qué motivo te he hecho yo
pa que la ropa me la tires a la calle
como a un picaro ladrón. 

They're coming down the staircase
peppers, tomatoes, dried fruit, and figs 
But tell me just what have I done to you
to make you throw my clothes into the street
as you would do to a cunning thief. 

As you can see, the orejones in this song are not those that José Luís spoke of.

So they guy in the video, that's David Romero.  Who I can't wait to go study with in Barcelona, after going to Jerez that is.  I've been admiring his dancing for years.  And FINALLY I'm getting myself to Barcelona to study with him.  I'll tell you more about that later.

A quick note on figs

Ricardo told me that brevas are early figs that ripen around mid-June and higos come later with the second harvest.  His favorites are brevas.  Just in case you were wondering.