Posted on July 11, 2007


I have no ability to detect sarcasm, even though I use it myself all the time. When I first moved to Canada, people would make witty remarks to which I would respond, mouth askew, “Really?!” Eventually they all gave up. People about to make humourous comments would face towards everyone else. Everyone would laugh and I would search their faces for some clue as to what was funny. People would often ask me, “Look, why don’t you get it? Is it that there’s no sarcasm in your language?”

“No!” I would squeak. “We’re all about sarcasm! It’s a personal disability. Personal! Do not malign my people!”

I told this story to a friend of mine on Wednesday, in order to explain why almost all of his utterances were wasted on me. He laughed uproariously. The following night I went to a party, where I engaged a dude in (somewhat drunken) conversation. He made a comment, and there was silence for a few seconds while I politely waited for him to go on with his story. Then the silence started to seem familiar to me and I said, “Oh, were you being sarcastic? I don’t get sarcasm. Sorry.”

“Hmm. Is there no sarcasm in your culture?”

“Dude! No. We love sarcasm!” I narrowed my eyes at him. “Aren’t you half Pakistani? Because incidentally, I was just telling another half Pakistani dude yesterday about how people are always telling me that! Is there some sort of Pakistani network?” I said suspiciously.

“No…I just lived in China for a few years and they don’t have sarcasm in their culture.”

“Huh. That explains a lot. I don’t like Chinese people anyway. So…xenophobic.”

“Yeah.” He looked relieved to be able to come out in the open with his racism. “I didn’t really take to them either.”

Posted in: "ethnic", stupidity