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Friday, November 18, 2005

No me toques los huevos

Just now, after correcting the English in one of my boss's emails, he slaps me on the back and says:

"De puta madre! … Como dices 'de puta madre' en inglés [How do you say 'de puta madre' in English]?"

Like so much slang, there is no real translation, only interpretations of intent. "De puta madre" means "very good" or "great" in the figurative sense, but literally it means "the whore mother". Part of my job is to take those literal translations and find the most appropriate English equivalent. So I say:


"Great? Grande? How boring!"

I always imagine him trying out my slang tips on serious businessmen in formal office environments, so I give him polite equivalents that won't get him into trouble. But, sometimes he really wants to know the dirty words and looks to me for advice. So I say:

"Well, I guess you could say 'Fucking great'" - which is probably the best English equivalent for "de puta madre" in this sense.

He beams at me and stands up and thrusts out his hand.

"Así es! FUCKING GREAT! FUCKING GREAT! Muchísimas gracias! Espero que no te estoy tocando los huevos con tanto email y tanto pregunta [I hope I'm not 'tocando los huevos' with so many emails and questions]."

"No, por supuesto que no [No, of course not]."

He rubs his chin, squints.

"Como dices 'no me toques los huevos' en inglés [How do you say 'no me toques los huevos' in English]?"

"Don't bust my balls."

"Cojonudo! DON'T BUST MY BALLS! Can you please write that down?"

I write down: IT'S FUCKING GREAT and DON'T BUST MY BALLS in big caps on this marketing proposal we're working on, and walk out of his office.

Sometimes I feel like an extra in a Monty Python skit.