4 June 2002

Language lessons

The following texts were taken from a bilingual newsletter distributed in February to tenants of M.D. Fox Manor, a home for the elderly in Hartford, Connecticut.

First, the English version:

Garbage Disposal
We are getting too many burned garbage disposals due to the negligence and carelessness of the tenants. Please stop throwing rice in the garbage disposals. As of this month, if your garbage disposal breaks due to the above, you will be charged for it.

And now, the Spanish version, translated back into English:

Extractor de comida
We are getting too many burned garbage disposals due to the negligence and carelessness of the tenants. Benji and Edgar have told me that this is because of rice thrown in the disposal. You have to get used to the fact that you do not live in Puerto Rico, where leftovers are given to the pigs. We do not have pigsties, but we do have garbage cans. Don’t be such hicks. Here in the United States, get used to throwing the rice in the garbage can, not in the disposal. If this is too difficult for you to do, move and continue with the customs of Puerto Rico. From now on, if your disposal breaks due to rice, you will be charged for it.

[From Harper’s Magazine, June 2002.]

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