Lost in Translation: An Important Note for International Reckoners
First up, a quick public service announcement for our International Reckoners:
If you’re planning a vacation to the United States of America in the foreseeable future, you would do well to refrain from employing any confusing colloquialisms in your social media updates prior to departure.
For Australians, that means no “cracking onto” members of the opposite sex…no getting “off one’s face”…no “tearing it up”…no “little rippers” and, we would think, no “barrakking” for anyone.
Our Irish friends will likewise wish to steer clear of referring to anything as “the gas,” from declaring intentions to “eat one’s head off” and from “throwing shapes,” “sucking diesel” or otherwise “effin’ and blindin’.”
We can only imagine to what extent our English Reckoners shall have to curb their delightfully colorful lingo to ensure a stateside journey (even relatively) free of let or hindrance at the gate, though we imagine no measure of self-censorship will be sufficient to guarantee a transit experience free of at least a touch of “Ye ol’ Liberty Grope.”
What’s all this caper then, eh? What’s the apple, the score, the bleedin’ apple core?
Apologies for the loose linguistics, weary reader. But a point begs its making; a point two British (would-be) tourists, Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting, discovered the hard way just last week.
Apparently rather chuffed at the upcoming prospect of a wee jaunt over the pond, Van Bryan and Bunting engaged in a bit of online banter before their big trip to the US. Mistake number one. The two were perhaps unaware that the Department of Homeland Security routinely trolls the global social media digital waves, setting up accounts to listen in on prospective threats to…um…the “Homeland.”
We can only imagine the hysterical frenzy that whipped around the DHS H.Q. when they discovered what Van Bryan, 26, had posted.
“Free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America x”
Not that it should matter, but “destroy” is popular English slang for “party”…an easily Googlable fact, one would think, for the highly skilled heroes manning the control tower at the Twitter and Facebook Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Unit for Liberty and Freedom of the Homeland… Patriot… Liberty… uh, never mind.
After making their way through passport control at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last week, the pair were promptly detained by armed guards/heroes/patriots. But the real trouble was still to come.
The two were then informed that the DHS was on to their scheme to “destroy” (read: party in) America and (Could it be? No! Sweet Mother of Mercy!) their sick and twisted plot to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe!
“3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p****** people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”
The pair explained that the tweet, which the DHS had considered a grave matter of national security was, actually, a reference from Family Guy, a popular television show produced in the Homeland itself…behind patriot lines!
“They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party,” explained Bunting. “I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh’s lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe. I couldn’t believe it because it was a quote from the comedy Family Guy which is an American show.”
Department of Homeland Security staff, brave unwavering professionals as they are, were not deterred from their mission.
“It got even more ridiculous because the officials searched our suitcases and said they were looking for spades and shovels. They did a full body search on me too” explained Bunting.
Perhaps because grave-robbing spades and shovels have little to do with (most people’s idea of) partying, the DHS were unable to find any in the pair’s luggage or, strangely enough, on their person. Nevertheless, this was no time to take chances:
“I kept saying to them they had got the wrong meaning from my tweet but they just told me ‘you’ve really f***** up with that tweet boy’.”
Van Bryan, apparently thought to be the leader of the non-existent operation, was then cuffed, thrown in a cage inside a van and whisked away to a location where he could not be of harm to Homeland citizens.
Recounted the suspect:
“When we arrived at the prison [ed.: prison!] I was shoved in a cell on my own but after an hour two huge Mexican men covered in tattoos came in and started asking me who I was… They told me they’d been arrested for taking cocaine over the border… When the food arrived on the tray they took it all and just left me with a carton of apple juice.”
After 12 hours in custody, the pair were returned to the airport where they were sent directly home…charge sheets in hand.
Emily “The Lookout” Bunting’s charge sheet stated: “It is believed that you are travelling with Leigh-Van Bryan who possibly has the intentions of coming to the United States to commit crimes.”
“Possibly has the intentions”? We can almost hear Special Twitter Task Force Agent Johnston saying, “That’s as good as a thought crime to me!”
Added the charge sheet of one Leigh “Happy Birthday Mr. President” Van Bryan:
“He had posted on his Tweeter website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe. Also on his tweeter account Mr. Bryan posted that he was coming to destroy America.”
We’re not quite sure what a “Tweeter account” is, but you can be sure the vigilant servicemen and women at the DHS are on the case. Thank goodness the pair didn’t use the “we were only taking the Mickey” defense. Could you imagine the costs and hassle involved in having to put Disneyland on high security lockdown? We shudder to think.
So, to our International Reckoners, remember to travel safely both to and from the Homeland. And please, feel free to pass our public service announcement on.