Posted by: patenttranslator | July 25, 2010

Vere Are Your Papers?

Vere Are Your Papers, Arizona Style.


I could be really in trouble with my European accent if I got busted by a fake Indian cop or a real Arizona cop. How do I prove that I’ve been an American citizen for more than 20 years when all I have on me is a driver’s license, just like people who look Mexican and live in Arizona?

I remember this Japanese guy I used to work with in San Francisco in the early eighties who once told me, in his Japanese accent: “There have always been problems in this country with illegal immigration. Just ask any Indian.”

He later moved to Paris. I wonder if he is still there or back here or in Japan.

Another real story about immigrants: I used to know these 2 Chinese sisters in San Francisco, Penny and Jasmin. They were actually from Malaysia, but they were Chinese and to each other they usually spoke Chinese. One day they were riding an escalator, going to a department store to do some shopping and talking to each other in Chinese. There was and presumably still is a lot of white people in San Francisco who strongly resent the fact that Chinese people have made San Francisco “a Chinese town”, especially sections like Richmond and Sunset as one man once confided in me. So Penny and Jasmin were talking to each other in Chinese and this woman, riding the escalator in the opposite direction, looked at them and said:”Speak English. You are in America!”

And Penny looked at the woman and said:”F*** you. That’s English.”

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