Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Jajaja’ and ‘jejeje’ with our Mexican memes of the week

Spring has arrived, and it is getting hot out there! But at least we can laugh while we drip in sweat, right? Grab a beer, and we can laugh extra hard at these Mexican memes currently making the rounds on social media. 

The best part? You can legitimately say you were studying. 

Meme translation: “Ma’am, classes were canceled today for the eclipse.” 

“He wants to be an astronomer.”

What does it meme? Did everyone catch the eclipse last week? Depending on where you were, it was more or less dramatic (there was a little under 70% coverage where I was).

Plenty of schools canceled classes that day, and those who didn’t supposedly had pretty low turnouts. Some parents though, like the one in this meme, were apparently less than thrilled about having to find childcare for their little ones when they still had to go to work!

Meme translation: “If you drink, don’t drive. And please, don’t call your ex. Value your life and your dignity.”

What does it meme? Now this…is a good sign.

And now you know: drunk dialing isn’t just a problem in the English-speaking world. The plethora of memes and jokes about it here, in fact, would leave me to believe that it’s even more prevalent around here! 

So remember, kids: if you’re going to drink, get a designated driver or take a taxi. And if you’re tempted to profess your love to someone long lost, give your friend your phone. Your dignity will thank you.

Meme translation: “Why hasn’t my package arrived? I ordered it through…”

(on screen) “FraudEx”

What does it meme? If you’ve had anything delivered to you in Mexico, chances are you’ve come into contact with one of the most prominent shipping companies here, Estafeta. 

I’ve always thought it was a strange choice of a name, as (to me) it looks and sounds pretty similar to the word for “scam,” estafa. “-Ote/ota” is one of Spanish’s  augmentative forms (as opposed to a diminutive form that you’re probably already familiar with, like “-ito/ita”), and visually it fits perfectly with this joke: “Estafota” would translate to something like “big scam” (I did my best above to make it look at least somewhat like the name of a shipping company).

I don’t think that kitty’s package is going to be making it after all.

Meme translation: “When you’re an English teacher and you see that there’s a kid from the United States in your class.”

What does it meme? Most kids in Mexican schools take English classes. But teaching a different language (especially one different than your own) ain’t no joke, and the truth is that most language teaching positions for Mexican nationals don’t pay enough to recruit teachers that are truly fluent in the language they’re teaching, as those who are can usually make much more money elsewhere.

So, when a student shows up in their class who does speak the language fluently, it can be a little intimidating. Knowing this, I’ve always given my daughter strict instructions to never, under any circumstances, publicly correct an English teacher unless specifically asked to.

Apparently, she’s taken that lesson to heart a bit too much: when I had a meeting with her teacher a few months into this last school year, he said he had no idea that she spoke English at all!

Meme translation: “If I could have one power, I’d like to be able to be retired.”

What does it meme? This one takes a little explanation: poder as a noun is “power”; poder as a verb is “to be able to” (basically, “can”). Perhaps a better translation might be, “If I could have one power, it would be the power to be retired,” though really, there’s no perfect option: plays on words don’t work across languages unless the languages have the same word for two of the same different concepts (which does sometimes happen, fortunately).

That said, I share your wish, my little tlacuache dude.

Meme translation: “It was there the whole time and we didn’t see it.”

What does it meme? If you’ve spent much time in Mexico, you’ve probably run across the cultural icon that is El Chavo del Ocho. The TV show ran through the 1970s until the early ‘80s, but I still don’t know a single Mexican, even under the age of 10, who wouldn’t immediately recognize the show’s character, who’s being rendered in the above photos out of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. (They can all probably do a pretty good impression of the character, too.)

The series centered around a kid who lived in a barrel (and it was a comedy!) and his interactions with his neighbors in the vecindad, the little neighborhood where his barrel was located. 

Meme translation: (on screen) “The Pope forgives everyone” 

“And I said, ‘That’s good! One less thing to worry about.’”

What does it meme? I put this one up just because I thought it was adorable: the world might be falling apart, but, hey, the Pope forgives us. And whether from him or our dear ones, isn’t forgiveness for (and preferably ignorance of) all our shortcomings what we all really want?

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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