Dodgy South African humour.

It amazes me how after 8 years of living in the UK I can still have those moments of total communication breakdown.

I speak English, the locals speak English. Sure there are colloquial differences, but after 8 years I can usually make out what is going on.

And the thing is, I KNOW what Brits call the thing I am about to mention. I have known it for years, and have been in similar situations to what I am about to relate a few times before.

But in my defence I was running around, overworked and frazzled. I forgot.

This is an exchange between me and my boss.

Boss: so to take this picture you are going to need a floppy disk.

Me: thinking, What. Are you KIDDING me? Do those things even exist any more?

Me: I’m not sure I will be able to find a machine that reads those things.

Boss: first a look crosses his face: why, why do I have to work with fools? Who sends me these fools? Then he gives me a withering glare.

Boss: of course you will.

Me: thinking, why is he making me use a floppy? Is this some kind of challenge, a test? Don’t test me, I’m too tired.  I don’t want to use a damn floppy, where will I put it? There is no computer in this department with a floppy drive.

Boss: opens stationary drawer and points.

Boss: there some are.

Me: lightbulb moment. I have been through all of this many times before.

Me: ooooooooohhhhhh those are floppies. In South Africa those are not floppies.

Boss: what are they?

Me: already laughing. Those are stiffies.

OK, I am aware that this is not particularly funny to the general poplace, but something about the way the whole office burst out laughing at the same time (dirty little minds they have) … I’m still laughing now.

It’s the small (and floppy)  things.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Prixie
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 09:57:10

    Some South Africaness will NEVER leave us


  2. Nes
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 17:02:30

    haha. it made me giggle :)


  3. Helen
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 19:17:58

    I had a conversation with someone about ‘stiffies’ the other day. Apparently some South africans still use them too… I have a real floppy on display on my noticeboard as a weird curiosity. So yes, they still exist, but I doubt you’d find a machine to read them…


  4. tiah
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 05:40:32

    My reply gotten eaten. But this post made me smile. Even years later I still struggle to ask for a ‘rubber’ with a straight face.


  5. seamonkeypo
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 08:05:34

    OMG rubber. I never even thought about the potential funniness of that! It really depends where you are from, I had a Chilean friend who used to die laughing every time she heard the ad for Polo mints – “the mint with the hole”. Apparently the word “hole” is hysterical in Chile?!

    But then, Americans do have that whol fanny pack thing which kills me.


  6. Tamara
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 10:00:12

    And have you ever thought how rude some Afrikaans words sound? They look fine written out… fak (subject), kant (side) etc, but when you hear them said!

    You know that ‘naai’ is the word for ‘sew’ in Afrikaans, right? And that it also means something really rude. So when TSC was a kid, he couldn’t speak much English. He heard someone in a movie shouting, “I’ll sue you!” He thought “sue” was spelt “sew” (because that would be phonetically correct). So to him, it sounded like the rudest thing you could have said to anyone.

    Hehehe… hope that didn’t get lost in translation.


  7. seamonkeypo
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 10:02:36

    I always used to giggle in my mind in Afrikaans class when we used to talk about “my gunsteling vak” meeeheeeheee ok it is still funny now.


  8. tiah
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 16:53:09

    Fanny – ha! Watching a Graham Norton episode and he showed a painting done by a woman via her fanny. I looked at it and thought ‘that does not look like any bum print I’ve ever seen.’

    Then somebody explained it to me…carefully.


  9. Paula
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 10:15:34


    My mind totally went there. HAHAHA!

    Awesome :D


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