Screw the Foreigner
So they play a little game here in town – quite similar to kancho, my absolute favorite thing about living in Japan. I call the game Tutti a Fregà la Straniera – or, Let’s All Screw the Foreigner. It’s an old game, an ancient game, but still highly popular and from what I understand, it’s popular world-wide.
- Find a foreigner somewhere; doesn’t even matter if they speak Italian fluently – it’s more of a challenge that way. Find them at a supermarket. The post office. A bakery. You know, some place where money will be exchanged.
- Ready? Set? Screw them.
Now you know why Italians are always smoking.
It’s really quite simple, but the thing is that no one tells you the game’s started. You’re at the bakery and you want two pieces of focaccia and dude says Sorry, we just have this big wide corner chunk left and that’s how it’s sold and you’re all Wait a second. That doesn’t sound right. But, whatever, I’m in a rush and my other foreigner friend is waiting for me at the cashier so what the hell, we’ll share the rest with someone else. And you buy it. And you take it home but the big wide corner chunk is stale. And Katarina, your Hungarian friend who has lived in Italy for the past 10 years says: Dammit. They could have at least given you some warning that Let’s Screw the Foreigner was in session. And you say: Oh, well, I guess they got me. Well played, maestro. I’ll get you next time!
So, next, it’s to the post office to mail off short stories to submit to writing contests and literary magazines. It’s something you’ve done before and you know that a 20-page short story costs around 5 euro to send to the U.S. But dude’s all That’ll be 50 euro and you’re What! I don’t freaking…. oh, wait. Are we playing Let’s Screw the Foreigner? AW, YOU GUYS! And dude: Signorina, I’m simply trying to explain that we have two options to send packages to the West. This 50 euro option or this 20 euro option.
Well excuse me, SIR, but these aren’t packages, they’re envelopes with paper in them and I’ve sent envelopes just like these to the US before and it weren’t no 20 euro. (ADVANTAGE: FOREIGNER)
Signorina, I’m just trying to explain that we have two options. If you look here on the computer screen… (VOLLEY: ITALIAN)
Yeah, I’m looking and there are five options there. FIVE. (+1: FOREIGNER)
But, signorina, three of those are for shipping within Italy. (+1: ITALIAN)
Dude? Give me the cheap, ordinary option that I’ve been using for the past six months. (THE FOREIGNER IS ON FIRE)
Signorina, I’m just explaining that… (VOLLEY: ITALIAN)
Okay. You know what? Give me the envelopes. Just give me the envelopes. Goodbye.
U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!
Foreigner goes home. Foreigner eats risotto. Foreigner drinks Peroni. And then foreigner + other foreigner jump on the train to Rome without buying a ticket since no one ever checks and even if they do, they never look closely enough to make sure your ticket has the right name on it. ‘Cause that’s how you do it, son. That’s how you play the game.