Monday, May 20, 2024

Mexican April Fools memes for Spanish language laughter

Though this won’t be published until later, I’m sending these Mexican memes in to the editor on April 1st – the favorite day for cracking jokes for many of us!

April 1st isn’t necessarily a special day for jokes here, though: Mexico’s version of April Fool’s Day is on December 28, which is called Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents). That’s when you’ll typically see the fake positive pregnancy test Facebook posts from Mexicans.

But if you ask me, every day is a good day for a joke. So, without further ado, here is your curated list of Mexican memes!

Meme translation: I don’t like the organ grinders or banda music either, but I’m not going to let some freaking (note: this is a polite translation of the word) foreigner come here to criticize my people’s horrible taste in music.”

What does it meme? Oh, dear… it seems quite a few nerves have been touched of late regarding this issue of “noisiness” on the beaches of Mazatlán at a time when the city is doing its best to attract luxury-seeking foreign tourists with very clear ideas about what “luxury beach vacations” sound like.

To be fair, my reading of the above article led me to conclude that it had been a Mexican (sounds like a whitexican?) luxury hotel owner who was trying to get the banda players off the beach, and not, as many emotional Mexican patriots believe, a band of angry tourists with pitchforks and bad Yelp reviews. Sigh. 

But I get it: I’m allowed to say my kid’s being difficult, but if someone else suggests she’s a brat, I go for the jugular. Seems like Mexicans who don’t like banda are in the same boat!

Meme translation: When they confuse your plant collection with a plant nursery.” (on sign: “NOT A PLANT NURSERY”).

What does it meme? I mean, the above space does look a lot like it might be selling some of those plants – there are so many!

If I had a greener thumb, I’d have a similar setup…and likely be pretty annoyed if people were constantly ringing my doorbell trying to buy them from me! Still, it’s a small price to pay for enjoying as much greenery as one can, even in the (very common) absence of a yard. Thankfully, there are plenty of other viveros around!

Meme translation: Well, this one’s in English.

What does it meme? Ah, “ahorita.” Could a word so urgent to understand and use be more confusing? 

The joke is, of course, that ahorita means all of those things. Sometimes, you can tell from the context and the tone of voice in which it’s said:

Te dije que ahorita en este momento!” (“I said right now, this very moment!”)

Claro, ahorita…” said with a wink and a smile, which means, basically, “Maybe if I remember it after 100 other things I’d like to do first, but really, I have absolutely no intention of doing it.”

Ahorita te lo traigo.” – “I’ll get it for you in just a second.”

Ahorita que llegue mi hermana vamos.” – “As soon as my sister gets here we’ll go.” (so, later).

When you really need to know what it means, maybe ask for a specific time. Fair warning: most Mexicans will find that kind of abrasive. But hey – sometimes you need to know!

Meme translation: Time heals nothing; what really heals is the frog’s tail.”

What does it meme? I’ll admit that it was the little froggy butt that really got me on this one.

There’s a little rhyme (which is apparently also a song, but I’ve not heard the tune once in my 20-plus years here) that people say, especially to little children who have a “booboo,” and it goes like this: “Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sana hoy, sanará mañana.” (Heal, heal, little frog’s tail, if it doesn’t heal today then it will tomorrow.” Trust me, it’s catchier in Spanish).

This is usually said while giving a light massage to wherever they’ve hurt themselves, and as far as I’m concerned, is a magic spell. Learn to say it, and you’ll be ready to comfort toddlers all over the country! 

Meme translation: “Beginner. I can’t even handle my life, to say nothing of this car… I’m new to driving a standard. Be patient with me because I still screw up and roll backwards. Keep your distance and don’t honk because it makes me anxious.” (note the spelling, “amsiedad” which should be spelled with an “n” instead of an “m.” I don’t know why, but the “m” just make it sound funnier!

What does it meme? Oh, what sympathy I have!

Driving in Mexico can be quite a doozy, and lots of even brand-new cars are standard shifts (they’re cheaper). I wish I’d thought of putting up a sign like this when I was learning!

Meme translation: “Shit.”

What does it meme? I usually try to stay away from curse words in these memes, but this one really cracked me up! That’s Freddy Kruger, of course, caught in a dreamcatcher. 

Dreamcatchers are pretty popular around here lately – I’ve been seeing them more and more in artisan markets. Too bad the characters in the original story didn’t have them!

Meme translation: “Male animals. Female animals.

What does it meme? I’ve seen this before in English, and I am very happy to see the Mexican meme version appear as well! Seeing the elaborate colors and drama, especially of male birds compared to female birds, is always a fun thing to observe!

A note on these words: unless they’ve humanized their pets quite a bit (which certainly happens), most Mexicans don’t say the equivalent of “boy” and “girl” when indicating the sex of an animal; it’s “macho” or “hembra.” 

Likewise, you should be careful not to use those words on human beings, lest you want them to think you see them as animals! For us, it’s hombres (men) and mujeres (women), or the gendered endings of words like niño/a, muchacho/a, chavo/a, etc.

Even though I know this, I pause at one of my most frequented restaurants every time I approach the bathrooms and think to myself, “Wait, is it M for “macho” and H for “hembra,” or M for “mujeres” and H for “hombres”? (It’s the second one). 

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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