Tuesday, March 5, 2024

But what does it meme? The week in Mexican memes

If you’re on a quest to understand Mexican humor – or at least to find the best Mexican memes to share with your friends – we’ve got you covered! Here’s this week’s curated collection of memes with a translation, background, any relevance to current events and hopefully, a good chuckle.

Meme translation: “I’m feeling lazier than Disney’s graphic designer.”

What does it meme? I selected this meme for two reasons: 1) it’s funny, and 2) I wanted to point out the phrase “tengo flojera,” which means, roughly, “I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to do anything.” Like hunger, “laziness” is something to have rather than to be.

And you’ve got to admit: whoever designed those movie posters definitely found a style and stuck with it!

Meme translation: “My son won’t eat fish; what can I replace it/him with?” → “With a kitty. Kitties love fish.”

What does it meme? This is one of those jokes that works more in Spanish than in English. The reason? The direct object pronoun “lo” could be referring to either the fish or the son, given that both nouns are masculine. The joke, of course, is that it’s the child, not the fish, that is replaced in the answer. 

Michi” is a cute word for “cat,” mostly used by cat lovers (gato and its diminutive, gatito, are the words you probably already know for cat).

Meme translation: “Thanks to a quite respectful client, I just realized that I’ve spent over a year telling people to get naked with me (bare with me) instead of to have patience with me (bear with me).”

What does it meme? We’re not the only ones who make second-language mistakes! There are plenty of Spanish-speaking people throughout Latin America who work in customer service for English-speaking populations.

The above mistake isn’t particularly egregious, especially since most English-speakers wouldn’t even notice the misspelling. It’s certainly not as bad as the time I told my Spanish teacher that I lived in the condones (condoms) down the street (Note: you can’t shorten “condominium” in Spanish the same way you can in English.).

Meme translation: “Don’t go, it’s barely midnight!” → “But this is the last combi to my house!”

What does it meme? “House” in this case is understood to mean “neighborhood,” but no matter. Once the combis stop coming, you’re out of luck.

Combis” are vans that operate on bus routes throughout the day (and part of the night). In my own city, combis supplement major bus routes when there’s a lot of dead time in the bus schedule, or they replace them entirely  when the streets are too narrow for a bus to get through. When you board a combi, you pay the driver and have a seat (if you can) on one of the benches that line the interior. When it’s time to get off, you can either press the red button on the grab bar, or you can simply shout “¡Bajan!

Meme translation: “This has been a year of personal growth.” → “The personal growth:”

What does it meme? Unfortunately, this is one that we can all likely sympathize with: the “personal” growth of our bodies! Especially with the Mexican holiday marathon, which is just getting started, those sizes aren’t likely to go back down very soon.

Well, there’s always New Year’s resolutions! 

Meme translation: “tell me something I don’t know” → “The first letter of a sentence should always be capitalized.”

What does it meme? I know this meme is kind of sexist (and the fact that I find it hilarious checks with my generation’s general discomfort with posting selfies that strangers can comment on), but as a fellow grammar and punctuation snob, it gave me a hearty laugh! 

Meme translation: “You know you’re doing things right when a three-million-dollar vehicle comes by to pick you up every day.”

What does it meme? What’s the three-million-dollar vehicle? Why, the metro car, of course! 

This meme struck me as sweeter (“tierno,” most people would say) than funny, as it reminds us of the amazing feats of infrastructure and organization available to us every day. 

Modern public transportation is a pretty sweet deal.

Meme translation: “Yeah yeah, f*** off.” (on box: “Halloween crap”)

What does it meme?A la chingada” might actually be 20% less strong than my best English translation of the phrase – perhaps the way British people in the movies say it so nonchalantly as if they didn’t have such a cemented Puritan history? My point is, it’s rude but you’ll hear it.

Anyway, when used in the way it is above (yes, there are other meanings!) it’s a common dismissive phrase when people just don’t want to hear about something anymore. Chingaderas is also somewhat rude, at perhaps slightly about the same level as my translation of it.

Well, we’ve got to admit: we’re ready to decorate for Christmas, right?

Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website, sarahedevries.substack.com.

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